Richard Hughes is closing the gap on Ryan Moore at the top of the jockeys' table so quickly that some bookmakers now make him odds-on for that elusive first title. And, of course, he reliably makes hay at Goodwood. Unfortunately, however, one of his sharpest scythes will not make the big meeting next week.
Harbour Watch has not been seen since winning the Richmond Stakes there last year, having injured a hindleg, and Richard Hannon yesterday reconciled himself to the latest in a series of postponements for the colt's comeback.
His trainer had hoped that Harbour Watch might be able to resume in the Lennox Stakes. "Though he's making steady progress, you cannot go for a race like that half-cocked," Hannon said. "It was a tricky injury and we have had to take our time."
Expectations will have to be duly modified, as and when he resurfaces – as Roger Varian could testify, having been dismayed by Nahrain's performance at Royal Ascot. That was her first start since so narrowly losing her unbeaten record at the Breeders' Cup, but her young trainer hopes that she will take a step back towards her best form when returned to 10 furlongs for the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. "Royal Ascot was her first run for a long time," Varian said. "We got no cover and she just ran a little bit fresh and that told in the last furlong. We were disappointed at the time, but we are seeing all the right signs now."
Another young trainer to have wasted no time in seizing his opportunities, Harry Fry, is meanwhile set to redress one of the less comfortable anomalies of the last jumps season by taking out a licence in his own name. Fry, who has been supervising a satellite yard for Paul Nicholls near the Dorset border, deserved due credit for his day-to-day handling of Rock On Ruby before that horse won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Both Fry and Rock On Ruby will remain at Richard Barber's yard at Seaborough Manor.
"I want to thank my landlord very much for the opportunity to take out a licence here," Fry said. "Having been part of the team at Seaborough for many years, it's a real honour to start my training career here. I hope to have about 20 in training next season, and can't wait to get started. Paul has been very supportive of my decision – and I would like to thank him for all his help and advice over the years."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Henry Clay (8.05 Sandown) Easy to excuse recent failure in heavy ground after an absence.
Phase Shift (5.30 Catterick) Could be well treated judged on a promising start for Brian Ellison.
One to watch
Sea Shanty (Richard Hannon) is a well-bred colt who organised a strong finish for second after running green at Ascot last weekend.
Where The Money's Going
Samminder is 14-1 from 20-1 with William Hill for the Sky Bet Dash at York on Saturday.