LUCA CUMANI’S Lady of Dubai staked her claim for the Oaks by winning Goodwood’s Bibendium Height of Fashion Stakes in fine style.
The three-year-old filly had plenty to spare as she crossed the line with Adam Kirby on board – and some bookies immediately cut her odds for the big race at Epsom in a fortnight from 40/1 to around 12/1.
The field included two other fillies with entries in the Oaks – Jellicle Ball, who didn’t look at her best although did still come in third for owner Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber and trainer John Gosden, and Arethusa, who was disappointing in a sixth-place finish.
The winning trainer Cumani told Racing UK: “She won well and it was pleasing to see her go and do that. I don’t know about the Oaks, I’ll need to talk to the owner and see how she comes out of the race.”
The race was the centrepiece of an excellent opening day to Goodwood’s three-day May Festival, which was blessed with warm sunshine, a big crowd and some thrilling contests.
Eve Johnson Houghton was the first trainer in the winner’s enclosure as In Haste took the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes under in-form Ryan Moore after going off 7/2 joint favourite.
It took a photo to separate the winner from Noble Peace and Johnson Houghton said: “It helps when you have the best jockey. I thought we’d been done on the line. Ryan thought he had.”
A second Goodwood of victory of the season for George Baker’s four-year-old Fiftyshaddesofgrey (11/4 fav) came in the winnerevents.com Stakes, and the horse now looks destined to head for Royal Ascot in June.
Pat Cosgrave gave him a beautifully-timed ride as he came through the pack to land the seven-furlong contest - a win forecast in our tips on this website on the morning of racing.
One of Goodwood’s most famous faces from over the years, former England striker Mick Channon, was all smiles as 17-year-old jockey Paddy Pilley enjoyed his first Goodwood win, on Channon’s 6/1 chance Fitzwilly in the Construction Day Stakes.
The Wright Joinery Company Stakes went to form with the two 11/4 market leaders enjoying a great tussle all the way to the line. The honours went to Mark Johnston’s Resonant, ridden by veteran Franny Norton, who held off Moore on Darshini.
Frederik Tylicki claimed the Breeders Backing Racing EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes on 9/4 favourite Speedy Boarding, trained by James Fanshawe, and the day closed with the Chandlers Building Supplies Apprentice Stakes going to Edward Greatrex on Lead A Merry Dance, the 6/4 favourite sent to post by Sylvester Kirk.
All in all, then, a good day for the favourites – a guide, perhaps, to where to pin your hopes for the remaining two days of the festival.
Friday’s highlight is the Casco EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes for Derby hopefuls, which has a field of seven.
See this website for Friday tips and then a report and video after racing.
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