Goodwod was glorious enough but can Ascot beat the Olympics?
6 August 2012
When Richard Hughes unleashed The Fugue in the Nassau Stakes on Saturday the turn of foot that we all witnessed was somthing to behold.
John Gosden has likened the daughter of Dansili to a ballerina and she skipped past Izzi Top, lowered a shoulder, bumped her stablemate and elegantly danced to Group One glory.
The fastest furlong split time the three-year-old filly posted was 11.06 seconds, which is twice as fast as Jessica Ennis, who covered 200 metres, a similar distance, in 22.83 seconds during her heat in the Women’s Heptathlon on Friday night.
On the face of it, it doesn’t seem so an impressive comparision. You would have thought a racehorse could run twice as fast as a human The contrast with the golden girl of athletics, however, is important because on the same day that Great Britain’s athletes were involved in the most sensational day in British sporting history, the crowd figures at Glorious Goodwood were buoyant.
Despite the action going on all around London, and a huge turnout in Hyde Park for the big screen there, 75 more people attended the Sussex course than 12 months ago.
Of course there is little spin one can put on such an increase, as the attendance figure is essentially the same as last year but racing’s most high-profile day during the London 2012 Olympic Games held its own. The weather had little to do with it, because the sun barely broke the clouds until late afternoon.
When Frankel ran on Wednesday the world’s highest-rated horse helped to attract an extra 2,425 people from the 19,080 of last year.
They were richly rewarded with Frankel’s swansong over a mile, making Farhh, who would be good enough most years to win the Sussex Stakes, look positively pedestrian.
Make sure you book your ticket to York for the Juddmonte International, because with Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel in the line-up it promises to be a cracker.
Racing too often beats itself up about what it does wrong but there can be little criticism of the experience provided by the Goodwood executive. The racing is excellent, if a little difficult to eke out a profit, and the course is the most beautiful in the world.
If racecourses get things right, and in place, the racing experience is among the best in sport.
It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend when Ascot stages its Shergar Cup card on the penultimate day of the Olympic Games. Are the considerable charms and abilities of Chantal Sutherland a big enough draw card?