Harry Bentley: Glorious yet frustrating Goodwood *H&H VIP*

Opinion

I think I have a love-hate relationship with riding at Goodwood. I love it because it’s a local track of mine — I grew up in West Sussex and was going there from a young age — but it can be a very frustrating place at times.

I’ve had some good moments at Goodwood in the past, including winning the Lillie Langtry Stakes in 2015 aboard Simple Verse before she went on to win the St Leger. I’ve had six winners there this season and I was happy to put one on the board at the “Glorious” meeting and for John Gosden as well.

However, I can’t help but feel that there were a couple of near misses that could have gone in, too.

The nature of Goodwood is that those things just happen and there were probably a few jockeys over the course of the week who felt the same as I did. You end up getting caught on the rail a lot, you can’t get out when you want and then it can become quite frustrating.

Sometimes, like on Forest Of Dean in the Unibet Handicap, I went down on the rail and that is obviously the trickier route. If it pays off, it really does pay off, but at the same time it’s very easy to be caught in traffic, not get a run and come back thinking you could have won.

I suppose it’s one of those places where you couldn’t say the best horse always wins. At the likes of Newbury, York or Ascot — big galloping tracks with a long straight — the best horse does usually come home ahead.

A stunning view

It is definitely one of the best tracks for a spectator. Firstly, there’s the location and the view you get over the South Downs is second to none. There’s nowhere else I could really compare it to. You get high-class racing and there is always a good atmosphere. Although I don’t ever go as a spectator, you feel that they do things properly.

Winners worth watching

On the track, I thought Pinatubo, under James Doyle, was impressive in the Qatar Vintage Stakes. Charlie Appleby’s two-year-old looks to be the stand-out juvenile so far this season, quickening up well from what looked a quality field.

The winner of the Lillie Langtry, the John Gosden-trained filly Enbihaar, looked to be a Group One winner in waiting, too. And it was great to see a Japanese-trained winner in the Nassau Stakes.

The strong pace helped the race pan out for Deirdre, but she’s still a very good mare.

Causing a Twitter frenzy

My phone went absolutely mad for a couple of days after a video of me kissing the horse next to me in the starting stall on the nose went viral on Twitter — unbeknown to me until I had finished riding on Friday.

It was my first of five rides that day and one of those spur-of-the-moment things.

It wasn’t my intention to cause a social media stir. Don’t ask me why I did it, I just did. It wasn’t my intention but it’s a positive spin, and does me — and racing — no harm.

Ref Horse & Hound; 8 August 2019