Goodwood Festival 2014: Es Que Love’s the winner once again – at 22nd sight

The five-year-old won the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood today

goodwood

There are many ways to set up a first Group Two triumph, but until today getting beaten 21 times on the spin was not one of them.

Es Que Love has been a perennial whipping boy over various distances in all sorts of company since winning a minor handicap early last season, but it finally clicked again when he captured the Lennox Stakes, the highlight of Glorious Goodwood’s opening day.

And if that was not surprise enough, the horse he beat was last year’s champion two-year-old Toormore, a second odds-on loser in a row for Richard Hannon following Beacon’s defeat in the Molecomb Stakes to provide a small ripple of concern ahead of Toronado’s eagerly awaited meeting with Kingman in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes.

The Es Que Love Partnership stumped up 110,000 guineas for the five-year-old last autumn, which was some punt for a horse seemingly going nowhere and with so much mileage on the clock, but they surely could not have dreamt that he would win at this level.

In fact, the winning trainer, Clive Cox, was quite confident going into the race, convinced that more patient tactics than adopted last time at Newbury would pay dividends.

Es Que Love’s jockey Adam Kirby played his hand late and to a nicety to win by a neck, although there was a nasty sting in the tail for the rider when the stewards judged that he had used his whip incorrectly. This was his fifth such transgression in the past six months and he now faces a lengthy ban.

The Toormore camp were understandably downbeat. This was meant to be a confidence booster after below-par efforts in the 2,000 Guineas and at Royal Ascot and, though the three-year-old by no means disgraced himself, Hannon, who offered no excuses, knows he is not the horse he was and will adjust his sights accordingly. “He was a very good two-year-old, but is not as good a three-year-old – that’s all there is to it,” the trainer said.

In terms of official ratings, there is next to nothing between Toronado and Kingman (3.05 Goodwood), but whereas the former has needed to dig deep to achieve his mark, the latter has left the impression there is a bit more in the tank if required.

Jockey Richard Hughes will doubtless have something up his sleeve to try to tip things Toronado’s way, just as he did in last year’s thriller when swooping wide and late to take revenge on Dawn Approach, who had beaten him on two previous encounters.

But it is difficult to think what the twice champion can do to gain an edge this time. With the field reduced to four following the withdrawal of War Command, there could be some tactical fun and games, but whatever the pace Kingman’s turbo-charged finish should settle the issue.

Highland Reel’s extraordinary, 12-length winning performance in Ireland earlier this month prompted bookmakers to install Aidan O’Brien’s colt as favourite for next year’s Derby.

A follow-up in the Vintage Stakes may not be the formality it seems – he was as green as a cabbage at Gowran Park and faces tougher opposition on a drop back to seven furlongs – but Highland Reel (3.40 Goodwood) is perhaps a champion in the making and may well have the class to come through this test.

All eight runners in the Gordon Stakes hold a St Leger entry and the best of them, both here and at Doncaster, might turn out to be Scotland (2.30 Goodwood), third to Eagle Top in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and progressing with every run.

Mark Johnston’s horses invariably make their presence felt at this meeting, especially in the handicaps, but sending out three of the first four in today’s opener, including the winner, Sennockian Star, was quite special. Maid In Rio (1.55 Goodwood), a big jump ahead of the handicapper after dotting up at Ascot last Friday, looks a stable banker in today’s opener.

Paul Hanagan injured his left arm when White Nile fell in the Summer Handicap and will need to pass the doctor before being allowed to ride. To add insult to injury, he missed out on riding Inxile, who won the finale.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'