X Factor host powers Goodwood to Friday night success at second attempt

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Dermot O’Leary rocked Goodwood as the racecourse forgot its power-cut blues with a storming second attempt at its series of racing and DJ nights.

The X Factor host and Radio 2 DJ sent a large crowd wild with a 90-minute DJ set backed by a stunning laser and light show.

If last week’s power cut which blacked out Groove Armada’s set was a big disaster for Goodwood, through no fault of their own, O’Leary’s appearance was the complete opposite - a massive success.

O’Leary - seen in a picture above taken by Clive Bennett during a memorable set - attracted plenty of X Factor fans to Goodwood and probably quite a few younger people who’d never set foot in a racecourse before.

Goodwood will now be hoping their third DJ night - starring Mike Skinner of Streets fame next Friday - is every bit as successful.

O’Leary took centre stage after a six-race card which saw Richard Hannon stretch his lead at the top of Goodwood’s top trainers table for 2012.

He saddled his fifth Goodwood winner of the season when Pat Dobbs took the Clare Island Boy to victory at 15/2 in a field of three-year-olds in the Levy Restaurants Stakes.

It was one of only two horses Hannon sent to post on the card on a night when two of his contenders were non-runners, with a number of withdrawals during the day leaving a total of only 32 runners across the six races.

The weather wasn’t ideal for this middle meeting in the three-evening series but could have been much worse.

The heavy rain that had left much of West Sussex under water earlier in the week, and had threatened to do the same again on Thursday, had passed and although it was cloudy, it stayed largely dry.

And thankfully there were no power cuts or any other disasters as O’Leary took to the decks after racing to entertain thousands of revellers with a 90-minute DJ set.

It was all a big relief for Goodwood bosses, who must have feared anything that could harm their attempts to recover from the previous week’s power cut, which left thousands disappointed they couldn’t see Groove Armada’s set.

Elsewhere on the track, Lucy Barry got the action off to a flyer when she won the Gordon’s Apprentice Stakes on Tony Carroll-trained Jake the Snake (17/2) coming from the back of the field after a sluggish start for an ultimately-comfortable win over 3/1 second favourite Mata Hari Blue, ridden by Matthew Lawson.

On a night when the 25th anniversary of Frankie Dettori’s first UK win - at Goodwood - was being marked, it was fitting an Italian jockey should find success. But it wasn’t Dettori, who was not there himself.

Instead Mirco Demuro, five times champion jockey in his homeland, chalked up his first win at the track in the Three Friday Nights Classified Stakes on board 6/1 contender Hyperlink, trained by Mark Johnston.

Demuro led from early on and impressively held off the challenge of Hidden Justice, who took second in a photo from stablemate Arch Villain - both are trained by Pulborough’s Amanda Perrett.

Hampshire trainer John Bridger was back in the Goodwood winner’s enclosure for the second time in a fortnight when Starwatch (7/1) took the Capital FM Stakes Handicap, holding off Jim Crowley on Moretta Blanche.

The Levy Restaurants Stakes was taken by Dobbs on the Hannon-trained Clare Island Boy, who went off at 15/2. That was Hannon’s fifth Goodwood win of the season, putting him three victories ahead of his closest rivals in his bid to win the Dick Hern Trophy for an amazing fifth straight year.

Jimmy Fortune was second on Andrew Balding’s runner Bank Bonus.

John Fahy steered Spoke To Carlo to the win in the Frankie’s 25th Anniversary Maiden Stakes with a ride the Italian favourite would have been proud to call his own.

The Eve Johnson Houghton-trained 8/11 favourite was never in danger after striding out in front and came in three-and-a-half lengths over Raheeba (13/2), ridden by Demuro, who was having an excellent night.

The last, the Dermot O’Leary Stakes, went to Muasamara and Martin Harley - as tipped on this website.

As soon as racing had finished, staff set to work transforming the parade ring and winners’ enclosure into a dancefloor ready for O’Leary to take centre stage in front of a huge crowd of his adoring fans.

After finishing his set with Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, he spent 15 minutes chatting to fans - including Lord March - and posing for pictures before his security team led him off through the crowd.

See this website over the next few days for more reaction and pictures from the night.