GOODWOOD stalwart Richard Hannon notched a double on the second day of Goodwood’s May Festival - was happy to interrupt Sir Alex Ferguson’s office-clearing operation at Old Trafford to tell him about it.
Hannon - who was Goodwood’s top trainer four years in a row from 2008 - sent the first two winners of another cold and showery afternoon to post and the second of them, Magic City, is owned by the retired Manchester United manager.
William Twiston-Davies was on board the four-year-old for a storming ride and a surprise victory in a big field that contained plenty more fancied.
Afterwards Hannon was straight on the phone to Fergie, who was doubtless delighted to hear about the win as he cleared out the Old Trafford office that’s been his second home for just over a quarter of a century.
Hannon joked that Ferguson might ‘go to war’ with an increased number of racehorses now he didn’t have the top job at United to occupy him.
Good Authority, the 5/1 joint favourite ridden by William Buick, was second for trainer Karen George - although Buick was to make up for that miss with a double.
The feature race - the Casco EBF Cocked Hat Stakes - had a small-enough field after final declarations, with only three left in. And three became two on Friday morning when Fantastic Moon was withdrawn, leaving Contributer and Disclaimer to do battle.
And it was Disclaimer, ridden by Tom Queally for Sir Henry Cecil, who prevailed in an absorbing contest in which both runners had spells where they looked the likely winner.
Winners of the Cocked Hat Stakes have gone on to great things in the past few years - like Masked Marvel, who went on to win the St Leger with a course record - and you can expect to see Disclaimer among elite company later in the season.
The meeting kicked off with the Goodwood Maiden Auction Stakes and a field of seven two-year-olds lined up for the five-furlong dash in light rain.
There was no surprise it went to the 1/4 favourite Our Queenie, with Richard Hughes on board for Hannon, but it was closer than expected with Hannon’s other entry, Ligeia (7/1), ridden by Kieran O’Neill, only three-quarters of a length behind.
Buick went one better than his effort in the Reheat Stakes with a victory - the first of the season at Goodwood for him and trainer John Gosden - on 9/2 chance Wannabe Loved, who led all the way and held off the challenge of Franny Norton on the favourite Centred, who ended strongly to finish second.
Buick, who’s had some excellent wins on the Downs in recent years, said: “She did really well and had a lot of weight to carry.
“She really stuck it out well and was going very easily at the end.”
The 24-year-old was back in the winner’s enclosure little more than an hour later after a photo-finish triumph on the Tom Keddy-trained Piscean (25/1) in the IBA Stakes handicap. Prodigality, the 13/8 favourite, was the one edged into second under Thomas Brown.
The Thakeham Homes Fillies’ Stakes handicap was won by Ed Dunlop-trained Auction, the 8/11 favourite, giving Ryan Moore another Downland success.
The festival concludes on Saturday with a couple more Listed contests the highlights of a seven-race card - and a much better weather forecast in store. We’ll have some tips on this website on Saturday morning.