Royal Ascot winner Hughes is a Goodwood victor too

Richard Hughes wins the Gordon's Stakes on Duke of Clarence - part of a 1-2-3 of greys  Picture by Clive Bennett
Richard Hughes wins the Gordon's Stakes on Duke of Clarence - part of a 1-2-3 of greys Picture by Clive Bennett

He won the big race on the fourth day of Royal Ascot - and four hours later, Richard Hughes was showing great form to win the Gordon’s Stakes at Goodwood.

Hughes missed one of his Goodwood rides because of delays in the journey from Berkshire to the South Downs but he made up for it on the Richard Hannon-trained Duke of Cambridge when he did arrive.

The 7/2 joint-favourite - tipped on this website - edged the one mile, six furlong contest by a neck from 10/1 shot Noble Silk and Darren Egan.

Afterwards Hughes took a bow in the winner’s enclosure as presenter Lee McKenzie congratulated him on his win in Ascot’s Coronation Stakes on Sky Lantern - itself a former Goodwood winner and, like Duke of Clarence, a grey.

In fact the first three home in the Gordon’s contest were grey - making for a rare sight as they crossed the line close to one another.

Hughes may have grabbed some of the limelight on a beautifully-sunny evening on the Downs - Goodwood having been blessed with near-perfect conditions for all three in its Friday night racing-and-music nights this year, a stark contrast to previous years.

But as another sell-out crowd took advantage of the chance of a unique night’s entertainment, topped off by a DJ set by Trevor Nelson, the star of the night on the track was Seb Sanders, who got off the Goodwood mark for 2013 with a back-to-back double.

The Three Friday Nights Handicap Stakes went to the 7/2 favourite - States-based Where’s Reiley, ridden by Sanders for Michael Attwater. It was the Epsom trainer’s second Goodwood success of the season and another selection highlighted on this website. Sanders timed his run perfectly to beat 15/2 shot Chevise into second place.

Sanders made it a quickfire double in the next, the Bibendum Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, with a five-length victory on the William Haggas-trained Rock Choir, who went off at 15/8.

The three-year-old had been extremely well-backed before a race which was affected by three jockey changes, caused by the late arrival of riders who’d been in action at Ascot.

The opener brought a first Goodwood win for 17-year-old Irish jockey Oisin Murhpy on the Ismail Mohammed-trained three-year-old Rhombus in the MTV Staying Alive Foundation Apprentice Stakes handicap - as tipped on this website by Goodwood ambassador Hayley Turner.

Murphy showed experience that belied his age to guide the 7/2 favourite home by a neck from Daniel Muscutt on Smileswithhiseyes.

The promising rookie said he had come to England because his opportunities were limited in Ireland - and a programme of 19 rides in the past month had proved he had made the right decision.

He has spent time with Aiden O’Brien and Andrew Balding as he finds his way in the sport.

Murphy said: “If I keep my head down and keep improving, the winners will come.”

Meanwhile, Hannon’s win with Duke of Clarence put him level with Pulborough’s Amanda Perrett in the race to be Goodwood’s top trainer for the season - the pair had five victories each at that point.

But the parity didn’t last long as Perrett got her nose back in front when Pat Dobbs rode Saucy Minx (9/2) to the win in the Trevor Nelson Fillies’ Stakes, beating Matthew Davies on Savanna Days (16/1) by a length.

It was a third success for the Perrett-Dobbs partnership inside eight days at Goodwood.

The last, the Goodwood Farm Shop Stakes handicap, went to James McDonald on the Charlie Hills-trained Barbs Princess (9/2).

After racing, Radio 1 and 2 legend Nelson took the decks overlooking the winner’s enclosure to get the crowd dancing long into the night - the perfect end to the longest day of the year and to the best series of Three Friday Nights Goodwood has seen yet since launching the event in 2011.


See Clive Bennett’s pictures from the night on this website on Monday - and get all the latest from Goodwood in the Observer every Thursday.