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05 August 2017

Matt Chapman reflects on a damp Glorious Goodwood in this week’s column

YOU knew it was like a mudbath at Goodwood this week when Churchill didn’t turn up – I mean this was a man who advised to fight them on beaches.

Yet Goodwood was too wet for his equine equivalent. That tells you all you need to know.

It’s been a week for destroyed suits – although I have one winging it’s way to Ballydoyle to be spruced up courtesy of Aidan O’Brien’s dry cleaners – and crazy results.

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But before the heavens opened we might just have seen something super special, at least to this expert eye.

Sir Michael Stoute was once the trainer of decent juveniles.

He had Marwell, Gay Gallanta and Regal Rose, Untold, Red Bloom and Dilshaan, but incredibly it’s fourteen years since he had a Group 1-winning two-year-old in the UK. Fourteen years!

Sir Michael Stoute hasn’t trained a two-year-old Group 1 winner in fourteen years!
Getty Images

Expert Eye might change all that, and he certainly had a bit of Ajdal about him, the horse who Stoute sent out to land his only Dewhurst in 1986.

I joked with Sir Michael after Expert Eye had scooted home in Tuesday’s Qatar Vintage Stakes that Expert Eye reminded me of Ajdal, to which he replied with a booming laugh: “Let’s hope I run him in the right races,” referring to the fact Ajdal went for the Derby at Epsom before becoming a top class sprinter!

Expert Eye
Expert Eye looks rather good…
PA

Actually, Ajdal was far from disgraced in the Derby, but whether Expert Eye will stay a mile and a half only time will tell.

What he may well do is match Ajdal in landing the Dewhurst.

It was something else watching him tug Andrea Atzeni to the front well over two furlongs out (far too soon) and pull nearly five lengths clear of Zaman, who wasn’t beaten far in the Group 2 Superlative at Newmarket, but was destroyed here.

Frankel
A bit of Frankel about him?
Getty Images

Expert Eye even had a bit of Frankel about him as he strode clear treating his rivals with total disdain, and is another potential star for Prince Khalid Abdullah and Juddmonte Farms.

Considering that operation was meant to be easing off a fraction a few years ago, the likes of brilliant Enable, New Bay, Frankel, Noble Mission and Kingman have certainly kept it in the limelight.

Expert Eye is generally 5-1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas and he looks really special.

Stradivarius
Stradivarius was excellent when beating Big Orange
PA

Speaking of horses that reminded me of past stars, to be called the Stradivari of any field is to be deemed the finest there is, and while at this stage Stradivarius the racehorse is nowhere near the best horse in the world, he did well to see off Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup, upgraded to Group 1 status this season.

Stradivarius is owned by Bjorn Nielson, who in recent times has had St Leger winner Masked Marvel and in the past the very useful Assessor, and his effort was similar to that of Sergeyevich, who ran a cracker in the 1988 Ascot Gold Cup made famous by the disqualification of Royal Gait, and who landed the Goodwood Cup as a three-year-old in 1987.


Like Expert Eye, Stradivarius trades at ante-post odds of 5-1, this time for the St Leger, and he’s a very fair each-way ante-post bet at those odds. Very fair.

The Sussex Stakes was a shambles, with Churchill taken out and Ribchester all over the place.

Here Comes When should never really be a Group 1 winner of a race of this standard, but he ploughed through the mud on Wednesday so well done to Andrew Balding and his team.

Here Comes When
Here Comes When relished conditions
PA

The real joy was the reaction of owners Dr Jim and Fitri Hay. Now it’s fair to say Dr Jim has a few quid, but he’s also chucked a few quid at this sport and deserved his big moment.

Fitri is a pocket rocket of a woman, who keeps Dr Jim on his toes, and she loved every moment of celebration. That’s what this game should be about. Moments of crazy happiness.

On the crazy front some of the ITV team were at Goodwood House for a ball on Wednesday night, and Oli Bell and Ed Chamberlin were ‘strong’ on the dance floor, although Oli’s movements very much grew when ladies were close.

Matt Chapman
Enable can be a superstar
Stewart Williams

Luckily some of the big bosses at ITV chose to dance the night away, which is always good for those of us constantly filming on mobile phones.

The Michael Jackson impression by one or two had to be seen to believed. In order the footage is kept private, I’m fully expecting a large pay increase plus a quiz show.

Also happy to host the ‘jungle’ with Oli as my sidekick. Watch this space!

At The Races TV gaffe is followed by studio presenter's genius reaction
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