Tom Marquand was the star of Goodwood

On no course in Britain does jockeyship count for more than at undulating, tricksy Goodwood and although Frankie Dettori was able, on his final appearance there, to treat the expectant crowd to a couple of flying dismounts after victories on Epictetus and Kinross, the week’s top rider was clearly Tom Marquand. One racing sage told me during the week, ‘Racing will desperately need another Frankie to engage the public’s attention’ – and when I proffered Tom and his wife Hollie Doyle as a twosome who could do so together, the rejoinder was: ‘Of course Tom’s got the ability but he’s just too nice.’ He meant that you simply couldn’t imagine

The £160,000 Maserati that’s the last of its kind

There were a couple of moments where this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed might’ve been a little dicey. Day three of the four-day extravaganza, on Saturday, was cancelled due to 50mph winds. That may not sound all that alarming, but the ‘central feature’ at the Festival of Speed amounted to nearly 100 tonnes of steel sculpture soaring eight storeys over Goodwood House – seat of the Duke of Richmond since the 17th century – with typically several thousand petrolheads picnicking below. It also included six valuable Porsches hovering just below the clouds, and with the public told to stay away there was still every chance His Grace might suffer a

Goodwood was glorious but it highlighted the range of problems facing the sport

Irish trainer John F. O’Neill owes the stalls handlers at Goodwood a good drink or two. In Ireland this season he has run just three horses – Tullyhogue Fort, Daily Pursuit and Pink Fire Lilly – in a total of 13 races at an average starting price of around 100-1. None has won. Last Saturday, Pink Fire Lilly, who had finished twelfth of 13 in an undistinguished race in Killarney on her previous outing, lined up with three others at the start of the Group Three William Hill March Stakes. The favourite Hoo Ya Mal had a Timeform rating of 131, the Queen’s horse Perfect Alibi was rated 114 and

This year, Glorious Goodwood had it all

‘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

Proper racing is back at last

At last proper racing is back. Through the long days of lockdown horses and jockeys have still given their all on the track. But racing is an emotive, instinctive sport which needs the oohs and aahs of sizeable involved and vocal crowds to impart its magic. With Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, followed by Glorious Goodwood, at last it felt again like the real thing. In 2020, when the great Enable won the King George VI for the third time, it was behind closed doors in heavy rain. When Derby winner Adayar this year walked into the parade ring with the arrogance of a finely tuned athlete,

Racing badly needs the full relaxation of restrictions

Humans are herd animals too. Jockeys, trainers, owners and those enjoying the few prized media attendance slots for racing behind closed doors have agreed that without the crowds it simply hasn’t been the same experience. TV coverage of racing is first class going on brilliant and has provided vital information and entertainment through lockdown, but we in the racing tribe need to be regularly on the course, rubbing shoulders with the like-minded: ‘Did you see what that one did last time at Newbury? Why isn’t X riding his regular stable’s two-year-old here?’ After my Goodwood member friend Derek Sinclair invited me to be his guest on the first Saturday on

In a jam: what Goodwood did with 900 punnets of strawberries

It was to have been, if not a glorious return, at least an encouraging one. On the Stewards’ Cup day which concluded Goodwood’s flagship meeting last Saturday, spectators — 5,000 of them — were to have been admitted to a British racecourse for the first time since lockdown. Course director Adam Waterworth and the Goodwood team had spent £100,000 preparing to keep the pilot scheme crowd not just happy but secure. Carefully socially distanced and out in the open air, the 5,000 would have been far safer than those crowding south coast beaches that same day or drinking at inner- city pubs the night before. But a last-minute change of