Thousands poured through Goodwood’s gates for a day of racing and family fun sponsored by the owners of the Observer series.
Apart from a strong line-up of seven races, there was a wide array of kids’ entertainment on offer at the racecourse’s first bank holiday family day of 2011.
All races were sponsored by Johnston Press, with each named after one of the group’s papers - including the Chichester Observer and the Bognor Observer.
And a thrilling afternoon’s action on tyhe Downs included a rare dead heat, a couple of photo finishes and a stewards’ inquiry which altered the result of one contest.
The first race was the Chichester Observer Selling Stakes, which was taken by Kieren Fox on 5/2 joint favourite The Dancing Lord.
The horse had been judged best turned out in the parade by Observer sports editor Steve Bone, who also presented the race prize to the winning trainer Bill Turner afterwards.
Turner’s runner was slowly away, but was soon back in touch with his rivals. Fox allowed his mount to run into the lead heading inside the final two furlongs, and was always doing enough in the closing stages to hold off Sea Poet by a length and a quarter.
Auctioneer Terry Court oversaw the sale of the two-year-old, who went for £10,500.
Next up was The News Veterans’ Handicap and it was a real thriller.
The Alan Jarvis-trained Another Try held a narrow advantage, but John Best’s dual course and distance winner Alfresco benefited from a power-packed Kieren Fallon ride and joined him on the line.
Alfresco (10/1) and Another Try (8/1) were inseperable as they crossed the line and the race was declared a dead heat. Third was Mymumsaysimthebest, ridden by George Baker.
Goodwood clerk of the course Seamus Buckley said: “A dead heat is very very rare. I can count on the fingers of one hand the dead heats we’ve had here in my time.”
The feature race of the day, the listed £30,000 West Sussex County Times On The House Stakes, went to Jimmy Fortune on Set The Trend with the favourite Rainfall, ridden by Ted Durcan, never really in it, despite Durcan’s fine Goodwood form to date this year.
Micky Fenton on The Rectifier was second.
The Andrew Balding-trained Set The Trend was allowed an easy lead for much of the one-mile contest, and turned on the taps rounding the approach for home. His rivals were soon hard at work in behind, but could not reel in Set The Trend, who passed the post with a length and a quarter in hand.
In truth, Rainfall ran terribly on her Godolphin debut, coming home last of the six runners.
Jubliant jockey Fortune said: “Luckily they left me alone and gave me a nice, easy lead. He’s a galloper and stretched all the way to the line. He had some good form in handicaps and always looked like a horse who could step up to listed level.”
There was another photo finish in the Worthing Herald Maiden Auction Stakes, with Patt Dobbs, riding Sir Glanton for Pulborough handler Amanda Perrett, just getting the nod by a short head ahead of Lethal Force, ridden by Luke Morris. Richard Hughes guided Minal in third.
A stewards’ inquiry was ordered into interference between Lethal Force and Minal. The stewards eventually ruled that the pair’s placings should be reversed.
Morris was given a two-day ban for careless riding.
Lethal Force was backed into 11/8 favouritism off the back of a debut second at Ascot and quickened up to lead heading inside the final furlong. But the patiently-ridden Sir Glanton showed a smart change of gear when it mattered to get up by a short head.
Hughes finally found a winner in the first division of the Bognor Regis Observer Handicap Stakes, steering 9/2 shot Byrd In Hand to victory from Jimmy Fortune on Catchanova and Mountrath and George Baker.
Hilltop Artistry was an unsurprising last after bolting on his way to the start with Adrian McCarthy on board.
There was a decent crowd in for Goodwood’s first family fun day of the season. Attractions for youngsters included a fun fair and an Observer colouring competition, in which pictures submitted will be featured in the paper in the coming weeks.
Sussex Newspapers staff including Observer and Worthing Herald series editor Colin Channon and group advertising director Tony Portelli were on hand to present the post-race prizes.
Unfortunately the weather closed in for the latter part of the programme, with fine rain sending a few running for the cover of the stands.
The rain wasn’t hard enough to please clerk of the course Buckley, who said the track would benefit from some ‘proper’ rain after one of the dryest springs on record.
Jockey Bentley was having a day of close calls and, riding Ivory Lace, he was just beaten into second place by Ryan Powell on Wishformore, the 5/1 second favourite, in the second part of the Bognor Regis Observer Handicap Stakes, which had been divided into two because of the large number of entries.
