Johnston, de Sousa and Moore close in on Glorious Goodwood titles
Trainer Mark Johnston and jockeys Silvestre de Sousa and Ryan Moore put themselves in pole position to end Glorious Goodwood as the top operators on a splendid Ladies' Day full of drama and colour
Away from the Nassau Stakes - report here - there were two Group 2 races, a photo finish, a stewards' inquiry ... and some familiar names in the winner's enclosure.
The 11/4 shot Pilaster landed the £300,000 G2 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes, surviving a stewards' enquiry to triumph in the 14-furlong event.
Trained by Roger Varian and ridden by David Egan, the three-year-old daughter of Nathaniel engaged in a thrilling battle in the closing stages of the G2 event with 16/1 chance Maid Up, trained by Andrew Balding and partnered by Rob Hornby. Pilaster responded willingly to Egan's urgings to regain the lead close home and score by a short-head.
Pilaster raced just once as a two-year-old, finishing seventh in a Doncaster mile maiden in October. The Cheveley Park Stud-owned homebred won both of her starts in novice events on the All-Weather at Chelmsford (1m 2f) and Kempton (1m 4f) this year with Newmarket handler Varian describing her as a "classy" filly.
He said: "Watching it live and watching again, I did not think Pilaster was loving the ground. I think she has overcome the ground. She is class and all guts - she got headed and came back to win on the line. She is a very classy filly. She was very good today. She showed a real toughness today as she was headed and came back.
"Hopefully, she comes out of this race well and then we would have to consider races like the QIPCO Fillies & Mares at Ascot on QIPCO Champion Stakes in October or the Park Hill at Doncaster before that. I think Pilaster will really come into her own when she is racing on slower ground. She has been doing her racing on the All-Weather so far this year and and I think there is more to come."
Ryan Moore recorded his third victory of the 2018 festival following the success of the well-supported Land Force (5/2) in the £200,000 G2 Qatar Richmond Stakes over six furlongs.
The two-year-old son of No Nay Never was always prominent and took the lead at the two-furlong pole. Land Force knuckled down well under Moore in the closing stages to fend off all challengers and score a shade cosily by a length from Mark Johnston's Marie's Diamond (9/2) in second.
Moore, who tasted victory earlier this week aboard Watan in the Nginious! Swiss Gin EBF Maiden and Medahim in the Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group Handicap, said: "Land Force is a very fast horse and got away well. To be honest, I was in the lead long enough. I was left there at the two, which is a bit too soon for him, but when I got stuck into him, he was very game and kept responding."
Yorkshire-based Scot Mark Johnston inched closer to the goal of becoming the most successful trainer of winners in Britain when Communique won the £75,000 Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap.
Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, Communique (7/2f) beat Zaman (12/1) and Global Giant (25/1) by one and a half lengths and a short head.
Johnston, who has been leading trainer at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on 11 occasions, said: "After he won at Newbury earlier this season we might have thought he would be moving on to even bigger things, but he had a couple of slightly disappointing runs when things didn't go his way, and they went very much his way today.
"People talk about keeping horses busy, but he hasn't had a gallop at home since before the season started, so he's not particularly busy and they all thrive on racing. He's rated 97 so the next step is either more valuable handicaps or to go up to Pattern company."
The Richard Fahey-trained More Than This (4/1 joint-favourite) maintained his unbeaten record with a game success in the Telegraph Nursery Handicap. Ridden by Paul Hanagan, the two-year-old son of Dutch Art ran on strongly on the far-side rail to score by a length and a half in the seven-furlong contest.
Hanagan said: "More Than This did it really well. He has got a big, long and lovely stride. I managed to get a lovely breather into him turning in. He got a bit lonely in front, but once he was challenged, he went again. More Than This showed a great attitude and I am really looking forward to him next year.
"I don't think it is that important to get the rail, I just wanted something to race against as he is quite immature and he is such a big horse."
Jockey P J McDonald rode his second winner at this year's Qatar Goodwood Festival when landing the Markel Insurance British EBF Fillies' Maiden on the Mark Johnston-trained Accordance.
The 9/2 winner, who races in the colours of her breeder, Kirsten Rausing, beat Rux Power (12/1) by three-quarters of a length, with Lady Cosette (100/30) a further neck behind in third.
Ladies' Day in picturesMcDonald, who on the opening day of the meeting won the Chelsea Barracks Handicap on Under The Covers, was happy to have another success, but was rueing one he felt might have got away - Star Rock, on whom he finished third in today's G2 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes.
Of Accordance he said: "We went very steady, but Ryan [Moore] was in front on another horse [Stellar Comet] trained by the boss [Johnston] and I didn't want to take him on. I just had to sit until we turned for home, and then I committed early because I knew she would stay."
The John Quinn-trained Lord Riddiford (6/1) captured the concluding race on day three, the Tatler Handicap over five furlongs, his third successive victory.
The three-year-old son of Zebedee ran on gamely to deny the sustained challenge of Iain Jardine's 12/1 shot Marnie James to score by a neck.
Yorkshire-based Quinn, registering his first winner of the week at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, said: "Lord Riddiford won really well.
"He looks like an out-and-out five-furlong horse and I was impressed with his performance. It is wonderful to come here and compete, but even more special to have a winner here."
Before the main racecard, the eighth running of the Magnolia Cup kicked off an afternoon to savour. It is set to raise around £200,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Katie Forrest, who lives in Chiddingfold in Surrey and is the managing director of the Edit Design Agency, won the race (presented by Swarovski in supportof Cancer Research UK) riding Hurricane Harry.
The winner, who is trained near Chiddingfold by George Baker, tracked Harrodian Knight through the first few furlongs and then eased past before recording a comfortable success. The Ian Williams-trained Harrodian Knight, the mount of Sarah Cook who works on the Daily Mirror's sports desk, took second ahead of the Camilla Swift-ridden Boots And Spurs from Scott Dixon's stable.
Forrest's win in a race which has raised more than £1.2m for charity since its inception eight years ago, was most appropriate, for her father, Tim, has been suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment. Fortunately he and his wife Susie were at Goodwood today to witness their daughter's triumph.
The winning rider exclaimed: "I can't even put my feelings into words. I think it was Mick Fitzgerald who said winning [the Grand National] was better than sex, and it really is - it is the most insane feeling."