Sea change for Goodwood king Johnson

Sea change for Goodwood king Johnson

Mark Johnston's annual pilgrimage to Glorious Goodwood had started to become a disappointing one by his usual standards but Sea Lord came to the rescue in the totesport Mile today.

Crowned the top trainer at the meeting seven times already, Johnston had drawn a blank for the first two afternoons and had struck for the first time through Eastern Aria on Thursday.

Sea Lord, an admirable front-running individual, would not have remained in handicap company after four successes in the sphere this season already but for the £150,000 (€180,411) bounty on offer, and he is still declared for a Listed race on Saturday.

Sea Lord has had a variety of jockeys along the way and this time it was Royston Ffrench who helped the 6-1 shot to a three-quarter length defeat of the Royal Hunt Cup winner Invisible Man.

"Really this horse should be out of handicaps and we did look at the Listed race, but the lure of the prize-money persuaded us to go for this," said Middleham-based Johnston.

"You earn more in the big handicaps than you do in Group races.

"It's a big ask for him to run again tomorrow, but if he comes out of his particularly well, it's still a possibility. We've got a bit of thinking to do."

Saeed bin Suroor will scan races at the York Ebor meeting for Invisible Man.

Johnston has been usurped by Richard Hannon at this year's meeting and, just as he did at the Newmarket July Festival, the Wiltshire master completed a clean-sweep of the three juvenile Group races in the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes.

Libranno had been one of those on the mark in Cambridgeshire three weeks ago and the 5-4 favourite never looked likely to succumb to the challenge of The Paddyman as he followed hot on the heels of Zebedee and King Torus earlier in the week.

Pilot Richard Hughes said: "I was trying to get him to relax and get him breathing early on, as for nearly a minute I couldn't feel his belly going.

"He jumped extremely fast and I let him go to the front, but in the last two furlongs he was gawping at everything.

"I think he kills horses off halfway through the race with his speed and then just grinds it out at the finish."

Hannon added: "Strong Suit is still our best two-year-old, but this is a very good horse too.

"I don't really know what we're going to do with him now. It's up to the owner really, but he wouldn't want much further than six furlongs unless we can teach him to race in a different way."

Redwood (7-1) was rewarded for some valiant efforts in the Coutts Glorious Stakes.

Barry Hills' colt had finished a fair way behind the 5-4 favourite Duncan when they were both brushed off by Harbinger at Royal Ascot, but Redwood's latest second at Newmarket was more encouraging.

He swooped under the trainer's son Michael to steal the hot-looking Group Three from under the nose of Sri Putra.

"He was my 300th Newmarket winner and now my 50th at Glorious Goodwood," said Hills snr.

"He has always been a good horse but had some niggling problems last year.

"I'll have to discuss the plan with (owner) Prince Khalid Abdullah, but there are races like the Canadian International and a race in Turkey, and they are keen to run in America at some point.

"I'd only want him to travel once this season and I'd very much like him to stay in training next year as I think he's improving, but I don't know if that would be with me, or in America."

Dandy Nicholls' unofficial nickname of the 'Sprint King' was showcased as he provided the first two in the six-furlong Rolf Group Stewards' Sprint Handicap, with Joseph Henry (28-1) and Victoire De Lyphar split by just a head.

The winner was partnered by David Probert and Nicholls said: "I think it's the first time I've even spoken to David but if he's good enough to ride for Andrew Balding, he's good enough to ride for me.

"It's great for Joseph as he's so often been the bridesmaid and it's nice he's finally won one.

"I sort of inherited Victoire De Lyphar from Patrick Haslam. He's a very nice young horse and I think he could end up being one of the best I've had."

Jacqueline Quest, who was disqualified after finishing first past the post in the 1000 Guineas, was expected to play a leading role in the Oak Tree Stakes but after holding every chance, Henry Cecil's 15-8 favourite weakened into fifth.

In the end it was 16-1 shot Tropical Paradise, trained not too far up the road near Godalming by Peter Winkworth, who claimed the Group Three honours.

Winkworth's assistant Anton Pearson, said: "I thought Jacqueline Quest would be very hard to beat, but I couldn't believe her (Tropical Paradise) price.

"She can go to stud now, but we've one or two ideas left first. She's much better on soft ground."

Jockey Ian Mongan was given a two-day careless riding ban (August 13-14).

Cecil reflected: "She was very well in herself and I thought she'd pick up, but she didn't."

Hughes then notched his 100th for the season, effectively wrapped up the Goodwood top jockey title with his seventh and gave the crowd a winner for The Queen to cheer in one fell swoop aboard Royal Exchange (3-1 joint-favourite) in the RSA Nursery.

Hannon added: "It's great for Hughesie and for Her Majesty. This horse wants a mile really."

The Turf Club Handicap, over five furlongs, was taken in quite impressive style by Kevin Ryan's Perfect Blossom, who was making it five wins in a row.

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