Lightning Spear bolted to Celebration Mile glory at Goodwood - now it could be next stop Champions’ Day at Ascot.
The 4/1 shot, trained by David Simcock, beat a strong set of four rivals to win the Doom Bar-sponsored feature race on day two of Goodwood’s August bank holiday festival.
Simcock is now thinking of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at October’s Champions’ Day.
The five-year-old had not won since June 2015, but came from last place to secure a length-and-three-quarters success in the £110,000 Group 2 contest.
Lightning Spear benefitted from a fine Oisin Murphy ride that left Zonderland and Frankie Dettori in second and Arod third.
The favourite, Sir Michael Stoute’s Thikriyaat, was a disappointing last after failing to get into reckoning from the word go.
Simcock said of Lightning Spear: “We’ve always known what a good horse he is but things haven’t gone right for him. I feel sorry for the horse because he has so much talent, but he’s only really been let go twice. He didn’t show up in the Sussex and at Deauville, it was a messy race run on tacky ground.
“I will aim him towards Ascot now and it will be the QEII. I’ve always said he’s the best miler we’ve had and I believe that next year he will show his true potential.”
See Celebration Mile pre-race, race and post-race scenes in our video, above
It was a hot and often hunid afternoon on the Downs as another big crowd packed into the racecourse to enjoy the action.
I’ve always said he’s the best miler we’ve had and I believe that next year he will show his true potential.Lightning Spear’s trainer David Simcock
The opener, the Absolute Aesthetics Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, went to 11/1 chance Tara Celeb, ridden by John Egan for Mick Channon, beating Money In My Pocket by a neck.
The afternoon’s first Group race, the Group 3 Prestige Stakes,m went to the first time to trainer Mark Johnston, who saw Franny Norton hold off the challenge of Sean Levery on Promising for a 5/1 success on Kilmah.
Andrea Atzeni prevailed in the Goodwood Revival Stakes on the Roger Varian-trained Certificate, the 7/2 favourite, in another close finish.
Atzeni completed a quickfire double by riding Platitude - tipped on this website - to victory in the Lewis Badges 1832 March Stakes as a 13/8 favourite for Stoute.
Quebee was a 9/2 winner of the Whiteley Clinic Stakes for jockey Martin Harley and trainer Clive Cox -who’d only just missed out on the day’s big prize as the trainer of Zonderland - and there was a win in the Golf Academy At Goodwood Stakes for Sussex trainer Gary Moore as Hector Crouch rode Guns of Leros first home at 5/2.
The holiday weekend festival concludes on Sunday, when the Supreme Stakes is the big race at 4.20pm.
Tips for Sunday: 2.05 Carducci, 2.35 Gabster, 3.10 In The Red, 3.45 Pink Ribbon, 4.20 So Beloved, 4.55 Myopic, 5.30 Kiringa.
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