A beautiful summer’s evening was the perfect backdrop to the start of Goodwood’s long weekend of racing and family fun.
Thousands flocked to the Downs to see a six-race card and holiday entertainment including a spectacular fireworks display.
The weather could not have been better and officials will be hoping that continues on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, when thousands more will watch the action and lap up the accompanying entertainment.
On the track, there was more Goodwood success for trainer Michael Bell - still basking in the glow of Big Orange’s second successive Goodwood Cup win a month ago - as Clear Evidence (5/4 fav) won the Butlin’s Stakes with James Doyle on board.
That was one of two races won by the favourite. Another in the same vein was the Chichester Observer Maiden Stakes, taken by Rab Havlin on Khalidi (6/5 fav) for trainer John Gosden.
The evening, and in fact the whole festival, began with Quite A Story taking the Nyetimber Apprentice Handicap at 6/1 under Charlie Bennett for Patrick Chamings.
The 2015 champion apprentice jockey and 2016 Goodwood ambassador Tom Marquand gave trainer Richard Hannon another Downs success by riding Procurator (3/1) to victory in the Doom Bar Nursery Handicap.
Jockey Ted Durcan and trainer Sir Michael Stoute took the Breeders Backing Racing EBF Fillies’ Stakes with 15/8 chance Rostova in a photo finish, edging out Laugh Aloud and Doyle.
The evening’s racing ended with a well-timed surge to victory by Franny Norton on Little Miss Kodi (4/1) for trainer Daniel Loughnane in the Ultimate Driving Stakes.
Throughout the meeting the crowd enjoyed live music and other sideshows as the racecourse was transformed into a seaside resort from days gone by - with everything from deck chairs to beach huts and ice cream kiosks.
The fireworks that ended the night were every bit as stunning - if not even more so - as those seen for the past two years at this fixture and all in all it was the perfect opening to what ought to be a memorable weekend.
Saturday’s highlight is the Celebration Mile but there are two other group races and some competitive handicaps across both remaining days.
Our tips for Saturday: 2.10 Bella Alissa, 2.45 Rich Legacy, 3.20 Mister Universe, 3.55 Platitude, 4.30 Toormore, 5.05 Dawn Mirage, 5.40 Kismet Hardy.
Tips for Sunday: 2.05 Carducci, 2.35 Gabster, 3.10 In The Red, 3.45 Pink Ribbon, 4.20 So Beloved, 4.55 Myopic, 5.30 Kiringa.
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