VIDEO: Goodwood’s Three Friday Nights off to storming start

It was a big crowd on a lovely summer's evening at Goodwood
It was a big crowd on a lovely summer's evening at Goodwood
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A huge crowd poured into Goodwood to enjoy a heady evening of summer racing and live music as the fourth year of the track’s Three Friday Night series began in fine style.

The fixture sold out weeks ago as fans snapped up tickets to see Chase & Status in action after an aborbing card of six races.

On the track, the feature race was the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Stakes, claimed by the 9/4 favourite Stepping Out, ridden by Richard Kingscote for trainer Tom Dascombe - the duo who won the Goodwood Cup last season with Brown Panther.

But it was a close call as the three-year-old got up by a neck to defeat Tom Queally on Divine.

Racing kicked off with a sense of deja vu as the opener was won by the same combination as the same race last year, James Harding taking the RL Freemantle Electrical Ltd Amateur Riders’ Stakes on 5/2 favourite Balmoral Castle for trainer Jonathan Portman.

It was an impressive ride from young Harding as he guided the six-year-old home half a length in front of Michael Easterby’s City Ground.

There was a wonderful atmopshere inside the racecourse with what felt like the majority of the sold-out crowd having arrived to see all the racing as well as Chase and Status’s DJ set.

The Advanced Resource Managers EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes threw up a two-year-old to watch as the flat season unfolds - Mark Johnston-trained Jungle Cat (5/1), ridden by Joe Fanning, took the honours two lengths ahead of Jim Crowley on Richard Hannon’s 14/1 shot Sixty. Frankie Dettori on the 8/15 favourite Aledaid was third.

Laughing Jack led all the way to take the Mazda Jinba Ittai Stakes by three-and-three-quarter lengths under George Downing (the start of the race can be seen in our video, above). The George Baker-trained prospect was too good for all five of his rivals, with Adam Kirby on All The Winds his closest challenger.

There was another Richard Hannon winner in the Levy Restaurants Maiden Fillies’ Stakes - and a big-priced one at that, as Pat Dobbs timed it perfectly to win on 20/1 chance Sensible Way, overhauling two rivals at the death to claim a photo-finish verdict.

Goodwood ambassador Harry Bentley had led for much of the mile contest on Prairie Rose (7/2) but was edged into third on the line, with 9/4 favourite Joy of Spring second under Andrea Atzeni.

The last, the Chase & Status Handicap, was won by Shane Kelly riding 9/2 starter Rapid Advance, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, a neck ahead of Homestretch.

After racing had finished, the Goodwood team swung into action with their amazing-to-watch but now well-rehearsed routine of transforming the winner’s enclosure and parade ring into a dance floor ready for the masses to gather to watch a set by Chase & Status, whose storming 90-minute set, accompanied by lights and lasers, certainly didn’t disappoint.

Chase & Status’ appearance sold out in weeks and has helped turn this year’s Three Friday Nights into the most successful yet in terms of ticket sales.

The next two Fridays bring Naughty Boy and Zane Lowe to the racecourse and all three are set to see the ‘full house’ signs go up - though a few tickets do remain for the next in the series.

It’s the fourth year of the racing-and-music nights at Goodwood and although there was a little bit of scepticism at the outset as to whether they’d work at Goodwood, you can’t argue with the numbers they attract, inclufing many people who are new to the racecourse.

Chase & Status were the UK’s biggest-selling band in 2011 and have recently been described by Pharrell Williams as ‘the most exciting producers in the UK today’.

STEVE BONE

See all the latest from Goodwood in the Observer - out on Thursday