The rollercoaster that was this years Glorious Goodwood Festival certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry, providing as it did one of the most up and down betting weeks in memory. Here we take a look back at the highlights from each of the five days.
Day 1: Stradivarius Bags The Big One On Day Of Shocks
Those hoping for a gentle introduction to this year’s Glorious Goodwood Festival were in for a rude awaking. Winners at 20/1, 33/1, 50/1 and 100/1 left punters scratching their heads as the bookies stuffed their satchels.
The big race of the day saw one of the weeks hotpots overturned as two-time winner of the Goodwood Cup, Big Orange, had no answer for the younger legs of John Gosden’s Stradivarius in the closing stages. It’s not often a three year old takes this – not for 23 years in fact – and this son of Sea The Stars is now vying for St. Leger favouritism at 9/2 with Bet365.
Elsewhere Breton Rock turned the formbook on its head when storming home for David Simcock in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at 50/1. Even that was nothing compared to the success of Thechildren’strust in race five though. Gary Moore’s debutante defied odds of 100/1 to leave many punters gasping for air.
We did however have one winning favourite on the opening day, with Sir Michael Stoute’s, Expert Eys, laughing at his rivals in the Qatar Vintage Stakes. Scooting right away from a highly regarded field, he wasn’t far off being the standout performer of the whole week, and is the new favourite for the 2018 2000 Guineas at 4/1 with Sky Bet.
Day 2: Here Comes The Rain And Here Comes When
Day 2 may not have been quite the betting bloodbath of Day 1, but it was nevertheless tough going for those battling to beat the bookies, with not one winning favourite on the seven-race card.
The days feature of the Sussex Stakes saw the late withdrawal of dual Guineas winner Churchill, on account of conditions which were rapidly becoming swamp-like. That surely left the path clear for this season’s star miler, Ribchester, to claim another Group 1 success. Well nearly, but not quite, as the Richard Fahey runner could manage only second in the end.
This soft ground is one of racings great levellers, and few have ploughed through the mud with quite so much relish as Here Comes When over the years. At seven years of age, connections must have begun to wonder if a first Group 1 success would ever arrive. Arrive it did though, as he toughed it out best of all under Jim Crowley, returning at odds of 20/1.
In the days other races, Havana Grey impressed yet again when posting an authoritative success in the Molecomb Stakes, and Mark Johnston got off the mark at his favourite party of the year with a double on the day.
Day 3: Its Winter In Summer As Favourites Bounce Back
Following the opening two days, racegoers could have been forgiven for feeling that the deluge of big priced winners would prove as unrelenting as the rain. Thursday at Goodwood though was the day punters climbed off the canvas and dusted themselves down. Seven races, five winning jollies and even a sight of the elusive sunshine. All was well with the world once again.
Aidan O’Brien’s superstar filly Winter was the undoubted headline act of the day. The dual Guineas winner had proved a different class over a mile on good ground, but could she prove similarly dominant stepping up 2f in trip, and on very soft ground? Under an ice-cool Ryan Moore ride, the answer proved to be an emphatic yes. The bare form of a 1 ½l verdict over Blond Me may not be right up there with her best runs, but this was nevertheless a fourth consecutive Group 1 win, and proved beyond any doubt that she stays this far.
A clash with this year’s other scintillating filly, Enable, would make for a mouth-watering contest, however we would be a little surprised to see Winter step up to a mile and half. A battle with Barney Roy in the Champion Stakes may be a more likely target. She’s 6/1 with Betfair for that Ascot showpiece.
The main event may have been pretty comfortable for Winter, but overall this was a day of thrilling finishes. Endless Time swooping late to grab the Group 3 for the fillies, and Billesdon Brook producing a remarkable effort to somehow get up in the Nursery. Heart in the mouth stuff.
Day 4: Moore, Moore, Moore… and Battaash Brilliant
On the back of a good day for favourite backers, what the layers probably didn’t want was for the ever popular Ryan Moore to bag the opening three races on the penultimate day. However, that’s exactly what they were handed. Poet’s Word got the ball rolling with yet another Goodwood success for Sir Michael Stoute, swiftly followed by a hugely impressive display from Andrew Balding’s, Beat The Bank in the Bonham’s Thoroughbred Stakes. The best of Moore’s three rides though came in the Betfred Mile Stakes as he displayed perfect patience and timing to get up on Master The World.
Predictably with the Moore accumulators now rolling, and thoughts turning to a through the card catastrophe, his fourth mount Washington DC duly halved in price ahead of the big sprint of the week, the King George Stakes. To the relief of the layers, neither Washington DC nor the rest of the field had any answer for the devastating display of speed demonstrated by Charlie Hills, Battaash. This three year old is rapidly ascending to the very top of the sprinting tree following a gelding operation over the winter. Next up a clash with the brilliant Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. Betfair make him a 9/4 shot to conquer the Wesley Ward trained superstar.
Day 5: Ocean In A Different League And Dettori Dominates Cup
The cavalry charge that is the Stewards’ Cup acted as the final days main event and featured a colossal gamble on the David Elsworth trained Sir Dancealot. It all went wrong from the off for the favourite though as he was simply never able to get into contention. It was instead the bookies who were left dancing at the end of this, as the prize went to the unheralded Lancelot Du Lac. The biggest success of Dean Ivory’s career was due in no small part to an excellent front running ride from the evergreen Frankie Dettori.
The days only Group class event saw a good result for trainer trend fans, as Sir Michael Stoute claimed the Gordon Stakes for a tenth time. One time Derby hopeful, Crystal Ocean was yet to get his head in front this season prior to this, but was miles too good for old rival Khalidi and the rest here. A typically progressive Stoute horse, the St Leger may be next on the agenda for this son of Sea The Stars, with BetVictor making him a 5/1 shot for the final classic of the season.
In the days other contests, victories for Soldier In Action and the hugely promising Dee Ex Bee, were enough to secure an eleventh top trainer title for Middleham handler, Mark Johnston. Top rider honours went to Ryan Moore, who displayed his full repertoire of talents in bagging five wins over the week.