Racing / Glorious Goodwood: Lochsong fires on all cylinders: The flying mare's rivals breathe down her neck before cutting their own throats. Richard Edmondson reports

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The Independent Online
IN an exercise like shaving after a heavy night, Lochsong's opponents cut their own throats here yesterday as the six-year-old mare returned to a winning vein in the King George Stakes.

The lesson of Lochsong's recent defeat at Newmarket seemed to be that the six-year-old was uncomfortable and a diluted performer if her early authority in a race was questioned. This theory, however, ignored the fact that the wrong octane was sloshing around in the workings on the July Course, and, yesterday, Formula One fuel was again in the tank.

'They took me on, which was a big mistake, because at the furlong pole I killed them off,' Lanfranco Dettori, the winning jockey, said. 'If somebody is upsides me it means they are going too fast, because she is the fastest thing on earth. At the end they had nothing left to spend.'

Lochsong's connections had arrived at the course in a state of trepidation after her recent lacklustre performance, and cannot have been assuaged when the mare again took hold of the bridle like a cowboy biting on the bullet at a campfire operation. Dettori, though, soon got her under control and she was pacing around like a ponderous old pet at the start while her rivals were still in the paddock.

By the time the furlong pole was in vision in the race proper, Dettori had an opportunity to raise his finger in trademark salute and Ian Balding, the mare's trainer, realised his week-long premonitions has been no more than hocus-pocus. 'She's been as good as ever at home, and I was just hoping that nothing had worried her mentally after that rare defeat,' he said. 'I've been worried.'

Balding and Lochsong's owner, Jeff Smith, immediately declared York's Nunthorpe Stakes as the next target, but after that the mists roll in. Smith, whose company manufactures aircraft interiors while his best horse manufactures aircraft impressions, listed the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp, the Haydock Park Sprint Cup, and Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs as possibles.

Smith, incidentally, has enjoyed 10 winners at Goodwood in the last four seasons (Blue Siren also went in for him yesterday), creating the outrageous illusion that racehorse ownership can actually pay for itself. Lochsong alone has now won almost pounds 540,000 in prize money.

Broadway Flyer's balance is far less appealing, but John Hills's colt suggested there would be more deposits to come with his victory in the Gordon Stakes. The colt, a miserable disappointment when second favourite for the Derby, outfought Suplizi in the closing stages to maintain an agenda which includes the St Leger and even the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. William Hill make him a 16-1 chance for the last-named.

However, going into the race, Hills was not sure if his colt had a career as a racehorse or with United Dairies. 'When you have a problem like he did in the Derby, you never really know whether they're going to come back or not,' he said. 'I'd never seen the horse look better than at Epsom, and you'd never have known there was anything wrong with him.

'That night, when he got back in his box, he blew a load of mucus out of his nose. When we scoped him the next morning we found a respiratory infection and we had to treat him with antibiotics.'

By the time Hills was called on for an interview yesterday, the rains had swept into Goodwood, but this seemed of little importance to a small trainer who had just got his best horse back. 'I'm never been so happy to be wet in all my life,' he said.

(Photograph omitted)

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