Hollie Doyle stole the show on the first day of ‘Glorious Goodwood’ and in three nail-biting finishes at Yarmouth, hundreds of miles away east, Hayley Turner, Josephine Gordon and Laura Pearson thrilled a holiday crowd by registering dramatic victories; talk about ‘Ladies’ Day it was a reminder of colossal diversity in the ‘Sport Of Kings’ which continues to fascinate this old-timer.
It’s fifty years since I watched ‘point-to-point steeplechase racing at magnificent rural venues and always the ‘Ladies’ race’ seemed to be the most exciting, with girls going ‘lickety-split’ at those ubiquitous fences, little did I realise my ‘closing stages’ would embrace their headline domination of flat-racing. I love it.
During a golden spell of personal ownership in the 1990’s my colours were carried to victory by Emma O’Gorman (daughter of Bill!) who piloted serial-winner Elton Ledger to victory on Southwell fibresand after I’d given instructions of ‘wait as long as you dare, and win cleverly!’
That was in a five furlongs race when ‘Elton’ was produced by Emma in the last stride, for a head verdict!
During that never to-be-forgotten period Northern-based Alex Greaves was a ‘winning machine’ on horses trained by the mercurial David Barron whose angst was directed toward me when thwarted so many times in a frenetic environment but, we were setting precedents which have been carried right through since those incredible days.
Alex went on to win a group one race at York and the Lincoln Handicap; Hayley and Josephine both rode 100 runners earlier this century and you can bet Laura will match those feats this year, her balance and drive are incredible and testimony to the coaches who now guide young aspiring jockeys at three impressive riding schools in the United Kingdom.
Ex-jockey Michael Hills, who completed a career-total of more than 2000 winners, when I was handicapping for his legendary father, Barry, is in the charge at the Newmarket riding school; he taught Josie from day one and recently oversaw another of his proteges, Marco Ghiani, lose his apprentice allowance as he drives on relentlessly to the 2021 apprentice championship.
Four months ago Rachael Blackmore stunned the world by winning the Grand National, first woman to succeed in the Worlds’ greatest horse-race, following on from another Irish sensation, Nina Carberry, who could be mistaken for Lester Piggott when notching hundreds of winners, mainly owned by JP McManus.
No need to look back, horse-racing has a great future with ‘Les Girls’ set to make their marks, in all sports; what would we do without them?
Coincidentally, aptly-named Kingdom Girl, comes out ‘best-in’ for an eighteen-runner Maiden Fillies’ Stakes over seven furlongs of Goodwood this afternoon, mount of sensational ‘pocket-rocket’ Hollie!
Expect this Kingman filly to improve considerably on the back of an eye-catching fifth at Newmarket nineteen days ago under currently-injured Shane Kelly.
Selections, Nottingham, 2.35 General Sago (e.w); Goodwood, 2.25 Asymmetric; 4.45 Kingdom Girl (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019