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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

The best and worst of the weekend's racing

Could be anything: Amedeo Modigliani waltzes clear at Galway
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Performance of the weekend

Oscar here goes to Brando, who travelled like a class act in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday before motoring clear for a decisive victory - his first at the top level.

Last year's Ayr Gold Cup winner looked a sprinter to play a part in Group 1s this term after finishing third in the British Champions Sprint and delivering a classy success in the Abernant back in April, but he then broke a blood vessel when stuffed in the Duke of York.

His third in the July Cup was a step in the right direction and his Maurce de Gheest win will have been sweet for trainer Kevin Ryan, who had to shut his yard down for a spell this summer after an outbreak of equine herpes at his base.

Disappointment of the weekend

Sticking with the Maurice de Gheest and it has to be Caravaggio, who lost his unbeaten run in the July Cup and failed to sparkle again.

The fastest horse Aidan O'Brien has trained - his words - looked far from that following a one-paced sixth and, perhaps worryingly, was again slowly away as he had been in the July Cup.

The son of Scat Daddy, seemingly the stallion solution for Coolmore's classy Galileo mares, has certainly lost some of his lustre and memories of his towering six-race winning streak may be beginning to fade, but he is in the right hands and it could be a step up in trip is all that is needed.

Moment of the weekend

A big-race Saturday strike for Frankie Dettori is not exactly headline stuff for the rider who has been there, done it, bought the T-shirt and then performed a flying dismount, but it was not hard to escape his joy following the victory of Lancelot Du Lac in the Stewards' Cup, the result once again showing trainer Dean Ivory's prowess with sprinters.

Ivory has endured a handful of near misses in the big races, but he rightly revelled in the victory of one his stable stars here.

Picture of the weekend

Frankie Dettori treats Goodwood to a trademark flying dismount after his Stewards' Cup win on Lancelot Du Lac

Ride of the weekend

The main prize on the penultimate day of Galway 2017 was a €100,000 2m7f handicap hurdle, which went the way of Ballyegan Hero, who provided Rachael Blackmore with another important success, although she certainly earned her riding fee.

The 16-1 winner was prominent and got involved two out before responding to his rider's efforts for a nose verdict.

"I thought he was beaten and I couldn't believe it when they called him out," said trainer John Joe Walsh. "Rachael gave him a cracking ride - I thought he was beaten."

Farewell of the weekend

Seamus Buckley might not be saying goodbye to Goodwood just yet, but he officiated as clerk of the course for his final Glorious meeting after 23 years at the helm.

He was given a round of applause from riders as the last race approached on Saturday and will sign off at the end of the season as one of his trade's most respected operators.

"Goodwood have been very loyal and given me a wonderful life. I want to go out on a high," said Buckley, who will be replaced by Ed Arkell.

Quote of the weekend

"It's not just a big handicap, at the end of the day it's the Stewards' Cup."

A delighted Dean Ivory after Lancelot Du Lac's victory.

The could be anything of the weekend

A son of Galileo, owned by the Coolmore partners, racing in the Sue Magnier navy, trained by Aidan O'Brien, named after a historical figure who improves from a respectable debut to bolt up next time out?

Sounds about right, so expect to be hearing plenty more about Amedeo Modigliani, the juvenile - not the Italian painter and sculptor - who ran away with Galway's maiden on Saturday, a race his Irish Derby-winning stablemate Capri landed last year.

He was expected to do that - went off 2-9 - and rider Seamie Heffernan did indeed use that racing cliche when saying: "He could be anything."

It's not just a big handicap, at the end of the day it's the Stewards' Cup
E.W. Terms
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