RICHARD HANNON enjoyed a storming start to Glorious Goodwood - but it didn’t extend to success in the day-one feature race.
The Wiltshire handler, so often the best-performing trainer at the festival and throughout the season on the Downs, tasted victory in each of the first two races of a weather-hit opening day.
But he was out of luck in the big race, the bet365 Lennox Stakes, which was won by Richard Fahey’s Garswood, which formed the first part of a double for Ryan Moore - the second half of which was his 100th Goodwood winner.
A crowd of 12,674 turned up to the opening day - compared to an attendance of 13,162 last year on the same day. The drop was attributed to the poor weather this morning.
In fact, those arriving before or around midday could have been forgiven for wondering whether they’d see any racing at all. As the rain continued to fall, it doubled up into one of the notorious sea frets that can roll in over the Downs - and it was impossible to see as much as a furlong down the course from the stands.
Happily it cleared and the rain stopped - though course bosses will still hope the forecast of improving weather as the week goes on proves accurate.
Garswood edged out Caspar Netscher, ridden by Shane Kelly, in a thrilling finish. Sent off as 9-4 favourite for his latest seven-furlong assignment, the three-year-old was tucked in early on before being brought wide to challenge.
It was hard work in the rain-softened ground, but Garswood responded to Moore and got up by a neck.
Caspar Netscher ran a fantastic race to finish runner-up.
Moore said: “He did well as I had to go round the whole lot. I got a bit of interference, and we were further back than we should have been. He’s quite a heavy horse and he’d appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. It’s not heavy, it’s good to soft.”
Winning trainer Fahey said: “We’ve always felt he was a very nice horse and he’s not at all the finished article yet. He’s a big boy and he’s growing up all the time. He will be in training next year and we haven’t really got stuck into him 100 per cent this year as there will be more to come.
“We’re hand-picking our way with him so far with that in mind but if we do have a Group One target for him this year, it’s the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp.”
Hannon had three horses in the Lennox but none made much impression - in contrast to his dominance in the first two contests.
The opening race, the bet365.com Stakes, went to one of Goodwood’s favourite combinations - Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes - as 16/1 shot Viewpoint won by a length from William Buick on Nabucco, who in turn took second place in a photo finish from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Labarinto.
Hannon said: “He didn’t like fast ground the other day at Ascot. You’ve got to drop him out and he has a good turn of foot. He’s by a good stallion (Exceed And Excel). I thought for a second he (Hughes) had got him a bit too far back, but obviously he was happy enough.”
Hannon was in business again in the next, the bet365 Molecomb Stakes, when Brown Sugar (8/1), ridden by Pat Dobbs, came home ahead of stable companion Anticipated, denying Hughes an early double. Ambiance was third for Mick Channon.
There’ll be plenty of punters eagerly checking the rest of Hannon’s runners over the rest of the festival after this good start - although his big Goodwood rival Mark Johnston was surprisingly out of luck on the opening day and will no doubt be eager to make up for that. Hannon, of course, has high hopes for Toronado in Wednesday’s first Group 1 race of the week, the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
Dobbs said of Brown Sugar’s win: “We went very quick for the first two furlongs and he didn’t actually come down the hill very well, but he came back on the bridle when he got on the level ground. I didn’t want to commit too soon as it’s a long way home for these two-year-olds. He’s a nice little horse.”
Meanwhile, Moore staked an early claim in the bid to be the week’s top jockey by completing a double on board 3/1 contender Brazos in the Casino at bet365 EBF Maiden Stakes for trainer Clive Brittain, bringing up the Sussex rider’s century on the Downs.
The bet365 Summer Stakes handicap went to Harris Tweed, who went off at 14/1 for George Baker and trainer William Haggas. It was the six-year-old’s first win in 16 months.
Buick had ridden two runners-up but went one better in the Poker at bet365 Stakes handicap with victory on board 7/1 joint favourite Ascription - providing trainer Hugo Palmer with his first Glorious Goodwood triumph.
The final honours of the day, in the Mobile at bet365 Stakes handicap, went to Tidal’s Bay, ridden by Raul da Silva for Tony Carroll.
There was drama at the start after Silvestre de Sousa’s mount Rusty Rocket sat down in the stalls and became stuck, causing a number of other runners to be moved out of the stalls and a delay of several minutes to the start.
Don’t miss the Chichester Observer on Thursday for news and pictures from the early part of the festival - and The News each day for the best of the action.