Brilliant Buick gets Goodwood May Festival off to a flyer - plus Friday tips

William Buick on his second winner, Albahar
William Buick on his second winner, Albahar
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William Buick was in sensational form with four winners on day one of Goodwood’s three-day May Festival.

His biggest success came in the feature race, the Veolia Height of Fashion Stakes, as he left it late to guide Godolphin-owned Skiffle to a thrilling last-gasp win over Frankie Dettori on The Black Princess.

In winning the listed contest, Skiffle was overcoming eight rivals - including four who have entries in Epsom’s Oaks in a fortnight’s time.

Afterwards trainer Charlie Appleby said Skiffle would now probably go to the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

It was Buick’s fourth win in the first five races of the afternoon - and not the first to cross the line and then be talked about as a Royal Ascot contender.

On a beautiful spring afternoon when a good-sized crowd had made its way to Goodwood, the opening race brought success for Buick and trainer Mark Johnston, whose next winner on the Downs is never far away.

It was Buick’s fourth win in the first five races of the afternoon - and not the first to cross the line and then be talked about as a Royal Ascot contender.

Buick led the NJS Group EBF Novice Stakes all the way for a two-length win on 5/2 chance Yalta over Richard Hannon-trained Repton, with the odds-on favourite Afandem back in third.

Johnston said a trip to Royal Ascot was a possibility for the two-year-old and Paddy Power immediately made Yalta 14/1 for the prestigious Coventry Stakes.

Can’t Change It took the winnerevents.com Stakes (Handicap), also by two lengths, for David Simcock and Jamie Spencer, beating another Hannon horse, Emell, into second.

Buick completed a double in impressive style in the Construction Day Stakes handicap on 16/1 contender Albahar, trained by Hampshire-based Chris Gordon.

It was a four-and-a-half length victory over Ed Greatrex on Rayvin Black - winners at the Goodwood season opener - who led for much of the contest.

That man Buick - who has been a consistent performer at Goodwood for many years now - was in the winner’s enclosure again after riding Bathos to victory in the Wright Joinery Company Stakes handicap at 17/2.

The action was completed with the Breeders Backing Racing EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, won by Ryan Moore on the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Atone (8/1), and the Breeders Backing Racing EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, taken by Pour La Victoire (9/1), ridden by Georgia Cox for trainer Tony Carroll.

It was a reasonable day for the Observer’s Goodwood tips - we picked out opening-race winner Yalta, and five of our other six selections were second or third, including 13/2 shot Arnold Lane and 12/1 contender Regal Parade.

All in all it was an absorbing opening to a three-day festival which has established itself as one of the highlights of the Goodwood calendar and something of a chance to get your eye in for Glorious Goodwood later in the season.

The chances are high of several well-performing horses from these May races coming back to the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July.

Friday’s racing highlight is the listed EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes, in which four go to post.

Our tips: 1.50 Zaatar, 2.20 Dutch Art Dealer, 2.55 Aristocratic, 3.30 Prize Money, 4.00 Star Rider, 4.35 Seeking Magic, 5.05 Sir Theodore.

STEVE BONE

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