TWO ofthe best-known jockeys in the busness took centre stage - and in some style - as Glorious Goodwood came to an end.
Richard Hughes chose the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival to retire after 27 years as a jockey and was showered with adulation and champagne as he did so - while Dettori, who’s been one for 28 years, had every bit as much attention on him as he landed the only big Glorious prize he has never won before, the Stewards’ Cup.
In bright sunshine, Hughes and Dettori enjoyed every minute of a scintillating end to the event, and so did the sell-out 25,000 crowd, who helped swell the week’s attendance to a record 103,754.
In total, Frankie Dettori won six races during the festival – and five of those he followed with one of his famous flying dismounts. See all five in our video, above
The public affection for ‘Hughesie’, especially at Goodwood, a track that extracted his finest qualities as a judge of pace and artist of balance, meant his final ride as a professional jockey was never going to be a dry affair.
After finishing fourth and pulling up on the Brian Meehan-trained gelding in the Qatar Handicap, Hughes was led back along the famous straight, past packed grandstands where the crowd clapped and applauded the champion jockey with gusto. He waved, blew a few kisses and looked a little embarrassed, a little sad perhaps, that he had been unable to reward his fans with a final winner.
Back along the rubber walkway from the course to the paddock the crowds were in no hurry to leave their positions, clapping enthusiastically, while three-year-old Fox Trotter jogged edgily, and looked slightly alarmed by the attention. Then into the paddock, which opened up like a red carpet, and professionals joined the clapping throng. There was a high-five from Richard Hannon Jnr, Hughes’s retaining trainer for the past two seasons, and, with a training career beckoning for the jockey, a loud, “Now your troubles begin!” from Mick Channon.
In a week dominated by Frankie Dettori would Hughes produce a flying dismount? No, as he reached the spot for the fourth horse, his skinny long legs dropped from the stirrups and he spun his right boot back over the saddle for a final time. There was a professional debrief with Meehan and Fox Trotter’s owners, and then he walked calmly back to weigh in for a final time, before returning into the sunlit winner’s enclosure and a traditional champagne soaking from jockey colleagues. He kissed his mum, Eileen, and his sister Sandra, gave a big hug to wife Lizzie and smiled at his children, Harvey and Phoebe, who were being chaperoned through the scrum of attention and eager press and photographers by his great friend and valet Dave Mustow.
Hughes said: “I wanted a winner, but it wasn’t to be. I’m overwhelmed by the whole thing - it’s been brilliant. When I pulled up [on Fox Trotter] I just felt ‘well this is it’. I enjoyed the ride and it all went to plan apart from failing to win, but I’m ready to retire and delighted to go out on such a high.”
Meanwhile racing’s greatest extrovert and finest ambassador, Dettori, won his first Qatar Stewards’ Cup thanks to 6/1 shot Magical Memory, and with it landed the Racing UK top jockey title for the festival.
His sixth winner of the week ensured he could not be caught for the award with three races still to be run, an emphatic victory that has typified Dettori’s superb 2015 season. The Newmarket-based Italian has now been top cat at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on five occasions, but his enthusiasm for victory is undiminished, and he gave the crowd a familiarly rapturous response to their cheers in the winner’s enclosure, leaping from Magical Memory’s saddle in trademark fashion.
Magical Memory, who is trained by Charlie Hills for a syndicate run by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, became a rare three-year-old winner of the famous sprint - the first since Danetime in 1997. He emerged from stall one, justifying Hills’ decision to take the lowest berth at the public draw on Thursday.
Hills said: “It is incredible and I feel a little bit speechless because I felt it was a really good line-up for the race, but Frankie gave him a most beautiful ride and put confidence into the horse. I was lucky enough to be able to keep him to ride the horse.”
Dettori said: “This Qatar Stewards’ Cup has been bugging me for 20 years and it is great to finally do it - I had a good partner with me today, a really good horse. He was very brave and that won the race for him - he had to go through a tight gap and won well in the end - and there’s more to come.
“What a week! It’s been phenomenal. To have six winners here is marvellous, and to be champion jockey as well . . . it’s fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed the crowds who have been very warm and we’ve been blessed by sunshine.”
Earlier Dettori rode trainer Marco Botti’s only runner at Goodwood this week – carrying 10/1 shot Golden Steps to victory in the opening Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap over six furlongs.
The four-year-old was eased up near the line by Dettori to beat Barnet Fair, the mount of Hughes, by a length and a half, with Go Far a neck further back in third.
