Day One of the Qatar Goodwood Festival

01st August 2023

Day one of the Qatar Goodwood Festival saw Tom Marquand produce one of the rides of the season in the feature race of the day, the G1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

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Marquand steered 16/1 shot Quickthorn to a stunning six-length. After poaching a sizeable early advantage, Marquand judged the fractions to perfection as his mount kept on rolling, and it was clear from some way out that Quickthorn had his first G1 prize in the bag. Emily Dickinson plugged on to grab second under Ryan Moore, a short-head in front of Coltrane in a blanket finish to the minor places.

Tom Marquand spoke following his success and said: “Quickthorn is a warrior in his own right. I've had a bit of fun on him before and today was about riding him to his maximum potential. He just loves bowling away and putting everyone else to the sword – it was an exceptional performance.

“I didn't look behind because there's no point. We know what this chap can do and if the gap had been closed at the two marker I was going to be in trouble so it was just a case of keeping him stepping forward.

Winning trainer Hughie Morrison said: “It is fantastic for James and Pam [Blyth, owners]; they bred Quickthorn and it’s fantastic to see they kept him and owned him. They have been very patient with him, and we’ve got our rewards. I felt that York last year when he won by 14 lengths was no fluke, and he proved it today.

“We don’t have a huge amount of horses – 50 or 60 horses – and it’s fantastic to train these homebreds, really, and to be able to bring them on so they reach their zenith at the right sort of age. We’ve had a Grade One and a Group One winner, and not many people have done that.

“I was quite excited going up the hill, because we saw what he did last year. I’ve always felt he needed a bit of juice in the ground. His autumn flops in the last couple of years – I think he’s just gone over the top. You can see, he puts so much into it that he deserves to go over the top at some point.

Quickthorn’s owner Lady Blyth said: “It is amazing, because we’ve never had a Group One winner before, not ever, ever, ever, so this is absolutely fantastic. I didn’t even think he’d be going here – I didn’t think he’d like the up and down bits, I thought he only wanted it flat. I didn’t want to run him, but Hughie wanted to and my husband was keen – I was afraid of the track. These were my mother’s colours, so they were in action before I married my husband. I’ve had horses for 40 or 50 years.”

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