Duke Of Hazzard delighted favourite-backers with a hard-fought success in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood.
Paul Cole’s colt won a valuable maiden at this meeting 12 months ago and returned to the Sussex Downs in fine form, following a clear-cut success at Newmarket three weeks ago.
Given a confident ride by PJ McDonald, the son of Lope De Vega travelled strongly and managed to avoid most of the trouble several of his rivals encountered during a rough race.
After being switched wide to throw down his challenge, the 3-1 chance took a while to find top gear, before charging home in the closing stages of the one-mile contest, prevailing by half a length from Turjomaan.
The well-backed Art Du Val and Royal Ascot winner Biometric both finished down the field.
Cole said: “It’s great to have another good horse again. It’s wonderful (for the owner) as there aren’t many Jim Hay’s around.
“He was going to go for a Group Three race in Deauville so that is maybe on the cards, but these are things we need to think about and discuss.
“He is a horse that can handle anything, as he is extremely tough and nothing fazes him. I think he is on the upgrade.”
Desert Encounter benefited from an ice-cool Jamie Spencer ride as he claimed the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes.
Last year’s winner Mirage Dancer was the 4-6 favourite to record his fourth win from as many Goodwood starts and he battled his way to the lead racing inside the final furlong.
However, David Simcock’s 15-2 shot Desert Encounter was travelling strongly in his slipstream and once given his head by Spencer, the seven-year-old picked up smartly to score by two and a quarter lengths.
Simcock said: “It was fun to watch. I was slightly surprised by his last run at Newmarket (third in Princess of Wales’s Stakes), but we know it is getting to his time of year and he was pretty much there today. I was quietly confident.
“August, September and October are good for him. You could almost call him a Group Three bully, but there was no three-year-old in this race and everything was exposed.
“We will probably go the same route as last year. Whether we go to Windsor (August Stakes) and Newbury (Legacy Cup), or just Newbury and then back to the Canadian International, which he won last year, we’ll see.”
Beat Le Bon completed his hat-trick in the £150,000 Unibet Golden Mile.
Having followed up victory in a valuable contest at this track in May with a win at Haydock a month ago, Richard Hannon’s three-year-old was a 17-2 chance for this fiercely competitive handicap.
He got a dream run against the far rail, but it was still impossible not to be impressed by the way he powered clear in the hands of Pat Dobbs.
Hannon was completing a double, having earlier seen last year’s 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook land the Theo Fennell Oak Tree Stakes.
He said: “He’s always been a good horse. I’ve always talked about how good he is and he has slightly made me look a bit silly. Slowly, as time has gone on, he is starting to look like that horse.
“I did think he was a Guineas horse last year. Early on in the year his work was not normal and we are starting to see it now.
“There is every chance he could come back here for the Celebration Mile (August 24).”
Mark Johnston saddled three runners in the Unibet Nursery Handicap and it was his 7-1 shot Homespin who struck gold under James Doyle.
“I think it was all about attitude today. This horse was quiet as a lamb before the race, whereas Eton College probably ran his race beforehand and Praxeology was just too keen and fast down the hill,” said Johnston.
“I was a little bit hesitant of running three nice horses against each other, but they all deserved to be here.
“We’ll go home and think about where we go next. I honestly hadn’t thought beyond today.”