Goodwood Saturday

ED and Simon Crisford dominated the Group 2 Celebration Mile, run on good to soft ground at Goodwood on Saturday. Not only did the Crisford pair Jadoomi (Will Buick) and Finest Sound (Andrea Atzeni) finish first and second, but they occupied those positions from the drop of the flag in a race of unchanging fortunes.

Finest Sound led from the stalls, tracked by his stable companion, and with favourite Mutasaabeq failing to pick up after racing keenly, it was clear that the pair would have the finish to themselves at the two-furlong marker. Jadoomi – second choice with the bookmakers at 10/3 – challenged the leader at this point, but it took him until the last few strides to get the better of a rallying Finest Sound, winning by a hard-fought neck, with Escobar (David O’Meara/Jason Watson) a further two and a half lengths in arrears.

Jadoomi was a smart juvenile on testing ground, winning a big sales race at ParisLongchamp by seven lengths and starting favourite for the Group 1 Criterium International on his final start, but he then missed a year, appearing only once as a three-year-old. He’s shown himself better then ever this year, scoring at Clairefontaine on his return and improved on that again in what was admittedly an uncompetitive Group 2.

He’s clearly had his issues, but is very effective on testing ground, and ought to have a productive autumn, either on the domestic front or back in France.

Hoo Ya Mal marches on with straightforward win

IT was pleasing to see the Group 3 March Stakes run in memory of the late John Dunlop, although the race itself lacked depth and was won in workmanlike style by the 30/100 favourite Hoo Ya Mal (George Boughey/Will Buick), who was giving new owners Go Bloodstock their first winning return on the £1.2 million they paid for him after he was runner-up in the Derby at Epsom in June.

In truth, Hoo Ya Mal faced only one rival of any consequence, with Perfect Alibi (William Haggas/Cieren Fallon) doing his best to make things interesting from the front, and Fallon did make a bid for glory as he kicked off a soft pace with three furlongs to run.

If there were any butterflies for favourite backers at this point, they were only momentary, as the front runner failed to get Hoo Ya Mal off the bridle, and while he was hardly spectacular in striding away from the one-paced Perfect Alibi, the winner put two and a half lengths between himself and his nearest challenger at the line.

Victory in this one-and-three-quarter-mile contest puts Hoo Ya Mal in the picture for the St Leger, with the plan being to take in the oldest classic before he ships to Australia to continue his career with Gai Waterhouse.

“Stepping up in trip slightly defies his pedigree,” said George Boughey after this success. “William said he doesn’t feel like he’ll stay but he does. He had the class edge and was expected to win. I just wanted to see him relax and hit the line.

“The main reason for him staying in England for a few months longer was to get some experience, rather than going straight to the Melbourne Cup.”

Buick runs riot at Goodwood

IT was a weekend to remember at Goodwood for Will Buick, as he rode eight winners over the two days, with five of those coming on Saturday.

That streak started with a copybook front-running ride on 2/1 favourite Fairy Cross for Charlie Appleby in the Group 3 Prestige Fillies’ Stakes.

Buick set just a modest early pace on the daughter of Dubawi, and then picked up the pace from the quarter-mile point, his tactics enabling his mount to keep her rivals at arm’s length, and she had a length to spare over Breege (John Quinn/Jason Hart) at the line, with that filly in turn three-parts of a length ahead of the slow-starting Bright Diamond (Karl Burke/Clifford Lee).

The winner will face a much sterner test if going for the Fillies’ Mile next, and she very much had the run of things here under a canny ride. She’s bred to appreciate soft ground, however, with her dam Devonshire having won the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes over a mile on yielding turf, and she remains open to further improvement.

“Fairy Cross got a lovely ride from the front by Will who said she appreciated getting her toe in,” said assistant trainer Alex Merriam.

“The options now would be either to stay over seven furlongs or go up to a mile, but she showed a nice turn of foot, so Charlie might decide to keep to this trip.

“We haven’t run too many two-year-old fillies so far this year and I think she is our only winner, so at this stage she definitely stands out.”

Maximus gives rookie trainer Horton first listed race winner

Newmarket Saturday

JAMES Horton has enjoyed an encouraging first season with a licence, and Sir Michael Stoute’s former assistant landed a first listed success when the John and Jess Dance-owned Sam Maximus (P J McDonald) took the Hopeful Stakes in first-time cheekpieces.

The 14/1 shot was an excellent third in the July Stakes here last summer for Tom Dascombe and has been pitched in the deep end since making an encouraging start for his new handler at Newbury in May.

The drop in class certainly helped Sam Maximus, but he was especially well served by being able to grab the stands rail position, and that helped him come out on top in a bunch finish, beating Vadream (Charlie Fellowes/Harry Davies) by a head, with Great Ambassador (Ed Walker/Saffie Osborne) a neck back in third after drifting left when challenging inside the last.

That may have cost the third victory, while the jockeys on the placed horses were unable to utilise their respective claims.

Another Marvellous win in the Bullet

Beverley Saturday

TIS Marvellous broke the five-furlong track record when winning the Listed Beverley Bullet last year, and Clive Cox’s eight-year-old proved as good as ever to repeat the dose this time around.

Paul Hanagan again rode the 7/2 joint market leader, and while lacking the fireworks of 12 months ago, he showed typical tenacity to fend off the challenge of Arecibo (Robert Cowell/Kevin Stott) by a length and a quarter, with the pace-setting King Of Stars (Mick Appleby/Ali Rawlinson) holding on for third.

“We saved him for the race on Saturday because he’s quite high in the handicap now and his previous years have included top-end handicaps,” said the winning handler. “But with him being rated so highly, we saved him, and I’m delighted that it came off as hoped.”

McConnell rules

JOHN McConnell was busy at Cartmel’s late-August fixture, striking on Saturday with Hereditary Rule, who took the Peter Beaumont Memorial Novices’ Chase under 7lb claimer Jack Hogan, and Bella Bliss added to the trainer’s tally in a novice hurdle on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Irish team may be languishing at the foot of the Racing League, but there was something to cheer about on Thursday, as Dylan Browne McMonagle was seen to maximum effect as he drove That’s Just Dandy (Jessie Harrington) to a narrow win in the mile handicap.