Can Dunlop sign off in style at Goodwood?

John Dunlop will aim to sign off in style at Goodwood on Sunday  Picture by Malcolm Wells
John Dunlop will aim to sign off in style at Goodwood on Sunday Picture by Malcolm Wells
The sun ought to shine for Fontwell's Thursday afternoon racing

Irish raiders among the Fontwell fields

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John Dunlop will be looking to sign off on a high at Goodwood courtesy of Estebsaal in the Lavant House School Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The Arundel handler retires at the end of the year - and has been invited as a special guest of the track for their season finale - and the Dansili colt can put him in with a shout of a glorious send-off at a course where he has enjoyed much success.

While he struggled on his handicap bow over ten furlongs at Lingfield, the drop back a to a mile here should be more to his liking and he has shown he can handle cut in the ground before.

Meanwhile, Prodigality let down favourite-backers when beaten at Doncaster last month but his supporters can recover some of their losses.

The gelding has been sent off as market leader on no less than five of his six starts this term and confidence could be waning as he has only won on one of those occasions.

However, Ron Harris’ charge has hardly been disgraced as a succession of narrow defeats admirably demonstrates just how well is holding his form.

A winner at Brighton in August, he then lost out in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon by a short head when on the ‘wrong’ side of the track, before a neck was all that separated him from victory at Ffos Las next time.

Those two efforts prompted strong support for the ultra-competitive Portland on Town Moor, but not for the first time luck was not on his side as he seemed at something of a disadvantage in racing on the far side of the track to finish a close-up sixth.

His consistency has seen him leap 20lb in the ratings to his current mark of 90 but even off that career-high, he makes plenty of appeal.

Mark Johnston and Richard Hannon will do battle to see which of them wins this year’s Dick Hern Trophy.

Johnston is one win ahead of his rival going into the final card - although Hannon has won the top trainer title at Goodwood in each of the past four seasons and won’t want to give it up without a fight.

PRESS ASSOCIATION GOODWOOD TIPS: 2.00 Pocket Too, 2.35 Don Marco, 3.10 Surge Ahead, 3.45 PRODIGALITY (NAP), 4.20 Pentagram, 4.55 Muharrer, 5.25 Estebsaal.

Top trainer and jockey standings ahead of final meeting:

Jockeys: Richard Hughes 13 wins, William Buick 8, Tom Queally 6, Darren Edward Egan 5, Kieron Fallon 5.

Trainers: Mark Johnston 11 wins, Richard Hannon 10, Sir Henry Cecil 6, Jeremy Noseda 5

We’ll have a report and pictures from the season finale - and Adam Waterworth’s Diary from the Downs - in next week’s (Oct 18) Observer.