Trainer Marcus Tregoning’s 14-year wait for another Group 1 winner ended on Wednesday when Mohaather showed an electric turn of foot to land a red-hot renewal of the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
It was an impressive performance from the four-year-old, as two furlongs from home he still had five rivals in front of him. Switched to the outside by jockey Jim Crowley, Mohaather hit top gear and charged home to reel in long-time leader Circus Maximus.
At the line, Mohaather had three-quarters of a length to spare over Circus Maximus, with Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin a further half length back in third. Kameko, the 2,000 Guineas victor, finished fourth after enduring a troubled passage.
For Tregoning, it was his first top-level success since Sir Derby landed the Derby in 2006.
He said: “I have had to wait a long time for this, but quite honestly we didn’t have the horses. When I left Lambourn I had to start again with not very many – it was like starting from the beginning. Luckily, Sheikh Hamdan supported me very well.
“It’s a big day for the team and for Sheikh Hamdan. He is very good owner to train for. He is a lot of fun and a lot of people don’t see that. He takes adversity really well; when things don’t go right, move on. To have someone with so much confidence behind you does make you a better trainer.
“It was a tactical race today and we thought it would be. He struggled to get out, he is not the biggest horse and he struggled to find a gap, but Jim kept his calm with the knowledge that he has that massive kick.”
Shadwell bought the son of Showcasing for 110,000 guineas at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2017 and Tregoning shared how the colt ended up in his yard.
He explained: “Angus Gold sourced the horse and sent me to look at him. He was a tiny little thing, but he came from a very stout family, and Angus was quite insistent we got into it if we possibly could, if I could stand the look of the yearling.
“He has done nothing but thrive, and I should have known better because I trained a filly called Dominica, who wasn’t even 15hh, to win the King’s Stand Stakes [then a G2 race], so it isn’t always about big horses.
“He is a lovely looking horse and I thought in the paddock he had a lot of quality – I know I train him, but he had more quality than the others. He is a beautiful horse and we are so lucky to have him.”
The result was a big boost for British breeding as Mohaather is by Whitsbury Manor Stud resident Showcasing and bred by Gaie Johnson Houghton, who has nurtured the family for over 30 years.
It is a family that traces back to Johnson Houghton’s foundation mare Sirnelta and Mohaather is out of the Listed-placed Inchinor mare Roodeye, herself a half-sister to Roodle, the dam of Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent.
Sadly, Mohaather is the final foal out of the mare, who died shortly after foaling the colt in 2016.
Johnson Houghton said: “I feel exhausted and overwhelmed after his win. It has always felt wonderful that I’ve got this amazing family, but it’s even more wonderful now that I’ve bred two Group 1 winners.
“While it is really devastating that I’ve lost the mare, it makes the win even more special.”
Also at Goodwood on Wednesday, trainer Michael O’Callaghan and jockey Colin Keane combined with Steel Bull, impressive winner of the Group 3 Molecomb Stales.