Racing / Glorious Goodwood: Lochsong lasts for lonely win: Smith makes ownership pay at three-figure odds to overturn conventional wisdom: Richard Edmondson reports from Goodwood

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The Independent Online
A BETRAYAL of statistics here yesterday as Lochsong sprinted up the supposedly unfavoured stands' side in the Stewards' Cup and disturbed the notion that racehorse ownership is the purest form of financial self-destruction.

The man who pays the filly's bills is Jeff Smith, who seems to do little but collect at Goodwood. The owner of five individual winners at the Sussex course last year, Smith took his total to three here this season yesterday via successes with Lochsong and Philidor, in the meeting's opener.

The sustenance for Smith's racing habit, which has brought him the possession of Chief Singer and Dashing Blade in recent years, has been his company, which makes aircraft interiors. But if days like yesterday's continue, when he captured races worth nearly pounds 60,000 in prize money, as well as backing his horses in a double worth more than 110-1, he will be in danger of making the sport pay.

This improbable eventuality was matched by the unlikely starting point for Lochsong's victory. Punting wisdom has it that horses drawn on the far side win the Stewards' Cup, but Ian Balding's filly led home a quintet emerging exclusively from low draws. Backers, as much as owners, it seems, are fighting an unequal struggle.

Lochsong herself looked as though she would struggle to make it to a racecourse at all as a juvenile, when her severe joint problems led to an easy diagnosis. 'She was untrainable,' Ian Balding, the filly's handler, said.

The four-year-old sustained a fracture of the shin the following season, but since that moment has appeared to reverse the debilitating effects associated with ageing. 'She seems to get sounder with age and she has a fabulous temperament,' Balding said.

The winner's hardiness was confirmed by Willie Carson, the winning jockey. 'She's game and she only just lasted home,' he said. 'By the end she was a spent force.'

In other circumstances, Lochsong, who now goes for the Ayr Gold Cup, may also have harvested another of the season's big sprints, the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. At the Berkshire course, the filly found herself in rare isolation among a field of 29 runners - a bit like finding yourself alone at a Mardi Gras.

'She got a bit lonely at Ascot and I thought the same thing was going to happen today,' Balding said. 'In the final furlong I was saying 'don't get lonely again'.'

Bonny Scot also proved later that age has not withered him when taking the Gordon Stakes to give Lanfranco Dettori his 50th riding victory of the campaign.

The winner of a Listed race in his first season, Luca Cumani's colt had been a spluttering machine in four outings this year until yesterday. 'Eventually we have got him back to where he was a two-year-old,' Sara, the trainer's wife, said. 'For some reason he wasn't sparkling earlier on, but he seems to have found his old turn of foot again.'

This victory was particularly pleasing for those at Bedford House as Bonny Scot is the progeny of Commanche Run, who provided the stable with its first Classic success in the St Leger eight years ago.

Parallels were drawn yesterday, as Commache Run, like his son, only began to show his true worth late on as a three-year-old and there are expectations that the bloodlines will lead to a repetition in the formlines.

'Bonny Scot's dad came good in the Gordon and went on from there, so let's hope history repeats itself,' Sara Cumani said. If the reliability of racing's patterns is judged on yesterday's movements, they should not get too excited.

(Photograph omitted)

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