“I am delighted,” said Botti, celebrating his first Qatar Goodwood Festival success. “He won well and Frankie gave him a great ride. He is one of those horses that travels well and you just need to hold onto him - Frankie waited for the split, came through and he was very impressive.”
“Frankie is amazing jockey, who has done so well this week. I am really pleased for him to ride a winner for me. You don’t have to give him any instruction, he knows what to do and he came over before the race to say that he already had a plan in mind. It worked out really well - he is a brilliant jockey to have in the right race.”
Dettori said: “Golden Steps has been unlucky a couple of times but everything went perfect,” said Dettori. “I had a good pace in front of me - you have to produce him late - and everything worked out to plan.”
Dartmouth was the ready winner of the Educate A Child Handicap in the colours of The Queen.
A three-year-old son Dubawi out of a Galileo mare, Dartmouth has the pedigree to progress into a black-type winner, but his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, was in no mood to state that would be a certainty. The Newmarket trainer has a fine record in this race, his first winner of it, 20 years ago, being Pilsudski, who went on to become a middle-distance champion in Europe and successful at America’s Breeders’ Cup and in Tokyo’s Japan Cup.
It transpired that Dartmouth was one that got away for retiring jockey Richard Hughes, who was asked to ride the colt by Sir Michael, but was committed to ride 10th Senrima for Brian Meehan’s stable. Olivier Peslier therefore took the booking, and steered his partner to victory, after having to push his way past rivals, by two lengths from top-weight Antiquarium, with Open The Red a head back in third.
Sir Michael said: “This colt is really progressing nicely and I was delighted with him today. At Ascot he was drawn wide and had to stay wide, and his last two victories have been impressive.”
Pattern races are on Folkswood’s agenda after he took the seven-furlong Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden in decisive fashion for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick.
The son of Exceed And Excel, who was a close third on his debut at Newmarket last month, had a length and a half in hand over Bernie’s Boy at the line, with three quarters of a length back to another Godolphin runner Very Talented in third.
“Folkswood ran a nice race first time out and has learnt plenty from that,” commented Appleby.
“The question mark now is where we go with him. Before this, I was considering the Acomb (York, 7f) but on that evidence he has a lot of natural pace.
“He is by Exceed And Excel and I wouldn’t want to be certain where we go next because there is a chance we will come back to six furlongs.
“A lot of my two-year-olds come on for the run and are often a lot more schooled up when they come back. This horse ran over seven and has obviously sharpened up for that. He showed a lot of speed around there today.”
Trainer Mark Johnston celebrated his third winner of the 2015 Qatar Goodwood Festival when Enlace extended her 100 per cent record at the course to three in the seven-furlong Qatar Handicap.
The daughter of Shamardal annexed course and distance handicaps in May and June this year, but had finished down the field in each of her last four outings at Haydock, Newmarket, Chester and Ascot.
Another Johnston runner Mambo Paradise was second, with Bow And Arrow half a length further back in third.
Johnston said: “I had Enlace declared at Newmarket but one of the yard managers said she can’t go to Newmarket if there’s a Goodwood option. She is a Goodwood specialist.”
Sir Bani Yas came with a withering run to land the first leg of the Doha Triple Crown, the Group One Qatar International Stakes over a mile, for trainer Elizabeth Bernard and jockey Jean-Bernard Eyquem.
The five-year-old won the 10-furlong Qatar Derby at Chantilly last year and his assured stamina came into play as he snatched victory from Prada T in the shadow of the post. 10/11 favourite Mister Ginoux, carrying the colours of Al Shaqab Racing, was third.
Alex Bishop, representing winning owner Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan, said: “Sir Bani Yas really finished inside the final furlong. The jockey asked him and he delivered.
“It was a bit nerve racking - my heart nearly imploded at one point - but we are really happy with the result.”
Ned Curtis’s loss was Ryan Clark’s gain as Balmoral Castle galloped to victory in the closing race at this year’s Goodwood Qatar Festival, the Qatar Apprentice Handicap.
Curtis, who is apprentice jockey at the Upper Lambourn yard run by Balmoral Castle’s trainer, Jonny Portman, broke his ankle, and so Clark came in for the ride - and gained his first winner at the festival meeting.
The winning jockey, who is 24, said: “I’m based with Brian Meehan, but go to Mr Portman’s on a weekly basis to ride out and it’s paid off. I’ve ridden winners at Goodwood before, but never at this meeting, and this one was important because I need just one more win to ride out my claim.”
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