The best laid plans rarely come to fruition. Yesterday our dreams of having two winners on the same day, at the same meeting, were soon quashed when our two-year-old fell out of the stalls.
Trainer Ralph Beckett had schooled Goodwood Rebel twice recently through the starting stalls; once he bounced out well, but the second time his head was down and he hesitated. The trainer hoped that he would have learnt enough from his schooling, but clearly he had not. The trouble with missing the break as a debutant, is that you have no company in racing; without experience it is important to have a soul mate to race alongside you and ‘carry’ you forward; no jockey can do this alone, it is the herd instinct in a horse that gives them the confidence to go forward without the experience. Once off the bridle and being driven along, our colt was confused by the event, for at home he works strongly alongside a work partner, but this was different, he was alone. The blessing from his 5th place was that he ran on right through the line gaining momentum with every stride. He was the last to pull up and his jockey remarked on this. Our colt will have learnt a lot yesterday and I think we can look forward to better times ahead. He is fine this morning.
Goodwood Sonnet was sent off the warm favourite in the William Hill Extra Places Every Day Handicap Stakes over 10 furlongs. Drawn from stall 14, jockey Harry Bentley rode to orders and quickly tacked across to be at the head of affairs; it was unfortunate that Grandad’s Legacy raced too keenly alongside him before taking it up, and interesting that both ended up well down the field. More significant was that whilst our boy strode out well on the climb, when he reached the top of the hill where the course falls, he disliked the fast ground and began to change his lead frequently; a sure sign of being uncomfortable on the quick surface. Where the course levelled off, he momentarily looked as if he might challenge when he met with interference causing his rider to snatch him up and stand up in his irons. Harry possibly over exaggerated the interference, which cost us further ground. We will certainly look to run him on easier ground next time. I’m afraid he is a bit sore this morning; we don’t believe it is serious, but he will have 4 or 5 days on the horsewalker only.
Your May newsletter will be drafted today, together with details of the visit to Ralph Beckett’s Kimpton Down Stables. More importantly, the new season gets under way at Goodwood tomorrow (Sat, 4th May) where GROG Members will have use of Sussex Box 6. We very much hope to see you racing!
The line will be updated again on Thursday, 9th May with a full report on both horses.