Little brother on a Noble Mission to lift ailing Cecil
You generally only have to look at your own brother or sister to realise that siblings are generally more noted for their differences than their similarities. So, too, it is with horses, and it is those unpredictable shakes of the genetic kaleidoscope that keep the bloodstock industry behind the shop-window of racing going.
Today, the brilliant Frankel will step out at Goodwood. Yesterday it was the turn of his three-year-old brother, the dogged Noble Mission. The younger horse has none of the precocity and flamboyance of the family star, but he is gradually learning to get the job done and after two narrow defeats he stuck his hooded head down and outbattled Encke by a nose to take the Gordon Stakes.
"He's a horse that's going places," said his rider, Tom Queally. "He's improving mentally as well as physically and this time he really dug deep when it mattered. I made a point of making sure he eyeballed the other horse – last time his rivals were a bit away from him – and he rose to the challenge."
The son of Galileo needed every yard of the 12 furlongs to win but whether he will progress to taking on the odds-on favourite Camelot in the St Leger will be decided after his next scheduled trial, the Great Voltigeur Stakes later this month at York, where Godolphin's Encke –whose rider yesterday, Mikael Barzalona, picked up a four-day ban for incorrect whip use – is likely to renew rivalry.
Yesterday's market leader Michelangelo, not entirely at home on the switchback track, was only third– but then Arctic Cosmos, likewise trained by John Gosden, occupied the same position before going on to take the final Classic two years ago.
Noble Mission and his stablemate Chachamaidee, in the Lennox Stakes, provided a cheering first-day Goodwood double for their Newmarket-based trainer Sir Henry Cecil, who is currently having cancer treatment and is too ill to be at this week's meeting.
Chachamaidee, the 5-4 favourite, started slowly but showed her trademark ability to quicken in the straight and comfortably became the first of her sex to land the Group Two contest, chased home by Libranno and the gallant 11-year-old Mac Love.
Only a head split the first two in the juvenile feature, the five-furlong dash that is the Molecomb Stakes, as 14-1 shot Bungle Inthejungle, who had the rails to race against, inched out the 2-1 favourite Morawij. Again, the pair are bound for York, though with different targets, the Flying Childers and Gimcrack Stakes respectively.
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