'This means a lot to me': Johnston and Moore top the pile at Goodwood

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Sat 5 Aug 2017

By Racinguk.com staff

Mark Johnston was crowned the top trainer at the Qatar Goodwood Festival for the 11th time when Dee Ex Bee became his fourth winner of the week in the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden in good style.]

The Middleham maestro saddled Londinium and Threading to victory on Wednesday, and Silvestre De Sousa successfully rode Soldier In Action and Dee Ex Bee, the first two in a 188-1 treble for the Brazilian jockey, on Saturday. Of his quartet of winners it was Dee Ex Bee that gave Johnston the most satisfaction.

“It means a lot to me,” Johnston said. “We don’t throw as many darts at the board as some but this is what dreams are about – first time up maiden winners. Jukebox Jury won his here, and Shamardal also won a race here.”

Dee Ex Bee is a son of Champion Stakes hero Farhh and Johnston clearly thinks plenty of the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed-owned colt.

“His sire went on soft ground, so who knows,” Johnston added. “He is a bit scopey, horse and when you have a horse such as hi and he wins at a nice meeting like this at this time of year you start dreaming about the end of the season. Jukebox Jury won here, so did Shamardal. He is in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster over seven furlongs but I wouldn ‘t rule out going a bit further.”

De Sousa added to his haul aboard Battered in the Qatar Handicap, narrowly outpointing Hayley Turner, who earlier in the day had revealed she is to return to race riding later in the season in France.

It was not enough to reel in Ryan Moore, however, who scooped the Racing UK top jockey award for the fourth time.

Crystal Ocean was Moore’s fifth winner across the week with his highlight the impressive victory of Winter in Thursday’s Nassau Stakes.

Moore donated his £1,000 cash prize to the fund set up in the memory of Racetech's Stephen Yarborough, who tragically died following serious injuries incurred in his role of Team Leader of the Starting Stalls at Haydock Park Racecourse on July 21.

Moore, who also won a subscription to Racing UK and a deluxe Goodwood hamper, said: "It's been a great week with the highlight being Winter's win in the Qatar Nassau Stakes. She's getting more and more experienced and is the ultimate professional."

It took Moore three days to get off the mark, and the jockey was not the only one to experience a tough week.

Adam Waterworth, the Goodwood Estate Sports Managing Director, reflected on what proved to be his most challenging week at the helm.

The five-day meeting experienced a deluge of over two inches of rain on Wednesday, but that was dealt with, racing continued and the week has ended on a high with the sun shining.

"I think it has been the hardest meeting that I have ever been involved with," he said.

"I have never had a day as bad as Wednesday, ever. And, obviously, two inches of rain falling in 12 hours then caused its problems for the next day so Thursday was also really hard.

"The groundstaff did a tremendous job keeping us on, and going, on Wednesday, and then Sarah Bullen and the operations team were unbelievable in keeping the show on the road on Thursday. The concerns on the Thursday moved more to the customer side, getting people in, dealing with the car parks, and a little less then about the horses. The ops team did a pretty spectacular job to keep us going on Thursday.

"Then, on Friday and Saturday, the sun has come out, we had a little blip when Storm Katy came through, but the meeting has finished on a real high. Friday and today are what Goodwood is all about - great racing, great weather, and a fantastic atmosphere.

"We had some pretty determined racegoers on Wednesday, but the week has finished on an absolute high and at least no one drowned on Wednesday! It is a fabulous testament to our racegoers their determination to come to racing at Goodwood."

Moving on to pay tribute to the retiring Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley, Waterworth was full of praise and just thankful that Buckley was still in situ to deal with this year's challenges.

"The biggest tribute I can give Seamus Buckley is Wednesday and Thursday. When I walked the course on Thursday morning it was an absolute mess, and I was thinking we'd be in trouble with it, but Seamus would hear none of it. He and his team got to work on it, and sure enough, proved that I was stupid to worry.

"That is when you appreciate how good he is, on a day such as Wednesday. And also, thank god, that he decided this would be his final year and not last year, as there is no one I would rather have had on my side!

"We came into the meeting with the ground in such good nick, Seamus had the track in such good condition and the grass covering was unbelievable, that is reason why we got away with it. Of course, he has been doing the job long enough to know how much ground to keep up his sleeve and when to play that card.

"But from an unbelievably difficult hand, he played it beautifully - it is a great testament to him and the team.

"I have said to the whole Goodwood team that if they could cope with this year, they could deal with anything!"

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