Here Comes When delivers major shock
Andrew Balding's last words to Jim Crowley before he went out to ride 20/1 shot Here Comes When in the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood yesterday were to remember that there was £12,000 up for grabs for finishing sixth - a position that required the seven-year-old to beat just one horse home after the late withdrawals of Churchill and Zonderland because of deteriorating ground caused by persistent rain.
That may have been tongue-in-cheek banter, but both trainer and jockey fancied their chances, if not of upsetting the odds-on favourite Ribchester, then at least of securing a podium finish with Here Comes When - who is considered "stones better on the soft" by Balding.
Even if every favourite wins for the rest of the week, this Goodwood will be remembered for its upsets and yesterday's was up there with the best of them.
The gelding, the oldest horse to win the race, came home a neck and three quarters of a length in front of Ribchester and Lightning Spear to stun Goodwood's drenched crowd.
As Ribchester did on soft ground in the Lockinge, he set off to make all under William Buick.
It was not an easy lead, with Lancaster Bomber sitting on his quarters, but Buick was happy. However, between the three and two furlong poles Ribchester did not find as much as Buick expected and Richard Fahey's colt was swamped.
At the furlong pole, it was Lightning Spear out in front, but Here Comes When, who had been a close third throughout, went with him and once he got his head in front he was not going to be beaten.
It was to Ribchester's credit that he picked up again to run on into second, finishing best of all, with Lightning Spear fading into third.
It was the winner's 27th start and eighth win, but he has always paid his way, picking up prize money in stakes races, and had run well at Group One level without winning one.
However, not many Sussex Stakes winners will have also been entered, let alone confirmed, for a handicap at the meeting - he is top weight but will not run in the Betfred Mile tomorrow.
At last, Group One victories are starting to roll in for last year's Champion jockey Crowley, who as an ex-jumps rider was at home in the mud as much as his mount. Last month he won the Eclipse and now the Sussex - two of summer's marquee races.
"I've never been so pleased to see weather like this. He's a very good horse with these conditions, he deserved it," said Crowley.
A disenchanted Fahey said after Ribchester's defeat: "It's extreme conditions out there.
"I was very worried - it's not for a Flat horse. He showed good heart and has run a mighty race to get back again, but I'm disappointed. We came here expecting to win and we didn't."
No one was blaming Aidan O'Brien for withdrawing Churchill half-an-hour before the race.
His powder has been kept dry for the Jacques Le Marois or the Juddmonte International.
Karl Burke walked the track before racing and identified a faster strip of ground near the stands rails.
Therefore, his orders to Havana Grey's jockey PJ McDonald before the Bombay Sapphire Molecomb Stakes were explicit: "Get out fast; do your best to get on that strip and get him in a rhythm."
McDonald followed the advice to the letter and the improving grey colt was a convincing winner. (© Daily Telegraph, London.)