Oisin Murphy led a celebration party from the weighing room holding a sign that read “Smile, dance, wave and celebrate” after Lady Bowthorpe’s success in the Nassau Stakes here on Thursday, neatly summing up the mood around the winner’s enclosure after a rare Group One which managed to slip through the fingers of Flat racing’s biggest stables.
The general delight was in part for William Jarvis, Lady Bowthorpe’s trainer, who was celebrating his first top-flight win for 27 years, and also Emma Banks, agent to music stars including Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry, whose loyal support of Jarvis’s yard had finally been rewarded with a Group One success.
But the warmest applause, perhaps, was for Kieran Shoemark, Lady Bowthorpe’s jockey, whose journey towards a first winner at the highest level met with an immense, self-inflicted setback when he was banned for six months following a positive test for cocaine in late 2018. It was Shoemark’s rock-bottom moment and one from which he has built back diligently and willingly, following an honest admission that his problems with alcohol and drugs had been spiralling out of control.
“In the last day or so, I’ve been imagining crossing the line in front,” Shoemark said afterwards, “but I think it will not sink in until later. Without sounding too confident, I always believed if I got myself clean and sober that I would get to where I wanted to be.
“My career is back on track now. I’m really enjoying the racing and to be involved in these huge days is what it’s all about. I’ve won a Group One today, but I’m already looking forward to the next one.”
Shoemark endured traffic problems when only fourth in the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket this month, less than a length behind the winner, but he had just five rivals to worry about on Thursday and brought Lady Bowthorpe with a well-timed run to sweep past the front-running favourite, Joan Of Arc, inside the final furlong.
“The pressure kind of went out the window a bit when there were only six runners declared,” he said, “and when I hit the front, she’s so genuine that I knew she wasn’t going to stop.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends in the weighing room so to see that [reception] means a lot. They’ve all been very supportive and I’m delighted to be where I am today, I’m friends with all of them. I had six months off, went into rehab and took it all very seriously, and it’s paid off.”
Jarvis, whose last Group One winner was Grand Lodge in the 1994 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, was in tears after Lady Bowthorpe’s luckless defeat last time and emotional again after this success on Thursday.
“I’ve never lost faith in myself as a trainer,” Jarvis said. “Quite a lot of other people may well have done, which is why we’ve only got 28 or 29 horses in the yard.
“However, I’ve got a lovely bunch of staff working for me and they’ve never lost faith in the way that we operate and they give me everything. We are a family unit and there is a lot of loyalty involved, including with Kieran, who I’m delighted for. There was a lot of pressure from outside, people saying should we do this or that, but it never really crossed out minds.
“I’m thrilled for Kieran. He is a delightful young man who has impeccable manners. He obviously went through a bad place, but he came out through the other end and he’s a delight to work with.”
Friday TV races guide
Having set off at odds-on to win the Group Two King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for the last three years, Battaash is priced up at around 6-4 for the latest renewal, reflecting both the strength of this year’s field and the fact that he was a little below his brilliant best when fourth in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
That was Battaash’s first run for 10 months and also his first since undergoing surgery on a joint fracture, so Charlie Hills’s sprinter can be expected to improve on that form as he returns to a track and trip where he is unbeaten in four starts.
Dragon Symbol, disqualified from first place in the Commonwealth Cup last month, is a significant new rival along with Art Power, who goes well with some cut in the ground. If Goodwood coaxes out something close to his best form, though, Battaash (3.35) should extend his perfect record in this race to five-out-of-five.
Goodwood 1.50 Just Hubert, an impressive 25-1 winner of this unique test 12 months ago, arrives with a similar profile having failed to trouble the judge on his last three starts. He is also 1lb lower in the weights, with excellent apprentice Ray Dawson taking off another 3lb.
Goodwood 2.25 Very difficult to see past Baaeed, who is unbeaten in three starts since a belated racecourse debut in June and has several pounds in hand of his field.
2.10 Havana Hermano
3.20 Sir Tivo
3.55 White Turf
4.55 White Walker
3.10 Nibras Shadow
4.18 Night Hunter
4.50 Send In The Clouds
1.50 Just Hubert (nb)
3.00 Rhoscolyn (nap)
4.10 Passion And Glory
5.20 Wink Of An Eye
5.15 Majestic Glory
5.50 Follow Your Heart
6.25 Goddess Of Fire
7.30 My Astra
8.00 Top Secret
8.30 Tyger Bay
6.35 Merlin’s Beard
7.40 Fountain Cross
7.20 Chief’s Will
8.52 Royal Guard
Goodwood 3.00 The Golden Mile is as intriguing a puzzle as ever, with two improving four-year-olds at the top of the market but question marks about both. Frankie Dettori will need to be at his brilliant best if Magical Morning is to be the first winner from a double-figure draw since 2013, while Path Of Thunder races off the pace and will need some luck in the final furlong from stall three. That makes the 10-1 about Rhoscolyn, from stall eight, look tempting, as his recent second in Listed company was a career-best and Oisin Murphy is booked to ride.
Goodwood 4.10 Saeed bin Suroor is having his best season for some time and Passion And Glory can extend his streak to three since returning from a winless winter in Dubai.