FIRST RACE WINNING QUOTES
SPORTINGBET.COM GOODWOOD HANDICAP
GHIMAAR LEADS 1-2 FOR JUMP TRAINERS
Top National Hunt trainers Nicky Henderson and David Pipe took the first two places in the opening Sportingbet.com Goodwood Handicap when Ghimaar beat Junior by a length and a half.
Ghimaar is one of just three Flat horses Henderson has, alongside Sentry Duty and 13-year-old Caracciola who runs in tomorrow’s Artemis Goodwood Cup, although today’s winner is now likely to be put away for a hurdling campaign.
"It’s always fun here and it is a great meeting. Our Flat string is fairly short and sweet but we always try and keep a couple for Ascot, Goodwood and York. It’s good fun when it works," said Henderson, who bought Ghimaar for 60,000 guineas out of Dermot Weld’s yard at Tattersalls in October.
"He ran a great race at Ascot (fourth) and got a really good run today - Eddie gave him a beautiful ride. I didn’t think that too much went wrong in the Ascot Stakes, he was a little bit further behind - and I had A P (McCoy), who knows the horse very well, speaking to Eddie from Ireland this morning.
"We let him win his second novice race over hurdles after Ascot to get the confidence back in the bank and then come to this, which he really enjoyed. Eddie was great because that split that he got on the rail coming in might have come early enough but it was a winning move.
"We were looking for a likely sort of profile to go jumping at the sales and you know what it is like buying those horses off the Flat. He is quite a good hurdler - he has won two of his three races - but I couldn’t get him right all winter and consequently he is doing this. He wasn’t showing me anything and wasn’t happy and so it was very late before he had his first run over hurdles, which is why we thought about the Flat.
"He’s got to a rating of 130 over hurdles having only beaten two ghosts in two starts but A P (McCoy) likes him. I’d be inclined to give him a break now and go hurdling but I’ll definitely put Sentry Duty in the totesport Cesarewitch. He was third here yesterday over a mile and six furlongs, when the trip was too short for him, and two miles and six was too far at Ascot so the Cesarewitch should be perfect."
Jockey Eddie Ahern added: "This fellow had some nice runs for Mr Weld and things didn’t work out for him at Ascot so he went jumping, and won his race really well - he won very easily. I think the 8lb pull with Junior helped along with the clear passage and everything going right, including the fast gallop. I was absolutely shitting myself before the first race - like I was riding the 2/1on favourite in the Derby or something.
"If he was going bad, I would have probably switched out and I was afraid of getting boxed in. But he was travelling so well so I thought we would give it a go and take the gap. When you’re running over two miles and five furlongs, you need to go the shortest way and sticking to the rail was the shortest way for me."
FIRST RACE PLACES
SPORTINGBET.COM GOODWOOD HANDICAP
JUNIOR A SENIOR AMONG ULTRA STAYERS
In the long-distance world of marathon horse races few are harder to pass than the David Pipe-trained Junior.
Carrying the colours of Middleham Park Racing he won the Ascot Handicap over two and a half miles last month, and today finished runner-up to Ghimaar (receiving 3lb) in Goodwood’s version of that contest, sponsored by Sportingbet.com. Former champion jockey Seb Sanders was in the seven-year-old’s saddle.
Pipe was busy at his West Country stables, but his father, Martin, said: "We’re pleased with that - he’s lost nothing in defeat. It was a different course from Ascot with the undulations of Goodwood, but considering he has gone up 8lb we’re delighted.
"He is likely to have a well-deserved rest now because he’s been in training for a long time, then come back and go jumping, but he will probably be given an entry for the Cesarewitch. He’s a dual-purpose horse and he’s always had ability, but we just have to keep him happy and enjoying his racing."
Andrew Balding, who trains third-placed Relative Strength, reckons his horse could make a jumper one day. Balding said: "He’s proved today that he stays - he’s been on a fairly extensive swimming programme, and I reckon that has helped his stamina. He stayed better than I thought he would and certainly better than last year [when he was eighth in this contest].
"He deserves to win a race this year, because he’s been so consistent, and one day he should make someone a good jumper."
JOCKEYS REPORT ON THE GOING AFTER THE FIRST RACE
Eddie Ahern, jockey of the winner, Ghimaar, who was sent of as the 6/1 favourite, thought the going: "Perfect. It is lovely ground."
Seb Sanders, jockey of the one and a half length second, Junior, described the ground as: "Good."
David Probert, jockey of third placed Relative Strength, said: "Nice ground."
Fergus Sweeney, rider of Enjoy The Moment, said: "Lovely."
Frankie Dettori, jockey of Hollins, said: "It is a little bit quicker than yesterday, more good to firm than good."
Paul Hanagan, rider of Baddam, said: "It is the same as yesterday."
Jimmy Fortune, jockey of Acambo, said: "Good to firm."
Liam Keniry, on Hearthstead Dream, said: "It is good quick ground, with a lovely cover of grass."
Nicky Mackay, partner of Mission Control, said: "Perfect."
Hayley Turner, on board Ambrose Princess, said: "Good ground."