LAST week’s prestigious Goodwood festival was a glorious one for Ryedale stables with Upper Helmsley-based David O’Meara topping the bill by taking two of the week’s major handicap prizes, writes Colin Russell.

Leading the way was stable stalwart Summerghand, who beat his 26 rivals to land Saturday’s major prize, the Unibet Stewards’ Cup over six furlongs.

Now a six-year-old, Summerghand is an old-hand when it comes to sprint handicaps and had been placed in plenty of top sprints without winning one. In fact earlier this year he was beaten a nose by Hey Jonesy in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, but despite having won at Pontefract on his next start he was sent off a 22-1 shot to bring the prize back to O’Meara’s North Yorkshire yard,

However, bring it back he did, for under a fine ride from his regular partner Danny Tudhope, on he finally won a big handicap, coming late up the middle of the course to get the better of Kimifive by a head with the Richard Fahey-trained Brian The Snail, who was a 66-1 shot, running one of his best-ever races to finish a length further back in third.

He had finished fourth in the race in 2019 and a delighted Tudhope said: “The race went perfectly for him as they went a good gallop so he got a fine tow into the race. He wanders a bit when he hits the front so the cheekpieces helped him. He is a tough horse who deserved to win a decent prize like this. David had him in top form, he doesn’t do much with him at home, most of the time he just turns him out in the paddock to freshen him up.”

Summerghand, who has now run 42 times, is unlikely to rest on his laurels and could run next in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap, in which he was second last year, before attempting a big-race double in September’s Ayr Gold Cup.

O’Meara said: “If there was a horse that ever deserved to win a heritage handicap this one did. He was beaten a nose in the Wokingham and there are so many big races like this he’s hit the crossbar in and not had it quite his way.

“He’s owned by Rabbah and I’m so pleased for him and the owners. Everybody knows where they’re at with him in terms of the handicap and he keeps turning up and running so well.

The trainer admitted he had been two minds whether to run him at Pontefract as he feared he might get too high in the weights therefore ruin his chance in Saturday’s race, but the owner’s manager Bruce Raymond gave him to go ahead;

O’Meara explained: “I spoke to Bruce Raymond just before we went to Pontefract with him as I was worried that winning there, as he was entitled to do, would compromise his chances of winning a race like the Stewards’ Cup. Bruce said kick on and we’ll worry about the Stewards’ Cup when that comes, and he was absolutely right. I’m delighted for them.”

Summerghand was the second big-race winner in two days for O’Meara for on Friday his Prompting gained his third win on the trot in the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap.

Unlike his stable companion Prompting is a relative newcomer to the O’Meara yard having joined him from Warwickshire-based Olly Murphy in the early summer, Although a four-year-old he had limited experience for he had run just five times before coming to Yorkshire, and all his races had been on the all-weather.

The improvement since being tried on turf has been nothing short of dramatic for he is now unbeaten in three starts for his new trainer. His first success came at Ayr on July 14, and he then made it two from two on grass with a cosy win at York 11 days later.

Although the handicapper put him up 11lb for that second success, he carried just a 3lb penalty in the Goodwood race so it was no real surprise that he started a well-supported 3-1 favourite.

Those who backed him never had much cause for concern either for jockey Harry Bentley had him close to the leaders from the outset and once he got a gap between them he quickened up in good style to land the £31,000 first prize by a decisive length and a half.

Afterwards his rider said: “I was very happy with where I was positioned. There was no point giving ground away from stall two, so I made more use of him than usual and the pace was even enough without being overly quick. I was in the right place and always travelling incredibly well. He’s a big horse so can get out of trouble and he’s got a very good turn of foot. He’s big, but well-balanced and handled the track great. From what he’s been doing it’s a step up, but he’s got a lot of class.”

The current season is also proving a vintage one for trainer Nigel Tinkler, who looked to have a smart juvenile on his hands when Ubettabelieveit won last month’s National Stakes, but may now have a second string to his bow in top juvenile events as his Acklam Express romped home in Thursday’s Tatler Nursery.

Although Tim Easterby’s representative Winter Power was sent off a strong favourite following his easy win at Redcar three days earlier the winner was a well-fancied 100-30 shot.

Winter Power didn’t run up to his best but even if he had he would have struggled to beat the Tinkler horse who powered clear under champion jockey Oisin Murphy to win by four and a quarter lengths, in the process breaking the course record for two-year-olds.

It was certainly a smart performance by the son of the speedy Mehmas, who was bought by his trainer for 26,000 euros, is one to look forward to in his future races with a step up in grade now on the cards.

The two other Ryedale trainers to get on the Goodwood scoresheet were Richard Fahey and John Quinn. The former also enlisted the help of champion Oisin Murphy for Ventura Diamond, who made his debut in the EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes over six furlongs on Friday. The juvenile did not disappoint as he came home by a length from what looked a decent field.

Quinn also had a juvenile winner, Titan Rock stepping up on his debut fourth at Haydock to land Saturday’s EBF Maiden Stakes for colts and geldings to complete a Saturday double for his rider Danny Tudhope.

In fact Saturday was quite a day for Quinn’s Settrington yard as he had an across-the-card three timer with Magna Moralia and Keep Busy both winning at Hamilton, the latter taking the British Stallion Studs EBF Soba Conditions Stakes by a neck from her stable companion El Astronaute.