Steel Bull creates strong impression with stylish Molecomb victory

Wed 29 Jul 2020

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Steel Bull repaid Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan’s faith and adventure with victory in the [Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.(

Well-backed as the 2-1 favourite following his Naas maiden victory just a week ago, the Colin Keane-ridden Clodovil colt had to wait behind horses for quite some time but arrived on the scene approaching the final furlong and quickly moved past the pace-setting Ben Macdui.

He was then not hard-pressed to hold on to his advantage, giving O’Callaghan his highest-profile British success to date in this Group Three sprint for juveniles.

Ben Macdui stayed on to finish a 16-1 runner-up, with outsider Internationaldream taking third a length and a half further back.

Keane said: “Looking at the replay of his maiden, he won it very well – and talking to Michael beforehand, he was very confident that he had a lot of speed.

“He showed a very good turn of foot today. He puts his head down and tries very hard, and he’s a horse that is going to keep progressing.

“I’d imagine he would get an extra furlong, because he settles. I suppose the track today was an unknown, but he handled it very well.”

O’Callaghan said: “He did it very well, and we’re delighted with him.

“We knew he was a very nice colt. He didn’t get a clear passage today, but he quickened up like a smart one and got a very good ride.

“He only won his maiden a week ago, so there should be more improvement in him, and I think he’d stay six furlongs as he settles so well.”

O’Callaghan will take his time before deciding future targets – but may yet allow Steel Bull to take on his elders in the Coolmore Nunthorpe at York on August 21.

He added: “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see what we come up with – I hadn’t even thought about the Nunthorpe, to be honest.

“We’d have to look at the cost of supplementing, and the supplementary date and things, but we might have to look at it.

“There’s the Phoenix Stakes next weekend, but that would be three runs in three weeks, which might be asking a bit much of him.”

Steel Bull currently races in the trainer’s colours, but O’Callaghan admits he is open to selling the youngster if the price is right.

He said: “We’ll see what happens. There was a bit of interest before today, but not enough to prise him away for us.

“Hopefully that might change after today, but either way we’re very happy to have him.”


Mambo Nights provided jockey Andrea Atzeni and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid with a timely boost on a difficult day by continuing his upward curve in the Unibet 3 Boosts A Day Handicap at Goodwood.

The Richard Hannon-trained Havana Gold colt made it a hat-trick of wins for the season when holding A Star Above at bay by a neck in the mile-and-a-half prize.

Victory for Mambo Nights came just hours after news of the death of the high-profile owner’s multiple Group-race winner Defoe, who suffered a fatal injury on the gallops in Newmarket.

Andrea Atzeni reflects on the victory of Mambo Nights

Atzeni said of the 9-1 winner: “He is a big, raw horse. He won quite nicely at Ripon the other day and he had quite good two-year-old form.

“He has obviously grown a lot from two to three. He jumped fine today. He was a bit keen early on as they didn’t go much of a gallop. At halfway he relaxed nicely into the race. He took it up two down, but he is a big horse and is still learning. When Hollie Doyle arrived on the outside my horse did enough to win his race.

“He is a work in progress and Richard has done a great job with him, taking it step by step. He will be even better at four, I’d say.”

Paying tribute to Defoe, he added: “It is very sad news losing any horse really, but Defoe was very close to us. Sheikh Mohammed Obaid bred the horse so knew him as a foal.

Andrea Atzeni pays tribute to Defoe

“I remember like it was yesterday flying to Ffos Las to ride him first time out when he won his maiden. He is a horse that gave us a lot of great days. He won the Coronation Cup, won the Hardwicke and ran well in Dubai.

“I was hoping one day when he retired I could have him in my paddocks so I could look after him in his older days, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.”

Just Herbert demonstrated stamina is his forte when leaving his previous efforts this season behind to spring a surprise in the Unibet You’re On Handicap.

After failing to beat a rival on his return at Haydock, the William Muir-trained four-year-old had continued his recent spell in the doldrums when finishing down the field in both the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle and last time out in the Marsh Cup at Newbury.

Looking a completely different character to the one seen in his previous three starts, the Dunaden gelding appeared to appreciate every yard of the extended two-and-a-half-mile trip to wear down long-time leader Rochester House almost on the line before scoring by a neck.

Muir said of the 25-1 winner: “It just takes three runs to get ready. When he ran last time at Newbury, Hollie Doyle came back and said he is just about getting there.

“This horse has got talent. If his head stays in the right place, the talent is there. Tom (Marquand) said he didn’t have to get serious with him, he just had to cajole him. He is just a character.

“We will enjoy today as we have had a winner at Glorious Goodwood, so it is lovely.”

Ralph Beckett could pitch Chamade (22-1) back into Listed company on her next start after the daughter of Sepoy opened her account for the campaign with a front-running success in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap.

Beckett said: “She is what you call a slow-burner. She was actually in the Horses In Training sale last October and if she hadn’t won just before it she would have been sold for about five grand! She is a home-bred, has got her black type and now she has won a couple of races.

“I thought the ground would be too quick today. We will be heading back for some black type again in the autumn, but she might turn out in the Upavon at Salisbury in a fortnight’s time, although I would think it would be more likely we head for Europe in the autumn.”

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