Derby and Oaks contenders could be Goodwood-bound

John Gosden may send Derby fourth-favourite Western Hymn to post in the Cocked Hat Stakes  Picture by Malcolm Wells 0000-5472
John Gosden may send Derby fourth-favourite Western Hymn to post in the Cocked Hat Stakes Picture by Malcolm Wells 0000-5472

GOODWOOD’S May Festival – which starts a week today – stands a good chance of attracting Derby and Oaks contenders.

There’s a longer gap of a fortnight this year between the three-day Goodwood festival and the Epsom meeting, so top trainers could see the Downs as the perfect testing ground for some of their contenders.

Goodwood racecourse MD Adam Waterworth said he would love to see the John Gosden-trained Western Hymn – rated around 12/1 for the Derby – in Friday’s Cocked Hat Stakes.

Thursday’s feature race, the Height of Fashion Stakes, could see a quick return to Goodwood for Roger Charlton’s Be My Gal, ridden to victory at the season opener 12 days ago by Hayley Turner and tipped by Waterworth to come back in this paper a week ago.

Waterworth said: “The May Festival is important for us and we’ve been building it up nicely over the past three years.

“We’ve a good chance of high-quality fields and that’s reflected in ticket sales. And I’m confident we’re due a heatwave too!”

Saturday’s highlight will be the £50,000 May Handicap.

We’ll have a full preview in the Observer next Thursday (May 22) – and watch out on this website within the next week for a video showing a new view of the racecourse.

STEVE BONE