By Simon Jackson.
Taghrooda’s price has been slashed for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe from 12-1 to as short as 3-1 after her tenacious victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The three length victory under Paul Hanagan at Ascot on Saturday extended the three-year-old filly’s unbeaten record to four and followed an equally impressive win in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.
The success rewarded the decision of owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and trainer John Gosden to bypass the Irish Oaks. She is now best priced at 9-2 with Paddy Power (from 12-1) and is 3-1 with Ladbrokes for the Arc on October 5.
“She is right up there and would be the best filly I’ve had over a mile and a half,” Gosden revealed. The Fugue would have beaten anything over a mile and a quarter and Royal Heroine, who I trained in America, was the best at a mile.
“Taghrooda has developed very strongly since the Oaks and she had two very tough nuts to crack up front. They’d gone hard up there and given it plenty of toe. I thought those older horses would be hard to pass but she really showed her class and stamina.
“It was a special performance today and I am very glad that Sheikh Hamdan made the correct decision to come here. It was probably 85 per cent his decision to run here and it was a very bold move not running in the Irish Oaks.
“She has got a beautiful ride from Paul. They went very hard. He has waited patiently and she has picked them up and shown her class in the last furlong.
“I am thrilled. It was a great ride and a good bit of placing. I think Sheikh Hamdan better place all of my horses now!
“This really keeps this race alive for three-year-olds again. It always was a great all-aged race like the Arc and it’s now the same again.
“If she’s in good order then the Yorkshire Oaks would seem a good place to go next then it’s up to the boss whether he thinks we should go to the Arc.
“The Arc would make a lot sense but it is entirely up to Sheikh Hamdan. She’s still a three-year-old filly and there’s a decent weight allowance.”
Taghrooda, a daughter of 2009 Arc winner Sea The Stars, travelled towards the rear on Saturday before challenging the leaders two out and taking the lead inside the last furlong.
“I actually heard the roar as I headed up the straight. I’d never heard a crowd react like that before,” Hanagan said.
“I was probably further back than I liked to have been in the early part of the race as they went so quick but she can only go as quick as she can, so I had to be patient.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win this race and I’ve got to thank Sheikh Hamdan for giving me the opportunity to ride her.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.