Three outstanding days in prospect at Goodwood’s May Festival – Thursday to Saturday, May 23-25 inclusive – Megan Nicholls is Goodwood Racecourse Ambassador

Goodwood Racecourse is gearing up for three outstanding days of action with the May Festival, which runs from Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25 inclusive.
There is over £500,000 of prize money on offer during the three days, with four Listed races and a £100,000 handicap among the highlights.
Thursday’s feature race is the £45,000 Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes (4.20pm, 13 entries) over just short of 10 furlongs for three-year-old fillies.
Named after Her Majesty The Queen’s Height Of Fashion, who went on to become an outstanding broodmare, the entries include a trio from reigning champion Flat trainer John Gosden – Ascot conditions race winner Muchly, plus Listed Pretty Polly Stakes runner-upShambolic and Listed Cheshire Oaks third Fanny Logan.
Recent Beverley scorer Mannaal (Simon Crisford) still holds an entry in the G1 Investec Oaks at Epsom on May 31, while the Height Of Fashion Stakes could also provide some Royal Ascot clues with Shambolic, Fanny Logan, Love Se Deep (Jane Chapple-Hyam), Grace And Danger (Andrew Balding) and Love Explodes (Ed Vaughan) all entered in the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes.
Three-year-old colts get their chance on Friday, when the highlight is the £45,000 British Stallion Studs Cocked Hat Stakes (3.30pm, 10 entries), which takes place at an extended 11 furlongs.
This Listed race has several interesting performers engaged, including Private Secretary (John Gosden) who has won both his starts at Redcar and Sandown Park this year and currently holds an entry in the G1 Investec Derby.
Newmarket-based Gosden has been victorious four times in the British Stallion Studs Cocked Hat Stakes, including with subsequent St Leger winner Masked Marvel (2011), and is the most successful current trainer. He could also be represented by Alfaatik, who finished strongly when fifth on his first start of 2019 in the G3 Classic Trial at Sandown Park – race in whichPersian Moon (Mark Johnston) finished third.
Another trainer to have already tasted success in the British Stallion Studs Cocked Hat Stakes is Marcus Tregoning, who took the honours in 2003 with subsequent G2 King Edward VII Stakes winner High Accolade and a year later with Manyana.
The Hampshire-based handler has an intriguing entrant this time around in Mohtarrif, who won well on his second outing in a mile Polytrack maiden at Lingfield Park in March. The son of Cape Cross currently holds an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Spanish Mission, trained by David Simcock in Newmarket, has yet to race on turf, but ran three very good races on the All-Weather over the winter, including on his latest start when fifth in the valuable “Road To The Kentucky Derby” Conditions Race over a mile at Kempton Park on March 6.
The son of Noble Mission was an impressive winner over 10 furlongs at Chelmsford City in November, having begun his career with a staying-on third over a mile at the same course in October.
Simcock reported today: “Spanish Mission is in good form and the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood is the plan.
“We think the race should really suit him and he is going to be a horse who only gets better as he steps up in trip, so hopefully he has a good future over middle-distances.
“He won over 10 furlongs as a two-year-old, but we came back to a mile at Kempton last time, but that race didn’t work out.
“We’re looking forward to running him at Goodwood and we will see how he gets on before working on other possibilities from there.”
Simcock is no stranger to success in the Cocked Hat Stakes, having won with subsequent G3 scorer Algometer in 2016. Spanish Mission races in the colours of Earle Mack and Team Valor.
Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby has two contenders in Al Hilalee and Court Poet, while other entries include Fifth Position (Roger Varian) and Duckett’s Grove (Ed Walker), winners of novice races last time out.
Goodwood’s Saturday card boasts two Listed contests – the £50,000 Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Festival Stakes (1.55pm, 21 entries) over just short of 10 furlongs and the £50,000 Bet Your Way On The Betfair Exchange Tapster Stakes (3.40pm, 19 entries) over a mile and a half.
The Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Festival Stakes is shaping up to be a cracking contest with the entries including The Queen’s Fabricate (Michael Bell), a course and distance scorer at the 2017 Qatar Goodwood Festival who has gone to twice score in G3 company at Windsor.
Last season’s G2 Sky Bet York Stakes winner Thundering Blue, who is trained not far from Goodwood at Pulborough by David Menusier, is another entry
Mirage Dancer (Sir Michael Stoute) recorded the biggest win of his career so far when taking the G3 Bombay Sapphire Glorious Stakes over a mile and a half at the 2018 Qatar Goodwood Festival, while he was also successful in the Bet Your Way On The Betfair Exchange Tapster Stakes 12 months ago.
The five-year-old Frankel horse has not been since finishing last in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, in December, but could be return to action at Goodwood on Saturday. He is entered in both the Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Festival Stakes and the Bet Your Way On The Betfair Exchange Tapster Stakes
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner/breeder Khalid Abdullah, said today: “Mirage Dancer could return in Saturday’s Tapster Stakes at Goodwood.
“He hasn’t been seen since Sha Tin, but Sir Michael is happy with him and it will be good to get his season started.”
The £100,000 seven-furlong Betfair Each Way Edge Handicap (2.30pm) has attracted 19 three-year-olds.
All three days of the Goodwood May Festival will feature the Goodwood Food Show, with racegoers having the opportunity to see demonstrations from Michelin-star chefs, attend wine tastings and shop from an exclusive food market. Among the chefs in attendance will be 2018 Masterchef winner Kenny Tutt.
Racing starts at 2pm on Thursday, with the last race at 5.30pm, commences at 1.50pm on Friday and ends with the 5.10pm contest and on Saturday, the action commences at 1.55pm and concludes with the 5.30pm race.
Tickets can be purchased from only £12 in advance and accompanied children under 18 go free in all enclosures.
For further information about racing at Goodwood and to book tickets, please go to
The going at Goodwood is currently:
Good, Good to Firm in places.
The GoingStick reading at 10:45am today came to 7.8.
There was 0.6 millimetres of rain on Friday, with the risk of a thundery shower this afternoon and tomorrow. Wednesday is predicted to be dry, while there is the possibility of light rain/drizzle on Friday.
Watering is in progress.
Megan Nicholls is Goodwood Racecourse Ambassador for 2019
Goodwood Racecourse is delighted to announce today that apprentice Megan Nicholls will be its ambassador for 2019.
Nicholls, who was born on July 3, 1997, is the daughter of 11-time champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls.
A graduate of Pony Racing, she rode successfully in point-to-points and achieved her first win under Rules when Gwanako landed a hunters’ chase at Wincanton on May 13, 2014. In the same year Megan had her first taste of riding at Goodwood when she participated in the Magnolia Cup at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Later in 2014, Nicholls announced she was switching her attention to the Flat and her career as an apprentice has gone from strength to strength, with 49 British winners in that role so far (as of May 20).
She won the Silk Series for female jockeys in both 2017 and 2018 and has partnered two winners from 15 rides at Goodwood, both of which came in 2016, courtesy of the Kesselring (Richard Hannon) and Sureness (Charlie Mann).
The role as Goodwood Racecourse Ambassador will see Nicholls acting as a jockey coach for the riders in this year’s Magnolia Cup at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, while also working closely alongside the team at Goodwood in promoting all fixtures at the racecourse.
Megan Nicholls said: “Goodwood is my favourite racecourse in the country. It is truly unique both from a riding and lifestyle perspective.
“Being at the heart of the South Downs, the course is undulating to ride, which encourages every rider to utilise their best horsemanship skills.
“I love the Qatar Goodwood Festival – the style is superb and a class apart from other race meetings around the country.
“High-quality racing is always guaranteed across the season and I can’t wait to be more involved with all aspects of the racecourse now I am an ambassador.”
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