Saddler’s rocks for Oxx at Goodwood

John Oxx rectified one anomaly from a distinguished career when Saddler’s Rock delivered his trainer the Artemis Goodwood Cup.

As Galway always coincides with Goodwood week, it would be understandable for the Irishman to be pre-occupied with domestic affairs but this Group Two success was the first time he had ever made his mark on the Sussex course.

Although dependably rational win, lose or draw, Oxx had felt Saddler’s Rock had not given his true running in the Gold Cup and the lightly-raced stayer proved him correct as he toppled the Royal Ascot hero Colour Vision.

Only third that day but sent off the 2-1 favourite in receipt of 4lb from Godolphin’s grey, Saddler’s Rock and Johnny Murtagh had a far more agreeable passage as a decent pace was carved out by Chiberta King and Electrolyser.

Slowly but surely, Oxx’s colt hauled them back in the home straight and held on by a length from a fast-finishing Askar Tau, with Colour Vision hanging tough for third.

Oxx said: “I’ve only had about three runners here before and it’s a great old race with a lot of tradition and history, so we’re delighted to be here to win it with such a nice horse.

“Not just one thing went wrong at Ascot, three or four things went wrong. He clipped heels and that spooked him, and he pulled very hard. It’s very out of character as he’s a very relaxed horse.

“We feel that race was the one that got away, but today we rode him more prominently, there was a nice even pace and we took no chances.

“He’ll probably go for the Lonsdale Cup at York next and then we’ll see about the Doncaster Cup again. The Prix du Cadran will be ideal for him, and there’s also the stayers’ race at Ascot.”

The rest of the card saw a continuation of the status quo established this week, with Mark Johnston and Henry Cecil securing more valuable prizes.

Johnston denied Richard Hannon his fifth successive victory in the Audi Richmond Stakes as Heavy Metal (9-1) escaped the clutches of Master Of War by half a length

Johnston said: “He was going so well at halfway that I thought I’d got the trip wrong again, because he did just that at Newmarket and didn’t get home.

“It looks like six furlongs is his right trip. I think he was just one of my horses that wasn’t right a few weeks ago.

“The Gimcrack at York has got to be a possibility, but I’ll look at the entries and I think he’s in the Prix Morny as well.”

Hannon will also point the runner-up towards the Gimcrack.

Cecil and Tom Queally both notched up their fourth Group winner of the week with Wild Coco (6-1) in the Ishares Fillies’ Stakes.

Disappointing when a hot favourite for the same event 12 months ago and also well held on her only subsequent start at York last August, she got first run on Jehannedarc and beat her by two and three-quarter lengths.

Jeremy Noseda’s Grandeur (8-1) gained another course victory as he carried top-weight under an astute William Buick in the Betfred The Bonus King Stakes.

Noseda said: “He was a little bit unlucky to get beaten Epsom on Derby and we went to Royal Ascot thinking he had a big chance, but he’s a horse who wants very quick ground and conditions didn’t suit.

“Personally, he’d be a horse I’d love to take to America to run on the turf.”

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