Professionally, this has been a difficult year for the young trainer, with his Breeders’ Cup star Chriselliam having to be put down and several of his other big names failing to reach their potential, while the smart Strath Burn was one of the horses to test positive for morphine in the recent contaminated food case.
So speedy was Cotai Glory (3-1) on his return to five furlongs that he broke the two-year-old track record by resisting the challenges of Fast Act and Richard Hannon’s 10-11 favourite Beacon by half a length and a head.
The colt did not disgrace himself as a once-raced maiden at Royal Ascot and only found potent juvenile Limato too good at Newbury 11 days earlier.
George Baker kept Cotai Glory handy and safe from the scrimmaging, while Richard Hughes was thwarted on several occasions before Beacon made some serious late headway.
It was Hills’ first Glorious Goodwood success, and he said: “We were just slightly worried his last race was quite recent and it might come too soon.
“He’s all about speed and has got a very fast pedigree.
“Limato won very well at Newbury and we won’t be following him again this year.
“He’s had quite a lot of racing now. We might just take out time and let him mature a bit more. The Flying Childers is an option, he’s in the Prix Morny and we’ll have a look at the Cornwallis as well.”
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Beacon’s owners Highclere, said: “He was a bit unlucky, possibly, and Hughesie said he’d have gone very close otherwise.
“The ground was quick enough for him, especially going downhill. This is a unique track, and we might try him over six on another track.”
The admirable Es Que Love (7-1) compounded a frustrating day for the Hannon team when refusing to yield to their 5-6 favourite Toormore in the bet365 Lennox Stakes. As consistent for Mark Johnston as he has been since joining Clive Cox this season, Es Que Love had been placed in the Abernant, Duke of York and most recently the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
Adam Kirby was at pains to ensure he did not hit the front too soon on a step back up to seven furlongs and the five-year-old stuck his neck past last year’s champion juvenile Toormore close home.
Cox said: “There was no pace in the Hackwood last time and Adam took a calculated decision taking it up two out and he didn’t quite last home. We came here with that confidence, we just had to ride him a bit more patiently.
“He’s entered well. He’s in the Hungerford, he’s in the Park Stakes and we’ll see where we go in between times. I’m just so pleased for the guys we’ve got a Group Two in the bag.”
Toomore’s stable companion Anjaal finished off strongly to grab third, and Hannon said: “It probably suited the winner as he’s got a better turn of foot.
“(Toormore) ran much better than he did at Ascot and we’ll find something similar. He was obviously a very good two-year-old and he’s not as good a three-year-old, that’s all there is to it.
“But he’s still a very decent horse. He needs to win something first and then go back up again.”
Kirby will be referred to the British Horseracing Authority over a potential whip ban
Johnston treats the week as a working holiday and reached Glorious winner number 60 with a one-three-four in the opening bet365.com Handicap as Sennockian Star (14-1) swept past Salutation and Busatto with only Luca Cumani’s Ajman Bridge preventing a clean sweep.
Van Percy (8-1) got the better of a protracted duel with 5-2 favourite Havana Cooler in the bet365 Summer Stakes.
A neck split the pair, who will meet again in next month’s Betfred Ebor.
Winning trainer Andrew Balding said: “With a penalty he’s probably now going to get in the Ebor now so that will more than likely be the target.
“It would be nice to think we could get him qualified for the Melbourne Cup now he’s settling better and is committed in a finish.”
Peter Chapple-Hyam should never be underestimated and his Misleading (13-2) made a tidy winning debut in the bet365 EBF Maiden Stakes. The trainer said: “He’s nice but still raw. He’s in the Gimcrack but won’t go there if I have my way.”