Glorious Goodwood: Heaven for O'Brien is hell for Bolger - Racing - Sport - The Independent

Glorious Goodwood: Heaven for O'Brien is hell for Bolger

Murtagh makes his own luck to land the Group One Nassau Stakes as Manning finds his path blocked on the short-priced favourite

So, it was heaven seventeen here for Aidan O'Brien and the team at Ballydoyle, but this time good fortune was riding alongside the impeccable judgement thathas marked the Co Tipperary stable's previous 16 Group One victories this year. Halfway To Heaven won the Nassau Stakes, but inches behind her the even-money favourite Lush Lashes staked her claim to be the unluckiest loser of the season.

But then again, perhaps luck is self-made. Johnny Murtagh, on the winner, was always in the perfect position. Kevin Manning, on the runner-up, was not. Through a slow early pace, Mur-tagh was either first or second, leading or tracking Muthabara, avoiding any potential trouble. Manning stayed in the buffeting bunch behind, and when the time came to make his move he was stopped in his run not once, but twice, and fumbled his reins to boot.

Halfway To Heaven, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas in May on her previous outing, upped the tempo a quarter of a mile out and led inside the final of the 10 furlongs with her untested stamina by now at full stretch. The daughter of Pivotal and the top sprinter Cassandra Go lasted home by two heads from Lush Lashes, who finished like a champagne cork once she saw daylight and hit her full stride, and Passage Of Time, with Heaven Sent only a neck away fourth.

"Looking at the race beforehand, I thought it could get tactical," said Murtagh. "The filly is very straightforward to ride, so we knew we could stay prominent if there was no pace or drop in if there was. And at Goodwood, you need to get the position you want early, before you start to climb. It's no good trying to make ground uphill.

"I did know I was in the right spot. Richard Hills [on Mutha-bara] and I had it to ourselves and were able to doddle round the bends and into the straight. I knew mine would quicken, but I wanted to save her as long as I could, and play to her strengths. In the end she had to be brave, but she toughed it out well. Her heart is one of the biggest things about her."

It was a second Nassau Stakes in a row for O'Brien, after the now-retired Peeping Fawn, but even the Ballydoyle camp admitted that this victory might have been fortuitous. O'Brien had remained in Ireland, but his travelling deputy, Pat Keating, said: "The other filly was murdered. But Johnny was in the right place. As usual." Lush Lashes' trainer, Jim Bolger, was philosophical. "You saw it and I saw it," he said, "but these things happen, and will do again. It's horseracing."

Murtagh ended the day as the meeting's champion with a record-equalling eight winners, a total that also included the week's two other prestige prizes, the Sussex Stakes on Henrythenavigator and the Goodwood Cup on Yeats for his own stable.

The world record for Group or Grade One winners in a year is the 25 posted by the US-based Bobby Frankel five years ago. O'Brien is not represented in the next top-level event on the European schedule, today's Prix Rothshild at Deauville, so his tilt at his 18th will come on Saturday, when Murtagh rides Eclipse Stakes hero Mount Nelson in the Arlington Million in Chicago.

Yesterday afternoon's richest prize, the six-furlong downhill Bluesquare Stewards' Cup, provided trainer William Haggas with not only his first success in the £100,000 sprint, but also a one-two as the 40-1 outsider Conquest, ridden by Dane O'Neill, pipped the 12-1 shot King's Apostle a head. Borderlescott (7-1), second last year and the winner in 2006, finished an honourable third.

Even his friends would not describe Conquest as the most resolute of performers. "I don't want to discredit the winner," said Haggas, "but the second is much more consistent and genuine. But Conquest has always had talent, and that gives half a chance, and he got lucky today."

Today at Deauville, the sole British raider in the first elite contest of the Normandy seaside season is the Mark Johnston- trained Nahoodh, whose rivals include two of France's bestfillies, three-year-old Natagora and the year-older Darjina.

Further afield, the focus of attention will be on Kentucky Derby hero Big Brown, appearing for the first time since the embarrassing anticlimax of his abortive bid for the US Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes two months ago. Six lesser performers take on the imposing bay colt in the HaskellInvitational at Monmouth Park.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week