Glorious Goodwood - DAY FOUR
The fourth day of Glorious Goodwood always looked a top-class one - and it did not disappoint.
There was a double for crowd favourite Frankie Dettori, a big-race victory for a horse owned by The Queen and another afternoon to wall-to-wall sunshine.
The card included the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes, the Unibet Mile, the Bombay Sapphire Glorious Stakes,the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes and the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Oak Tree Stakes.
The sun was shining and the temperatures soared for a 20,000-plus crowd.
Here's how the afternoon unfolded...
Crowds so far this week ... Tues 12,813; Wed 14,907; Thur 21,906. Numbers are slightly down for the week so far.
The going for the fourth day changed this morning to Good to Firm, Good in places (from Good, Good to Firm in places).
Ed Arkell, Goodwood's Clerk of the Course, said at 11:10am: "The ground has dried up half a going description every day, which I think has been a little slower than I expected really, so that has been helpful. Last night, we took down the rails on both of the bends to provide fresh ground today and we also put water on the top, bottom and far bends."
1.50pm No surprises as Ryan Moore helps Mirage Dancer glide to victory with plenty to spare - three and a half lengths to be precise. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old was 6/5 favourite and it was clear to see why. Moore now leads the jockeys' table for the festival - that was his fourth winner of the week.
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, said: "It was a very pleasant race to watch, the good thing is Mirage Dancer settled really well. We had a good idea that he'd be at home here as he won at Goodwood earlier this year, but the race today went very smoothly.
"I think Ryan wanted to kick on earlier than he would have liked to as they were going a tad too slow for him, but the way he did it was nice and Mirage Dancer went on and ran well to the line. I think he is at last coming to the horse that we have hoped that he would make into."
Cat among pigeons in our tipping competition - leader Adam Waterworth was the only one of our five not to tip Mirage Dancer. So there's a three-way tie at the top between Adam, Dave Stevens and me, with six wins each.
Some news of tomorrow's big race...
8/1 joint-favourites Foxtrot Lady and Spring Loaded head 28 runners in tomorrow's feature contest, the Â£250,000 Unibet Stewards' Cup (3.40pm), on day five of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Saturday, August 4.
Sponsored by Unibet for the first time, the six-furlong handicap has attracted an excellent field full of unexposed progressive types, proven handicappers and veteran sprinters. The Unibet Stwards' Cup roll of honour includes subsequent G1 scorers Lochsong, Borderlescott and Magical Memory.
2.25pm Goodwood would not be Glorious without a Frankie Dettori win - and a Frankie flying dismount. And now we have both as the Italian crowd favourite does the business on 10/1 chance Regal Reality in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute.
Dettori returned to race-riding on Thursday following a six-day ban for careless riding at Newmarket in July.
Dettori said: I thought I might have overdone it, but Regal Reality has some serious gears. It took him about four or five strides to really get down and race, and then he took off. The gallop they went in front, I thought they can't keep that up. The main thing is to get him to settle and he settled well.
"I didn't want to go after the pace and I followed James Doyle on Threading early on. Two and a half-furlongs out, I knew I had to start making my move as he wasn't taking me further. I was told he had a good turn of foot and I thought for the first five strides, he didn't pick it up like I thought he would. However, when the turbo kicked in, I thought I was going to get there easily and I won easily in the end."
3pm The Queen wins the Unibet Golden Mile... not literally, but her horse Seniority takes the contest under that man Moore for trainer William Haggas.
The trainer said: "That was good. It was a rough race, but as with a lot of the races here, if you are travelling, you have half a chance. And this horse was always travelling really well - when the gaps come here you have to take your opportunity - if you are hesitant and take a bit time, then you invariably don't. He showed a smart turn of foot and, in the end, won not exactly cosily, but by a not bad half length."
Jockey Moore said: "Seniority won nicely today. It was a lovely race to win and he is a really well-bred horse. William has done a super job getting him here today and luckily we got a good draw (stall 3) and he kept on well at the end. Seniority was always travelling well in behind them and he only had a length to find when the gap came. He picked up well when the gap opened and he lengthened nicely to the line."
3.35 Brilliant from Battaash! The Sheikh Maktoum speed king was brilliant in winning this race last year - and many thought he was even better in winning it again. It was never in doubt.
The 8/11 favourite produced one of the finest sprinting performances of recent times with a sensational blitzkrieg in the Â£312,000 G2 race. The Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old travelled with menace throughout the five-furlong event and displayed a potent turn of foot to put the race to bed in a matter of strides, winning readily by four lengths under Jim Crowley.
The son of Dark Angel was an easy two and a quarter-length winner of the race last year and became the eighth horse in history to win the G2 event on two occasions.
Lambourn handler Hills described the performance by Battaash, who had to carry a 3lb penalty for his G1 success in last year's Prix De L'Abbaye, as "a career best" as he toyed with his rivals. A return to G1 company now beckons for the speed machine with Paddy Power making Hills' charge the Evens favourite from 7/4 for the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24. Battaash won in a time of 56.50s - he was 0.49 seconds outside the Goodwood five-furlong record.
The delighted trainer said: "Battaash broke well and got a nice lead to the first furlong, but he just wanted to go faster and Jim just had to let him go. He is an exceptional horse and I think that could well be a career-best. It was also the best he has behaved in the preliminaries. He has had plenty more racing now and I think he is learning with every run. That was pretty special - he is some horse. Jim always looked in control. It was not ideal that the race split a bit but he just a class above really. Today was probably a career-best by Battaash. He had to carry a penalty there but won so impressively - I'm delighted with him."
4.10pm Don Armado (11/1), trained by Newmarket-based Stuart Williams who was enjoying his first Qatar Goodwood Festival victory, has now run six times in his young career, winning last time at Nottingham and backing that up today in the six-furlong Unibet Nursery.
Winning jockey Harry Bentley said: "He's a progressive colt. I thought he did everything right when he won last time at Nottingham - then he was a bit green throughout the early strides, but the penny really dropped in the final furlong there.
4.40pm It's been a memorable week for trainer William Haggas and he strikes again thanks to 3/1 favourite Pretty Baby, ridden by Dane O'Neill, in the Group 3 L'Ormarins Queens Plate Oak Tree Stakes.
Haggas is now the leading trainer at this year's festival with four victories. Move Swiftly (Matchbook Time To Move Over Fillies' Handicap) and Alfarris (Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap) have also tasted success so far this week. It was also Haggas' 50th winner at Goodwood.
He said: "Dane O'Neill said the saddle went forward at the top of the bend. He rode a beautiful race on Pretty Baby, but it was not as smooth as he would have liked. It was her first time at seven furlongs and we always thought she might appreciate the step up in trip, so it was good."
5.15pm He may have been missing from the early part of the week but Dettori is back in the saddle now, and doesn't Goodwood know it. He follows up his earlier win by taking the day's final race, the Maltsmiths Handicap, on 12/1 shot Desert Path for Pulborough-based trainer Amanda Perrett.
Dettori enjoying his 199th winner at Goodwood overall said: "It was very straightforward. They went very fast and it suited Desert Path. He won well."
That's your lot for day four - there's a King George report here and a full round-up on this website later, and more action on Saturday's final day, when the Unibet Stewards' Cup is the race of the day.
Here's your chance to relive Thursday's Ladies' Day action