Goodwood’s Friday night action: Megalala aims to make music

Drum and bass quartet Rudimental take centre stage on the first of Three Friday Nights at Goodwood tomorrow evening (May 31) - and veteran handicapper Megalala will also be hoping to make his rivals dance to his tune in the opening Gordon’s Amateur Riders’ Handicap (6.05pm).

The 12-year-old makes his 100th career start for trainer John Bridger in the nine-furlong contest following a successful career that has spanned eight years and has featured 15 wins, including a course and distance victory in this race three years ago.

Hampshire-based Bridger, 71, said: “Megalala lost his way a little bit after winning at Windsor last season and wasn’t right earlier on in the year but he seems to be back to form now.

“Serena Brotherton takes the ride and she has won twice on Megalala, so she gets on well with the horse and is looking forward to being on him again.

“He’s 12 now but looks so well at home. I suppose that he will tell us when he has had enough but he will be a difficult horse to retire because he loves doing his work and it would be unfair to just turn him out.

“We originally bought him as a jumper because he is a very big, thick horse but he couldn’t get a trip and seemed to be more of a seven-furlong horse - he always wanted to jump off and go.

“He has to front-run but he can be difficult to pass as well. We will know over the next couple of starts whether he is the same horse as in previous years but he seems 100 per cent at home at the moment.

“He has come down the ratings, loves Goodwood and the ground should be ideal for him. On a good day, he’s a better horse than his current mark of 60 and hopefully he can run a big race.”

Brotherton was Britain’s female flat amateur champion jockey last year with six successes, her sixth such title.

Bridger is also represented in the Gordon’s Amateur Riders’ Handicap by fellow course winner Byrd In Hand. The six-year-old is a spring chicken in comparison to his stable companion, having had just the 42 starts so far, and makes a quick reappearance after coming home a close third at Lingfield on Tuesday evening.

The Liphook handler added: “Byrd In Hand ran a good race at Lingfield on Tuesday - he ran a blinder really because he has only got the one pace and other horses come and catch him sometimes.

“He seems to have come out of that race in good form and we have been waiting for the ground to come right for him. Alyson Deniel came down to ride him at Salisbury earlier this month and she was only narrowly beaten on that occasion.”

A bumper field of 16 for the Gordon’s Amateur Riders’ Handicap also includes Wordismybond, the mount of eight-time male amateur champion Flat jockey Simon Walker, recent Lingfield scorer Space War and Lady Sylvia, who is partnered by Hayley Moore, sister of leading professional jockey Ryan.

Wahaab, whose dam is dual Group One winner Indian Ink, is one of two Richard Hannon-trained debutants in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden (7.10pm, six runners), while talented hurdler Paintball makes a rare foray on the Flat for Charlie Longsdon in the Rudimental Handicap (8.15pm, six runners).

A six-race card is completed by the Levy Restaurants Classified Stakes (6.35pm, seven runners), the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Fillies’ Handicap (7.45pm, 13 runners) and the closing Yacht Week Fillies’ Maiden (8.45pm, 12 runners).

After racing, the parade ring will be transformed to a huge dance floor under the stars, complete with laser show as Rudimental perform to a sell-out audience.

Three Friday Nights continue with Groove Armada’s Andy Cato (June 14) and Trevor Nelson (June 21), with limited ticket availability for both evenings.

The going at Goodwood is currently Good to Soft. Following three millimetres of rain over the past 24 hours, the forecast is for drier and brighter weather moving into the area later today, with sunny and warm conditions expected for Friday.

Our tips: 6.05 Balmoral Castle, 6.35 Neamour, 7.10 Downturn, 7.45 Tantshi, 8.15 Luggers Hall, 8.45 Grey Gazelle.