Goodwood May Festival: Royal Ascot likely for Cocked Hat Stakes winner

Trainer John Gosden, jockey William Buick and owner Bjorn Nielsen teamed up for success in Goodwood’s Cocked Hat Stakes for the second year running.

The trio were all involved as Masked Marvel took the honours last year before going on to land the St Leger at the other end of the season.

This year the same trio teamed up to great effect again as the inexperienced Michelangelo took the Casco-sponsored £35,000 contest with a thrilling late charge.

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Buick looked to have left himself too much to do as he trailed Jimmy Fortune on Andrew Balding’s Expense Claim by several lengths as they came down the hill to the final straight.

But he timed his challenge perfectly to take it by three-quarters of a length.

It was a fittingly-thrilling showpiece for the second day of Goodwood’s sun-blessed May Festival, with another 5,000 crowd coming through the gates - on a day when FIVE of the seven horses tipped on the Chichester Observer website came in first.

Michaelangelo’s Owner Bjorn Nielsen was represented by bloodstock agent Charlie Gordon-Watson, who said: “I spoke to Bjorn in his office in Connecticut and he’s delighted.

“I don’t know what the trainer says but I know the owner is thinking that way (Royal Ascot). He’s a work in progress, this horse, and his future is ahead of him going into next year.

“The Derby was the original plan but time went against us and John ran in the race at Newmarket due to lack of opportunities.

“He’s out of a Darshaan mare, a classic mile and a half pedigree, and if they are by Galileo as well and show a bit of speed, they are on the right track.

“William (Buick) said had a fantastic attitude, everything went against him but he still won nicely.”

Earlier there was success for veteran Liphook trainer John Bridger as 18/1 Shifting Star took the Willis Lease Finance Corporation Handicap under Sean Levey.

Day two began as day one had - with Richard Hughes showing there’s no-one better at riding two-year-old novices on the Downs.

Tommy’s Secret, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, was his winner of the Goodwood Maiden Auction Stakes by just under three lengths - the 5/2 favourite.

There was a second market leader celebrating in the next as 7/2 shot Blanc de Chine was guided home by Jimmy Fortune in the TurfTV For Betting Shops Bonus Handicap.

The closest finish of the afternoon came in the IBA Handicap when Darren Edward Egan got the decision by a nose on board Chilli Green, with Buick, 35 minutes after his Cocked Hat triumph, edged into a second on Oneladyowner in a photo.

Former champion jockey Ryan Moore on Figaro, trained by William Haggas, led from the word go and stayed strong throughout to scoop the TurfTV Bonus Stakes Handicap.

The last, the Golf at Goodwood Fillies’ Stakes, went to Michael Hills on the Charlie Hills-trained Amber Silk (13/2), who came from the back two early on to win well.

The festival concludes tomorrow (Saturday) with a seven-race card beginning at 1.40pm.

We’ll have tips at on Saturday morning and a round-up from the day later.