Goodwood winner returns for May Festival

The Confessor wins at Glorious Goodwood in 2012  Picture by Malcolm Wells
The Confessor wins at Glorious Goodwood in 2012 Picture by Malcolm Wells
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The Confessor bids to enhance his enviable Goodwood record in the £20,000 Wright Joinery Company Handicap (3.10pm, 19 entries) over seven furlongs, the feature handicap on Thursday - day one of the three-day May Festival.

Henry Candy’s charge has yet to finish out of the first three in five visits to the West Sussex course and captured a seven-furlong handicap, the Harwoods Racing Club Handicap, at Glorious Goodwood in early August last year.

He followed up that victory with a gallant third in the £100,000 Betfair Summer Double Second Leg Heritage Handicap over the distance at Goodwood later the same month.

The six-year-old made his seasonal return in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Handicap, also at seven furlongs, at Goodwood on Opening Saturday, May 4, when he finished third, beaten two lengths by George Guru, who could reoppose.

Candy said: “The Confessor has been in good form and is likely to run in the Wright Joinery Company Handicap.

“I was very pleased with his reappearance. I thought he would have blown up sooner than he did and he should come on for that.

“Goodwood is a quirky course and he is a quirky horse so maybe that is why he runs so well there. He will always have his odd moments but you don’t mind that when they have a good engine.

“I would be hoping for nice ground as he doesn’t go in the soft any more.”

The entries for the Wright Joinery Company Handicap also include Chandlery, who won the Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2011, Jamie Osborne’s Betfair Summer Double International Heritage Handicap winner Field Of Dream and recent Chester scorer Captain Bertie.

The highlight of the first day’s racing is the Listed £40,000 Height Of Fashion Stakes (3.45pm), over just short of 10 furlongs, which has attracted 13 three-year-old fillies after re-opening, headed by Harmonic Note, trained in Ireland by Ger Lyons and owned by Qatar Racing Limited, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Elik, who finished fourth in the Cheshire Oaks on May 8, and recent unlucky Goodwood second Trapeze.

Trapeze, trained by John Gosden, twice failed to get a clear run before finishing strongly to snatch runner-up position, a length behind Ribbons, in the mile Nissan Innovation And Excitement Fillies’ Handicap at Goodwood on May 9.

Frankel’s half-brother, Morpheus, could go in search of a first success in the £10,000 Winner Plant UK Handicap (2.35pm, 21 entries) over a mile and a furlong. The entries also include exciting Newmarket maiden scorer Goodwood Mirage, owned by the Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group and trained by William Knight, Luca Cumani’s Ajmany and Aussie Lyrics from the stable of George Baker.

Racing gets under at 2pm with the £6,000 British Stallion Studs British Racing EBF Fillies’ Maiden over six furlongs and Goodwood’s leading trainer Richard Hannon is responsible seven of the 25 entries. Hannon sent out subsequent QIPCO 1,000 Guineas heroine Sky Lantern to score impressively on her debut in this race last year.

The longest race on the six-race card is the £10,000 Hippo Handicap (4.20pm, 26 entries) over two miles and is followed by the concluding Construction Raceday Apprentice Handicap (4.55pm, 20 entries) over six furlongs.

There are also excellent entries for the second day of the May Festival, on Friday, May 24, though the main contest, the £40,000 CASCO EBF Cocked Hat Stakes, a Listed event over 11 furlongs, has been re-opened.

The May Festival at Goodwood Racecourse concludes on Saturday, May 25.

The going at Goodwood is currently good. Clerk of the course Seamus Buckley said: “I am very happy with the course - it is in lovely condition. The rain we had last weekend was very welcome and there is plenty of moisture in the ground.

“The forecast is for a drop of rain late on Saturday night into Sunday morning, which will hopefully materialise and keep the ground where we want it to be.

“If the rain arrives, we should be starting the three-day May Festival on good ground.”

For more on Goodwood’s May Festival, keep checking this website and see the Observer on Thursday