Our 2017 G3 Molecomb Stakes (Wednesday 3:00pm) market is now live! This looks like being a very interesting renewal and the likes of Havana Grey, Firenze Rosa and James Tate’s Invincible Army have all shown enough signs of genuine ability to be regarded as serious competitors.
Wesley Ward’s Happy Like A Fool is likely to start as favourite, though. The Distorted Humor-sired filly won a special weight maiden, on debut at Keeneland, before finishing runner-up in the Queen Mary Stakes. The form of that race doesn’t look great, however, as winner Heartache finished a disappointing 3rd in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte. Happy Like A Fool had no real excuses, after that defeat at Ascot, so she certainly has something to prove in this year’s Molecomb Stakes.
This race was first run way back in 1829. Fillies receive a three pounds allowance and there are penalties for winners of Group events. The runners and riders travel just 5 furlongs on a straight turf surface. The Molecomb Stakes is part of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, which is one of the racing highlights of the British Summer.
The race is named after a house which is situated on the Goodwood Estate, which was built for Lady Sarah Lennox by the 3rd Duke of Richmond. Between 1932 and 1981, this race was strictly for fillies. The race takes place on the first day of the festival and there is a fifty thousand pounds purse up for grabs. The Molecomb Stakes is a Group 3 encounter and always features top-class two year-old sprinters, battling at breakneck speed.
Fleeting Spirit certainly ranks among the classiest of thoroughbreds to have taken the spoils, in recent years. This Irish bay mare chalked-up her victory in 2007, with the recently-retired Johnny Murtagh in the saddle.
Fleeting Spirit was bred by Bernadette Hayden and trained by Jeremy Noseda. Owned by The Searchers Syndicate, his dam is Distant Relative and he was sired by Invincible Spirit – a winner of the Ripon Champion 2-y-o Trophy (1999), the Hackwood Stakes (2001), the MacDonagh Boland Stakes (2001), the Duke of York Stakes (2002) and the Haydock Sprint Cup (2002).
Four major wins were achieved by Fleeting Spirit, the other three being the Flying Childers Stakes (2007), the Temple Stakes (2008) and the July Cup (2009).
One of Lester Piggott’s best-remembered Molecomb winners was Precocious. Piggott was on-board for his victory in 1983. Precocious was bred by the Marquess of Tavistock and was trained by Sir Henry Cecil. Sired by Mummy’s Pet and out of a dam called Mrs Modd, Precocious also won the National Stakes (1983), the Norfolk Stakes (1983) and the Gimcrack Stakes (1983).
Various injuries led to Precocious retiring in 1985. He was then sent to stud, but his offspring only enjoyed moderate success and the best of them was probably Elbio (a double-winner of the King’s Stand Stakes).
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