Johnston scores another double as huge crowd enjoy Ladies' Day at Goodwood

Forest of Dean and Harry Bentley give John Gosden another Glorious week winner / Picture by Alan Crowhurst, Getty Images
Forest of Dean and Harry Bentley give John Gosden another Glorious week winner / Picture by Alan Crowhurst, Getty Images

Top trainers John Gosden and Mark Johnston continued their fine Glorious-week form as Ladies' Day gave Goodwood its biggest crowd of the week to date. For Johnston, a double gave him a new place in the Goodwood history books.

On a day which began with joyous scenes as 18-year-old student Khadijah Mellah won the Magnolia Cup charity ladies' race and continued with Deirdre winning the Nassau Stakes for Japan Gosden's sensational form continued as he registered his third victory of the week, taking him to the top of the Leading Trainer Award category, following the success of 4/1 joint-favourite Forest Of Dean in the 10-furlong £75,000 Unibet Handicap.

Ridden by Harry Bentley, registering his first victory at this year's Qatar Goodwood Festival, the three-year-old son of Iffraaj ran on strongly up the far-side rail to score by two and a half-lengths over the Andrew Balding-trained Fox Premier (11/2) in second.

Gosden, successful on the Sussex Downs already this week with Stradivarius (G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup) and Too Darn Hot (G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes), said: "I freshened Forest Of Dean up after he ran a very good race to finish fourth in the London Gold Cup at Newbury behind Headman (Roger Charlton), who went on to win a G2 at Saint-Cloud, so the form was strong.

"This race used to be called the Extel. If you won this, you got a free ride in a Spitfire. It was always a very celebrated race and I thought this was a horse who deserved to take his chance here.

"He was slow away, but they have dropped the rail in the straight from today. Therefore when you enter the straight now, there is a little chicane which has opened the track up a bit.

"What people don't realise is that the straight here is not straight on that rail. It actually elbows out towards the middle of the track and causes a concertina effect. That is why you get a lot of bad luck stories here, but when you have that little auxiliary rail it does help. It's the brave man's route, but it was the only route we could go to."

Bentley remarked: "I tried to be positive from the get-go and get a handier position than I ended up with. I spoke to Mr Gosden in the paddock beforehand and we discussed that there is false rail there, which really helps things open up in the straight.

"It took a while for the gap to come but from my position, it was just a matter of waiting as you cannot go over the top of these horses. Luckily, the gap arrived and he was very brave to go through it."

The Clive Cox-trained and Adam Kirby-ridden Golden Horde (15/2) landed the £200,000 G2 Qatar Richmond Stakes. The two-year-old son of Lethal Force, who was also trained by Cox, held off the sustained challenge of the well-supported 11/8 favourite Threat, trained by Richard Hannon, to score by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong event.

Golden Horde was a fine fifth in the G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot back in June and the Lambourn handler was delighted with today's victory. He said: "Golden Horde did it well today. Adam said he felt like his father [Lethal Force] throughout the race. He didn't feel like he was going very fast.

"Golden Horde is a joy to have. He is improving all the time. He has a bit of size and scope. We bought him at the Doncaster Sales last year (£65,000) and we always knew he would keep improving throughout the season with his size."

Kirby remarked: "Golden Horde is improving. He was still very babyish at Ascot and he lugged across the track for some reason. Clive put a cross noseband on him today and that seemed to help him no end. I am really pleased for him and obviously I am pleased for Lethal Force as well. It's nice for him to get a nice winner on the board and hopefully this lad will do him proud.

"I didn't feel like I was going that quick on him. He is just like his dad in that respect where he has a high cruising speed and lengthens really well."

Yorkshire-based Scotsman Johnston trained his 81st Qatar Goodwood Festival winner, setting a record for wins at the famous midsummer meeting.

It was also his 150th winner at all Goodwood's meetings, his landmark victory coming courtesy of Nayef Road in the G3 Qatar Gordon Stakes. He had shared top spot with Sir Michael Stoute after equalling the Newmarket handler's record yesterday.

Johnston said: "Sir Michael has been around longer than me, so that's quite good. We target the meeting and it's nice to be up there making records, but I would swop them for a few of John Gosden's Group One wins.

"At an early stage in my career we latched on to the great opportunities here at Goodwood, we really enjoy it, the owners really enjoy it, and we have some overseas owners here this week and they are really enjoying it. There is no better place to come to advertise British racing.

"My Scottish side means I firmly believe in racing horses for money, not racing them at home. People are always saying our horses run a lot, but a horse like Nayef Road won't have galloped since before his first run of the season. We save the effort for the racecourse.

Nayef Road (9/1) beat Constantinople (2/1 f) and Spanish Mission (11/2) by a neck and a head. Johnston said of his winner: "Even in defeat, he's been running well and we've always thought highly of him."

Johnston registered his fourth victory of the week at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and a 54/1 double on Ladies' Day following the impressive success of 9/2 favourite Governor Of Punjab in the £25,000 Telegraph Nursery Handicap.

Johnston, who has won the Leading Trainer Award at the festival 12 times, including for the past three years, was delighted with the two-year-old son of Footstepsinthesands performance.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Governor Of Punjab won the seven-furlong event by a length over the Eve Johnson-Houghton-trained Sword Beach (33/1).

The Middleham trainer said: "Governor Of Punjab is a massive horse. He belongs to Rob Ferguson, who also owns Visinari who is very similar size of horse.

"You have got that dilemma with a big horse like this who is showing so much speed; do you take advantage of that or do you hold back and wait for him to mature and hope that he is going to be better? You hope that he is going to be better but you don't know.

"We have made a bit of hay, so perhaps we can relax for a bit and see if he continues to fill out and improve. Ryan said he got squeezed out a little bit early on, but he had a dream run really. The horse relaxed and he was able to put him where he wanted. Ryan said he is a great big horse, that a mile would not be a problem and that he will get better with time."

It was on the whole a tough day for punters and that theme continued when the Markel Insurance British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes was landed by Kieron Shoemark on the 16/1 contender Vividly, trained by Charlie Hills. Racing ended with Celsius raising the temperature with an 11/2 win under PJ McDonald in the Tatler Handicap.

Friday is day four and the highlights are the five-furlong dash known as the King George Qatar Stakes, in which Battaash, ridden by Jim Crowley, will aim to become the first horse to win the race three years in a row, and the Unibet Golden Mile, one of the top handicaps in the English flat racing calendar.