The meeting closed with the West Sussex Gazette Handicap Stakes, and it was taken by Fergus Sweeney on Robby Bobby, holding off a strong run from the favourite Spice Fair, brought up to challenge by Hughes from the back of the field four furlongs out.
Don’t forget the Observer will have full coverage of the meeting - out on Thursday - while you’ll be able to see a wide selection of pictures in a gallery on this website on Wednesday.
Going: Good to Firm
2:00 | 1 The Dancing Lord (K Fox, 5-2 joint-fav); 4 Sea Poet (R Hughes, 6-1 ); 8 River Nova (K Fallon, 7-1 ); 8 ran. 7 I Dream Of Genie (Luke Morris, 5-2 joint-fav);
Distances: 1¼ lengths; 1¾ lengths; 3 lengths;
Winning trainer: W G M Turner.
Tote: £2.80; £1.10; £2.50; £2.00; Exacta: £14.00; Swinger: £3.10; Swinger: £7.80; Swinger: £4.70; CSF: £16.89;
2:35 | DH 8 Another Try (Harry Bentley, 8-1 ); DH 12 Alfresco (K Fallon, 10-1 ); 7 Mymumsaysimthebest (G Baker, 3-1 2nd-fav); 10 ran. 1 Soap Wars (R Hughes, 9-4 fav);
Non-runners: Diriculous; Cardinal; Barons Spy;
Distances: Dead Heat; 5 lengths; Short Head;
Winning trainer: A P Jarvis.
J R Best.
Tote: £4.00; £5.40; £2.10; £2.80; £1.80; Exacta: £50.30; Exacta: £47.50; Swinger: £14.00; Swinger: £4.80; Swinger: £7.40; CSF: £40.54; CSF: £41.79; Tricast: £151.18; Tricast: £154.13;
3:10 | 2 Set The Trend (J Fortune, 10-1 ); 3 The Rectifier (M Fenton, 9-1 ); 6 ran. 6 Tropical Paradise (I Mongan, 7-2 2nd-fav); 4 Rainfall (T E Durcan, 6-5 fav);
Distances: 1¼ lengths; Neck; 1 length;
Winning trainer: A M Balding.
Tote: £15.30; £5.60; £6.00; Exacta: £142.90; Swinger: £6.60; Swinger: £9.80; Swinger: £4.80; CSF: £85.76;
3:45 | 3 Sir Glanton (P Dobbs, 40-1 ); 5 Minal (R Hughes, 9-1 ); 12 Lethal Force (Luke Morris, 11-8 fav); 14 ran. 2 Maroosh (Martin Dwyer, 5-1 2nd-fav);
Distances: Short Head; Short Head; 1¼ lengths;
Winning trainer: Mrs A J Perrett.
Tote: £58.60; £10.20; £3.30; £1.10; Exacta: £293.20; Swinger: £46.10; Swinger: £4.00; Swinger: £23.00; CSF: £357.57;
* Amended Result
4:20 | 8 Byrd In Hand (R Hughes, 9-2 ); 4 Catchanova (J Fortune, 5-1 ); 1 Mountrath (G Baker, 5-2 fav); 10 ran. 2 French Art (K Fallon, 7-2 2nd-fav);
Non-runners: Red Dagger;
Distances: ¾ length; Short Head;
Winning trainer: J J Bridger.
Tote: £5.50; £2.10; £2.90; £1.10; Exacta: £36.20; Swinger: £5.70; Swinger: £5.30; Swinger: £2.80; CSF: £26.31; Tricast: £69.37;
4:55 | 5 Wishformore (Ryan Powell, 5-1 2nd-fav); 1 Ivory Lace (Harry Bentley, 11-1 ); 3 Fault (M Fenton, 6-1 ); 11 ran. 4 Diddums (Katia Scallan, 4-1 fav);
Distances: Head; ¾ length; 2½ lengths;
Winning trainer: J S Moore.
Tote: £6.50; £2.10; £4.30; £2.30; Exacta: £57.60; Swinger: £13.80; Swinger: £15.40; Swinger: £5.10; CSF: £59.45; Tricast: £348.16;
5:30 | 7 Robby Bobby (D Sweeney, 6-1 ); 2 Spice Fair (R Hughes, 11-4 fav); 4 Trachonitis (A McCarthy, 8-1 ); 8 ran. 6 Miss Bounty (N Alison, 3-1 2nd-fav);
Distances: 1¾ lengths; 1¾ lengths;
Winning trainer: Mrs L J Mongan.
Tote: CSF: £22.79; Tricast: £132.45;
Placepot: £333.10 Quadpot: £117.50