Goodwood opener blighted by brawl
Trebles for jockey Harry Bentley and trainer Ralph Beckett were the highlight of the season opener at Goodwood on Saturday.
But the meeting was somewhat overshadowed by a disturbance that left six people needing medical treatment.
The brawl occurred on a grass area behind the Gordon Enclosure stands and police were called – although no arrests were made.
On the track, it was a tremendous start to the Goodwood season for Beckett and former racecourse ambassador Bentley, who teamed up for two wins and each had another.
The pair’s first success came in the first of two Listed races, the Matchbook VIP/British EBF Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes taken by Isabel De Urbina.
Beckett revealed the three-year-old daughter of Lope De Vega could return to Goodwood at the Glorious meeting for a crack at the Lillie Langtry Stakes.
Beckett and Bentley were also victorious in the next, the Commission Free Racing At Matchbook Handicap, took by the day’s biggest-priced winner Taurean Star (12/1).
Bentley also clinched the second division of the Better Odds With Matchbook “Confined” Novice Stakes on board the Henry Candy’s Hidden Affair (11/2), while Louis Steward rode 6/1 shot Victory Chime home in the Matchbook Casino Handicap for Beckett.
The 2018 season opened with Chivers (9/2 fav) winning the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap under Joshua Bryan for trainer Daniel Steel, while Pettochside (7/1) took the Matchbook Betting Podcast Handicap for this year’s Goodwood ambassador Hollie Doyle and Liphook trainer John Bridger.
The fixture’s second Listed contest, the Matchbook Is Commission Free Conqueror Fillies’ Stakes, went to the favourite Nyaleti, the 11/4 favourite, ridden by Joe Fanning for Mark Johnston – Goodwood’s leading training last year.
Regarding the disturbance, which occurred around 4.30pm, a spokesman said: ‘Goodwood racecourse was informed of a disturbance during this afternoon’s racing. The incident was dealt with by on-event security and Sussex Police were notified.’
– STEVE BONE