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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Frankie's back, Galway sets a punting puzzle and the fillies star at Goodwood

Racegoers enjoy the racing and sunshine from Trundle Hill on Wednesday
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The thermometer is forecast to reach 25C at Goodwood on Thursday and the action is suitably warm, with the Qatar Nassau Stakes, the third and final Group 1 of the meeting, the highlight.

A £600,000 purse for a race won by the likes of Ouija Board, The Fugue and Minding has attracted only six runners, but that will not make finding the winner easy in an open contest.    

William Haggas has been in a rich vein of form this season and he relies on Pretty Polly winner Urban Fox to give him a first win in the race.

But Lockinge winner Rhododendron, Oaks runner-up Wild Illusion, Coronation Stakes third Veracious – the mount of the returning Frankie Dettori – and 1,000 Guineas scorer Billesdon Brook promise to have something to say about that.

Watch Billesdon Brook win the 1,000 Guineas

The Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes for two-year-olds and Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes, also a Group 2, are the other sparklers among seven races at Goodwood which jostles for attention with the fourth day of fun from Galway.

After three evening meetings at Ballybrit it’s an afternoon start on Thursday, where the Guinness Galway Hurdle is the big puzzle for punters to solve.

Frankie's back

After serving a six-day ban for careless riding that forced him to miss the first two days of Glorious Goodwood, Frankie Dettori returns with four rides on Thursday.

Dettori tops the leaderboard of current jockeys for Glorious Goodwood winners with 67 and his best chance of adding to that could be on board Veracious in the Nassau Stakes.

His first ride back is on Precious Ramotswe in the Lillie Langtry, before he partners Neverland Rock in the Richmond Stakes and Mehdaayih in the maiden fillies’ stakes.

A total of 196 winners at the track in 31 years is evidence of Dettori’s expertise, but weighing-room colleague William Buick is equally skilful navigating Goodwood’s cambers.

A tenner stakes on all 112 of his mounts at the course over the last five years would have yielded 26 winners and a £665 profit.

Egan hoping professional approach pays off

Champion apprentice David Egan was officially enrolled as a fully fledged professional on Tuesday and his boss Roger Varian hands him a golden opportunity to register the biggest success of his career in the Group 2 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes on Thursday.  

A second apprentice title was within Egan’s grasp, but he instead decided to turn his attention to quality rather than the quantity needed to be champion apprentice again, and the chance to ride Cheveley Park’s improving three-year-old Pilaster against the likes of Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and William Buick is exactly the opportunity the 18-year-old was looking for.

“I don’t think she’ll have a problem with the step up in trip but at the same time I think she’ll show a good turn of foot at the end,” said Egan. “These are the rides you want to get and I’m just very grateful to Mr Varian and Cheveley Park for keeping me on her.”

Pilaster is the least experienced in the Lillie Langtry field, her two wins coming at novice level on the all-weather, but the latest of those wins, under a penalty at Kempton, was by a wide margin and the daughter of Nathaniel looks an exciting prospect.

“I’ve ridden her twice this year and she won very impressively at Kempton,” said Egan. “The filly that finished second to me has since come out and won a nice race so the form has worked out well, and she should have a nice chance getting weight off God Given.”

Egan also has rides on Bathsheba Bay, Hieronymus and Iconic Knight to look forward to on what could be a breakthrough afternoon.

Big spender takes aim

He might be the seventh richest man in Thailand and the owner of Leicester City, but Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha appears to have fallen for the unique charm of Goodwood, and his blue and white silks are dotted across Thursday’s racecard with live chances.

Not afraid to put his considerable wealth where his mouth is, Srivaddhanaprabha paid £375,000 for Nottingham maiden winner Shine So Bright on the eve of Royal Ascot and, after a promising fifth in the Coventry Stakes, the Oasis Dream colt makes his debut for Andrew Balding in the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes.

Srivaddhanaprabha is two-handed in the 7f nursery, with Ryan Moore booked for No More Regrets and apprentice Thore Hammer Hansen aboard Richard Hannon-trained stablemate Chonburi.

Completing the King Power Racing assault on Thursday’s card is 550,000gns Kingman filly Rux Power, who makes her second start in the 7f fillies’ maiden with a first prize of £15,753.  

Magnolia riders hoping to bloom for charity

They may not be professional jockeys and some of them may not have even sat on a horse until a few months ago but charity is the name of the game as 12 female riders take up the daunting challenge of riding at Goodwood in the Magnolia Cup on Thursday.

This year run in support of Cancer Research UK, the event has become a regular fixture over the past seven years on the third day of Goodwood, with leading women from business, sport, fashion, medicine and media this year taking part in the opening race of ladies' day over five and a half furlongs.

Those competing include Dr Amanda Cross, cancer researcher at Imperial College London and Camilla Hickish, a trainee doctor who has twice overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma having been first diagnosed with the rare form of cancer at 15.

Each rider will wear a unique set of silks crafted by fashion designer and women's rights campaigner Morvarid Sahafi, whose designs each “celebrate a woman in history, who lived to fight for women's rights”.

The Magnolia Cup has raised more than £1.2 million to date for different charities, with previous winners including supermodel Edie Campbell and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owner Dido Harding.

On the rise again

Back in the 1980s the Extel Handicap was the feature race on the Friday of Glorious Goodwood, a standout contest for unexposed middle-distance three-year-olds.

Luca Cumani won it three years in a row with Free Guest, Fish ‘N’ Chips and Chinoiserie, while Broken Hearted, the 1987 victor, landed the Lockinge the following spring.

It was later renamed the Spitfire Stakes, when the winning rider got a free flight in the legendary Battle of Britain plane.

The status of the race has taken something of a nosedive since but a hike in prize-money this year to £75,000 may be the start of an ascent for a contest now going under the banner of the Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap and the opening race on Thursday.

Clive Cox has never won the race but has a good chance of remedying that with Al Jellaby, whose second at Doncaster last time suggests he will like trying ten furlongs for the first time.

The trainer said: “Al Jellaby ran well at Doncaster on ground a tad too lively for him and I'm looking forward to stepping him up in trip. He's always been a promising individual and hopefully he'll relish it.”

Veteran Cairdiuil back for more

It might be hard to make a case for his prospects from 19lb out of the handicap, but there is something deeply satisfying about Cairdiuil tackling the Rockshore Handicap at Galway.

Trained locally by Iggy Madden, the 12-year-old is making his 17th appearance at the track and his tenth at the festival. He finished last of 14 on his first run at Galway in a 2010 maiden hurdle but has since won there twice, latterly at the 2014 festival, and been second in five of his last seven Ballybrit forays.

An unlikely triumph under apprentice Killian Leonard could lift the roof off the fancy new Wilson Lynch pavilion.

Read The Briefing from 8.30am daily on with all the day's latest going, weather, market moves and non-runner news


After three evening meetings at Ballybrit it’s an afternoon start on Thursday where the Galway Hurdle is the big puzzle for punters to solve

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