Saddler’s Rock has Oxx smiling at Goodwood
John Oxx rectified one anomaly from a distinguished career when Saddler's Rock delivered his trainer the Artemis Goodwood Cup.
As Galway always coincides with Goodwood week, it would be understandable for the Irishman to be pre-occupied with domestic affairs but this Group Two success was the first time he had ever made his mark on the Sussex course.
Although dependably rational win, lose or draw, Oxx had felt Saddler's Rock had not given his true running in the Gold Cup and the lightly-raced stayer proved him correct as he toppled the Royal Ascot hero Colour Vision.
Only third that day but sent off the 2-1 favourite in receipt of 4lb from Godolphin's grey, Saddler's Rock and Johnny Murtagh had a far more agreeable passage as a decent pace was carved out by Chiberta King and Electrolyser.
Slowly but surely, Oxx's colt hauled them back in the home straight and held on by a length from a fast-finishing Askar Tau, with Colour Vision hanging tough for third.
Oxx said: “I've only had about three runners here before and it's a great old race with a lot of tradition and history, so we're delighted to be here to win it with such a nice horse.
“Not just one thing went wrong at Ascot, three or four things went wrong.
“He clipped heels and that spooked him, and he pulled very hard. It's very out of character as he's a very relaxed horse.”
Mark Johnston denied Richard Hannon his fifth successive victory in the Audi Richmond Stakes as Heavy Metal (9-1) escaped the clutches of Master Of War by half a length.
Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally both notched up their fourth Group winner of the week with Wild Coco (6-1) in the Ishares Fillies' Stakes.
Jeremy Noseda's Grandeur (8-1) gained another course victory as he carried top-weight under an astute William Buick in the Betfred The Bonus King Stakes.