Goodwood crowd: panama hats are set to grace the Downs again
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
By David Carr 9:25AM 25 JUL 2016
1 – Nothing says that summer is here more than the start of Goodwood. Even if the weather is not ‘Glorious’, and you are in the office watching on your iPad rather than lying on the Downs with a picnic, just to view it from afar is to know that your own holidays are just round the corner.
2 – Sequels rarely turn out as good as the original, as anyone who has seen the new Ghostbusters may agree. But this one might be even better. Galileo Gold got first run on The Gurkha when beating his fellow Classic winner at Royal Ascot and the title of top three-year-old miler is still up for grabs. Their rematch in Wednesday’s Qatar Sussex Stakes should be a belter, especially if Jersey Stakes winner Ribchester is added to the mix.
3 – Frankie Dettori could hit new heights with his flying dismount this week as he is on the verge of reaching 3,000 winners. The celebrations will certainly be big should he do it at Goodwood as he won his first race there and recalled recently: “Your first winner is one you will always remember – a bit like having sex!”
Frankie Dettori: nearing a landmark 3000th winner
4 – Minding could be the best filly Aidan O’Brien has ever trained. She could be the one to beat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. And she will land Saturday’s Qatar Nassau Stakes – unless something else finds dramatic improvement to dethrone the five-time Group 1 winner.
5 – Forget Andy Murray. The Scot who really brings the English sporting summer to life is Mark Johnston. For two decades his tough battlers have headed south to plunder a clutch of prizes here, making Johnston top trainer at the meeting nine times and making the week profitable for many grateful punters.
6 – He’s back. David Nicholls used to be the man that bookmakers feared at this meeting, landing touch after touch with sprinters trained to the minute, and he’s primed to return to the big time in Saturday’s Qatar Stewards’ Cup. His Orion’s Bow looks a Group horse in the making and will take an awful lot of beating.
7 – Rough and tumble is assured round one of the trickiest tracks in the country, with space at a premium and races like the Betfred Mile a hard-luck story waiting to happen. Controversy comes with the territory – remember Lester Piggott fighting his way out on Vacarme, getting disqualified and upsetting owner Daniel Wildenstein so much he moved his horses? Again.
8 – No horse will ever match Double Trigger. Except one may on Thursday. Big Orange is bidding to become the first repeat winner of the Qatar Goodwood Cup since the legendary stayer scored in 1997 and 1998. As last year, he comes here on the back of victory in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. And he is favourite to come out on top again.
Big Orange (middle): bidding for historic back-to-back wins on Thursday
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
9 – What a triumph for sex equality: Goodwood is about men’s hats just as much as it is women’s. While their partners looking for what to wear might have to visit the course’s ‘preferred milliner’ – Laylaleigh, if you need them – the blokes have it easy. Simply protect yourself from the sun/shelter from the rain in the obligatory Panama, the hat that every man looks good in. Even Geoff Boycott.
10 – At Royal Ascot or the Ebor meeting, it’s Flat racing all the way. High-class stuff but just Flat. Whereas this week you can have the best of both worlds. Between races simply flick channels, or turn to the on-courset TV, and you can enjoy top jump races such as the Tote.com Galway Plate on Wednesday and Guinness Galway Hurdle the following afternoon.