THERE aren’t too many contests at Glorious Goodwood that have eluded Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes - but the Betfred Mile was one of them. It was - until now.
The pair’s stunning festival continued when Wentworth took the £130,000 heritage handicap, one of the highlights of the fourth day of Glorious.
It was Hannon’s seventh win of another memorable week on the Downs - and Hughes’ sixth. Their rivals to be top trainer and jockey for the week and the season might as well have packed up and gone home.
Wentworth, who was 6/1 joint second favourite, is owned by Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor and is the three-year-old son of Acclamation.
Hannon said of Wentworth: “He’s been a little unlucky on occasions, and I thought he was very unlucky at Royal Ascot (when fourth of 27 in the Britannia Handicap). We wanted a three-year-old handicap for him there, rather than for three and upwards, but I believe he’s Listed class and could go better.
“Hughesie thinks he’ll get a mile and a quarter in time and I reckon he could be a money-spinner next year if we can keep him in training.
“The big danger was Henry Candy’s horse (runner-up Cape Peron), but the ground probably didn’t quite come right for him, whereas this fellow goes on anything. I said to Henry they are probably two Group horses masquerading as handicappers.”
There were lovely scenes in the winner’s enclosure as Hannon was handed a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for his feat - achieved earlier in the afternoon - of reaching 250 winners, 43 years after getting his handler’s licence. Hughes - who is Hannon’s son-in-law - and Hughes’ son Harvey joined in the fun (see the footage at the top of this article).
Hannon added: “I wouldn’t want to start at one again! It’s taken a lot of years.”
Hughes said of Wentworth: “He deserved that. I went to the Britannia thinking he had a stone in hand, but he never travelled in the race. Last year on soft ground he travelled like a dream.
“We felt he was a better stronger horse this year, but once we jumped off in the Britannia I was never going. He was 15 to 20 lengths off the pace and it was only when I really got after him he took off. At Sandown I bullied him into it from a bad draw, and today I got him into it coming up the hill where I got a good position and from there he travelled, but that little bit of juice in the ground just helped.”
The Betfred Mile success was the Hannon-Hughes team’s second success in two races as another massive crowd made the most of afternoon sunshine that had not looked likely on a damp, misty morning on the Downs.
Hannon notched that 250th Goodwood winner - and 70th Glorious win - when Hughes rode 5/6 favourite Montiridge to victory in the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes, beating Godolphin’s Tahwid, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, by a length and a quarter with another of his perfectly-timed charges to the head of the field.
Hannon’s son and assistant Richard said: “He’ll be a proper Group One horse. He’s just getting better and better. He’s starting to relax now, so it’s all coming easier to him. Last year and at the beginning of this year he was keen and pulled a lot, but he’s growing up and settling with racing.
“He’s getting a bit of a racing brain on him now and he’ll stay in training next year. I think he’ll be up to races like the Prix du Moulin and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.”
It was Godolphin’s second straight second place after they also lost out in the first, the Coutts Glorious Stakes, when Lost In The Moment and de Sousa were beaten by half a length by Johnny Murtagh on Nicky Henderson’s Forgotten Voice, who was the 3/1 second favourite.
Forgotten Voice’s owner Paul Roy was delighted to see him add to his Grade Two win over hurdles earlier in the year.
He said: “He’s a fairytale, an absolute fairytale. He ran here in 2009 in the Sussex, came fourth to Rip Van Winkle, went to Dubai and ran in the World Cup and then got injured. We took him home for two years and brought him back.
“Nicky started jumping a few hurdles and a year ago he was at Market Rasen.”
Murtagh said: “I think going hurdling freshened and sweetened him up. He’s very relaxed and cruised through today’s race. He’s improved since Ascot and it’s a pleasure to ride him.
“I thought that a mile and a half might be hard going today against a lot of horses that stay well but he settled great. He is a good horse and probably as good now as ever. He jumped well and I following Mickael Barzalona (on Masterstroke) and got a lovely tow into the race. I looked up and saw the four-furlong marker and told myself to relax. He won quite well.
“The ground is beautiful today - it’s really good ground. The rain has probably helped it a little bit and I have no complaints.”
The day’s Group 2 race - the Betfred King George Stakes - went to Moviesta, a 5-1 chance part-owned by ex-Pompey manager Harry Redknapp.
Early on, Paul Mulrennan was happy to sit in the pack on the Bryan Smart-trained winner. But as the race hotted up a quarter of a mile out, there was a shortage of room up front as plenty of challengers emerged. Moviesta kicked clear and despite not steering a totally straight course, he prevailed by a length and a half with Swiss Spirit second under William Buick and Justineo clinging on for third.
Mulrennan said: “He’s improving all the time, fair play to Bryan and all the staff, they’ve done a good job with him. He’s been unlucky the last twice and he’s deserved to win a couple of pots.
“He was like a missile the other morning when I worked him, he’s very good and improving all the time so hopefuly he will be a Group One horse.”
Smart said: “We always knew he was really good. But he would pull, just wouldn’t settle. Today was the first time that I’d seen him off the bridle in the early stages and that was just what was needed.
“In the past we’d get him to the races but the peg kept falling out. But we knew just how quick he is. Last year we ended up taking him to Wolverhampton to get his maiden win, and he broke the two-year-old track record there.
“Paul rode him in work at home on Tuesday and got off and said ‘this is an absolute missile’ and you don’t hear jockeys say that too often. He was in such good form today, kicking and bucking when we were saddling him.”
There was a surprise in the Golf At Goodwood Nursery Stakes as Andrea Atzeni guided home the 25/1 chance Flying Bear, trained by Australian Jeremy Gask, half a length ahead of Paul Hanaghan on Tanseeb.
Jockey Richard Kingscote followed up his Artemis Goodwood Cup win 24 hours earlier with another Group triumph, this time taking the Group 3 Betfred TV Oak Tree Stakes on Annecdote (14/1). He had to give it his all to hold off Franny Norton on the 2/1 favourite Winning Express.
The last, the Betfred Mobile Lotto Stakes handicap, went to Retirement Plan, the 4/1 second favourite, giving Lady Cecil and Tom Queally their second success of the festival.
We’ll have live updates on day five on this website from 1.30pm on Saturday.