‘You’re being unfaithful,’ says the punter’s wife brandishing a note found in her husband’s suit pocket: ‘Dorothea 07440 521321.’ ‘No, no, darling that’s a horse I plan to back next week with its form figures.’ Marital harmony is restored. Three weeks later he arrives home to find his wife on the doorstep with suitcase packed and taxi waiting. ‘What’s all this?’ ‘You left your mobile in the hall. Your horse called.’
If that glorious old stayer Stradivarius could talk it would surely be in the dignified tones of his trainer, John Gosden, who pointed out after his hero’s narrow defeat in the Goodwood Cup by Kyprios that because of how the race panned out Stradivarius was alone by the rail rather than upsides the winner in the centre.
‘We were racing on our own – we had nothing to race with. Stradivarius is a wise old owl now and he knows when he gets to the front he has done his bit.’
The good news is that Stradivarius, an eight-year-old entirely entitled to be turning his thoughts more to pleasures yet to come at stud showed enough enjoyment still in racing to be given at least one more racecourse appearance. And how graceful it was of Frankie Dettori, replaced as his jockey by Andrea Atzeni, to come out publicly and wish the pair well. You have to feel a little sorry though for the victor, Kyprios, who added the Goodwood Cup to his Gold Cup at Ascot: he keeps winning races from losers who for understandable reasons get more attention than he does.
This year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival had it all.