Sun shines on Goodwood opener - but disturbance mars day

Trebles for jockey Harry Bentley and trainer Ralph Beckett were the highlight of the season opener at Goodwood - but the event was somewhat overshadowed by a disturbance that left six people needing medical treatment.

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 10:30 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:55 am
Summer Icon (yellow silks) goes toe to toe with Taurean Star (red cap) in the third race of the day / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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 too.

The pair's first success came in the first of two listed races, the Matchbook VIP/British EBF Daisy Warwick Fillies' Stakes for fillies and mares, taken by Isabel De Urbina, who Beckett said could return to Goodwood at the Glorious meeting for a crack at the Lillie Langtry Stakes.

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Beckett and Bentley were also victorious in the next, the Commission Free Racing At Matchbook Handicap, won by the day's biggest-priced winner Taurean Star (12/1).

Bentley also won the second division of the Better Odds With Matchbook "Confined" Novice Stakes with Henry Candy-trained Hidden Affair (11/2), while Beckett saw Louis Steward ride 6/1 contender Victory Chime first home in the Matchbook Casino Handicap.

The 2018 season opened with Chivers (9/2 fav) winning the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap under Joshua Bryan for trainer Daniel Steel, while Hampshire-based course specialist 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 last year's top Goodwood trainer Mark Johnston - though only after a lengthy stewards' inquiry.

Regarding the disturbance, which occurred around 4.30pm, a Goodwood 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 as a precaution. On-event medical staff treated six people and the racecourse is supporting Sussex Police with its ongoing enquiries.

“Goodwood racecourse wishes to apologise to any racegoer who was affected by this incident.”