Horse Racing with Jason Hall – Goodwood has Olympic week

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THE Glorious Goodwood Festival may have been playing second fiddle to the Olympic Games on this year’s sporting calendar.

But as ever it has produced some sparkling moments of equine quality and provided some enthralling spectacles for the large crowds gathered on the Sussex Downs to enjoy.

The performance of the world’s greatest racehorse, Frankel, to win the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday was as imperious as ever and further cemented his place within racing’s hall of fame.

Without doubt this four-year-old equine king has written a script across the course of this season and last that will ensure his name is not forgotten with the passing of the years.

Although the quality will not match that of Frankel, the Stewards Cup is the feature handicap of the whole Festival.

And with a maximum field of top flight sprint handicappers thundering down one of the fastest sprint tracks in the country, it will as ever provide an exciting spectacle tomorrow afternoon.

As one of the biggest betting races across the course of the whole flat racing season, it will come as no surprise that finding the winner is as tough a proposition for punters to solve as there will be during the campaign.

To the point of writing there does not appear to be any considerable draw bias to aid the task, although personally I feel a stands side pitch is never a bad thing.

If the weather were to worsen and soft ground conditions prevailed, I would be keen on the chance of a potential northern raider.

Fast Shot comes from the Yorkshire yard of the Easterby clan which is currently headed up by Tim, son of the legendary dual purpose trainer Peter, whose name is etched forever into racing’s history after his handling of such iconic horses as Sea Pigeon and Night Nurse.

The stable have been in cracking form for some time and if the ground comes in his favour and he makes the final declarations, Fast Shot is the type of progressive handicapper to make an impact in this kind of hell for leather dash.

Elsewhere, the Lewes trainer Jim Best is principally focusing on getting all the basic ground work done at his yard so that his long term ambitions to make a splash when the jumping season swings into gear later this year are fulfilled.

He has been keeping his hand in with a few runners on the track – and last week he fired in a couple of winners to boost the confidence of all at his old Lewes racecourse base.

Goodwood Starlight recorded a decisive win back over hurdles for the first time in recent months and the positive experience may help the horse’s confidence and enable him to recapture at least some of his old form.

If that were to prove the case he would be a horse to keep on the right side in moderate handicaps in the short term.

Wayward Glance was another winner for Jim and it was pleasing to see this young horse at last start to realise some of the potential that his trainer has always maintained was within him.