The King's Desert Hero Notches Gordon Success At Goodwood

Desert HeroGoodwood Racecourse


King Charles III's 'TDN Rising Star' Desert Hero (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}–Desert Breeze {GB}, by Dubawi {Ire}) represents the last chance of a Classic winner for His Majesty in the inaugural year of his reign and the William Haggas trainee went some way to making that a reality with a narrow verdict in Thursday's G3 John Pearce Racing Gordon S. at Goodwood.

Positioned at the tail of the six-runner field through halfway in this staging post for next month's G1 St Leger, the 7-1 chance was shaken up to go second approaching the final furlong and stayed on strongly under a late drive to deny Godolphin's Listed Glasgow S. scorer Chesspiece (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) by a neck in the dying strides. The latter, in turn, finished three lengths clear of Listed Feilden S. victor Canberra Legend (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in third.

“It was not the easiest watch, but Tom [Marquand] said he always thought he was going to win,” revealed Maureen Haggas. “The important thing with this horse is getting him switched off early, which he did really well, and I think if you can do that, you can let the rest of the race unfold. Desert Hero has guts, he wants to win and that counts for a lot. Desert Hero could go further and the obvious aim would be the [G1] St Leger. You never really know until you try, but there's no reason not to try. We are so lucky to be training for The King and Queen and to have a horse as good as this, and I am sure they will be enjoying it and good luck to them.”

John Warren, racing manager to Their Majesties The King and Queen, added, “It is remarkable and so lovely to have a horse in the stable that is so committed. Royal Ascot was wonderful when he cut through horses [to win the King George V H.] and so wanted the race. Desert Hero is an incredible horse, so for The King and Queen to have a horse of this calibre in their first year, taking on from The Queen and with a horse that was bred by her, is a dream come true. They are so excited and so thrilled. The King told me many years ago that he was always going to be committed to taking on the bloodstock portfolio [from his mother] and, true to his word, he has been fascinated by it because now it is on his watch. The story is wonderful for racing in particular because The Queen [Camilla] is so interested and they get such pleasure together out of it.”

Reflecting on the performance of runner-up Chesspiece, trainer Simon Crisford said, “Chesspiece wants a mile-and-six [furlongs] and we just got outpaced at a crucial moment. He loved the ground and ran his heart out and the [G1] St Leger dream is still alive.”

Pedigree Notes

Desert Hero, half-brother to a yearling filly by Fastnet Rock (Aus) and a weanling colt by Kingman {GB}, is the first of three foals out of an unraced full-sister to multiple Group-winning GI Canadian International runner-up and G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S. third Dartmouth (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The January-foaled chesnut's dam Desert Breeze (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) is also kin to dual Group 2 winner Manatee (GB) (Monsun {Ger}), Listed Prix du Carrousel victrix Gaterie (Dubai Destination) and to the dam of dual stakes-winning GIII Red Sea Turf H. third Siskany (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). His fourth dam is the G2 Prix de l'Opera-placed matriarch Albertine (Fr) (Irish River {Fr}), whose swathe of stakes descendants is headed by GI Breeders' Cup Classic and G1 Prix d'Ispahan hero Arcangues (Sagace {Fr}).


Thursday, Goodwood, Britain
JOHN PEARCE RACING GORDON S.-G3, £200,000, Goodwood, 8-3, 3yo, 11f 218yT, 2:43.86, sf.
1–DESERT HERO (GB), 129, c, 3, by Sea The Stars (Ire)
1st Dam: Desert Breeze (GB), by Dubawi (Ire)
2nd Dam: Galatee (Fr), by Galileo (Ire)
3rd Dam: Altana, by Mountain Cat
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN; 1ST GROUP WIN. O-HM The King & HM The Queen; B-The Queen (GB); T-William Haggas; J-Tom Marquand. £113,420. Lifetime Record: 6-4-0-1, $229,069. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Chesspiece (GB), 129, c, 3, Nathaniel (Ire)–Royal Solitaire (Ire), by Shamardal. (€100,000 Ylg '21 ARQDOY). O-Godolphin; B-Ammerland Gmbh & Co KG (GB); T-Simon & Ed Crisford. £43,000.
3–Canberra Legend (Ire), 129, c, 3, Australia (GB)–Rocana (GB), by Fastnet Rock (Aus). 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (125,000gns Wlg '20 TATFOA; 350,000gns Ylg '21 TATOCT). O-Boniface Ho Ka Kui; B-Ringfort Stud & Paul Hancock (IRE); T-James Ferguson. £21,520.
Margins: NK, 3, 1 1/4. Odds: 7.00, 3.50, 7.00.
Also Ran: Artistic Star (Ire), Burdett Road (GB), Espionage (Ire).

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