Having been denied this traditional end-of-summer celebration last year in the pandemic, large crowds flocked to the racecourse to see top-class racing and much more. It kicked off on Friday with an evening of racing, including the Chichester Observer Handicap, followed by a superb DJ set by the legendary Carl Cox backed by a stunning laser light show that a sell-out crowd enjoyed. The Observer race was won by Just Hubert, a 5/2 victor for jockey Nicola Currie and trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick.
The big race of the weekend was Saturday’s Group 2 tote Celebration Mile in which Lavender’s Blue put in a career-best performance for a surprise victory to beat the favourite Benbatl. The only mare in the field was 20-1 but Pulborough-based Amanda Perrett’s five-year-old ran a fine race with Rob Hornby on board to win by a short-head from Saeed bin Suroor’s favourite. Lavender’s Blue’s owner-breeder is Benny Andersson, of Abba fame and Perrett said: “She’s really deserved that, because we’ve set her some stiff tasks the last few times. The fillies’ division is really strong this year, and that is why we weren’t too worried about taking on the opposite sex today. Her Group Two win has been long overdue, so I’m just really glad to get it done.
There were two other Group 3 races on Saturday.
Mise En Scene took the tote Prestige Stakes, providing trainer James Ferguson with the first Group-race success of his career thanks to champion jockey Oisin Murphy. Goodwood’s top modern-day trainer Mark Johnston won the tote March Stakes for the third year in succession when Dancing King (100/30) made all the running under Joe Fanning.
Sunday’s highlight was the Group 3 Weatherbys Hamilton Supreme Stakes, won by Ryan Moore on the Richard Fahey-trained Toro Strike (7/2). The whole weekend was well-attended and blessed by good weather as race-goers enjoyed the action on the track, free fun fair rides and jazz and rock’n’roll music around the racecourse. There’s more racing at Goodwood next Tuesday (Sept 7).