|Wednesday 30th July 2014|
Duel on the Downs Makes Goodwood Glorious
Britain may be absorbed by the Commonwealth Games, and England’s cricketers are grabbing happier headlines in the Test Match, but that will not deter 100,000 people from taking their sport at Glorious Goodwood this week.
As Alastair Down put it in the Racing Post: “. . . this is the week when the serious business of racing combines with the even more serious business of having a wonderful time.” So while there is abnormal pressure on sporting space in thenational press, Glorious Goodwood has the tools to keep racing in the public conscience.
The Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes is the event’s snow cap, for it is the most valuable race and in Kingman it contains a horse who could become a world champion. On form he and last year’s winner Toronado are the likely winners, a match within the race which has become associated with the phrase ‘Duel on the Downs’. Frankel versus Canford Cliffs was round one, Toronado and Dawn Approach maintained the theme last year, and now, according to The Daily Telegraph ‘Stage set for Duel on the Downs III’.
Overnight watering on Wednesday leaves the ground slightly easier and the best horse racing odds will have Kingman as an odds-on chance.
Paraphrasing these matches – which must be welcomed by Glorious Goodwood’s PR team – the Racing Post’s front page summarises the best of the meeting headlined by ‘Jewels on the Downs’.
Away from this week’s meeting, The Times’ Alan Lee says the BHA has let racing down over the morphine affair, writing: “On the evening when the story broke, racing should have been offering its own expert to every TV and radio station . . .” Failure to do so means the public “drew their own disparaging conclusions”, concluding “Even the Queen” was at it [giving drugs to horses]. Her filly Estimate, a victim of the affair, is set to run in Thursday’s Artemis Goodwood Cup, and will be cheered to Brighton and back if winning.
Racing, and issues with a racing element, has been found throughout this week's press – in The Times, comment writer Rachel Sylvester questions TV bookmaker ads, and takes the view, ‘Stop bombarding our kids with betting ads’.
On a lighter note, Channel 4 Racing’s Clare Balding, the sport’s grande dame of broadcasting, carries clout on a range of issues. The Sun’s TV writer Colin Robertson, reckons Balding, a darling of the BBC (and omnipresent on that channel), has “called on broadcasters to show more women’s sport”. Racing can boast it is at the forefront in offering women competitors, both jockeys and trainers, equal terms and competition with men.
And Balding’s broadcasting views are also a feature in The Daily Telegraph. Arts editor Anita Singh claims Balding laments the loss of “teatime family dramas” – isn’t that what Eastenders is all about?
The Daily Telegraph’s business section reveals Ryanair is planning cheap flights to the Middle East – and therefor to the world’s most valuable race meeting, the Dubai World Cup, while back at Glorious Goodwood there is news of another innovation. According to the Chichester Observer, personalised cupcakes with a “distinguished yellow frosting”, baked daily by The Hummingbird Bakery, are the must-have accompaniment during afternoon tea – or even with a bacon bap at breakfast.