On the eve of the new football season the winner's enclosure here was once more taken over by those associated with the beautiful game as Moviesta, part-owned by Harry Redknapp in partnership with a player's agent, charged home in the King George Stakes.
Their moment of glory came one day after Michael Owen landed the Goodwood Cup with Brown Panther.
Friday's sprint, a Group Two, was easily the most significant race Redknapp has won in more than 20 years of owning racehorses, so it will have been maddening to him that he was unable to attend, having recently had knee surgery. It must be a fair question whether he might, in any case, have found something more urgent to do with his time on the eve of QPR's first game of the new Championship season but he was on the phone to the winning trainer, Bryan Smart, before the trophy had been presented.
Redknapp has owned Moviesta since the gelding first raced a year ago but took on two new partners at the start of the year in Will Salthouse and Richie Fiddes. Salthouse is an agent whose business, he says, now represents more than 30 Premier League players, including Wilfried Zaha, who signed for Manchester United this year in a deal worth at least £10m.
The three men were cannily brought together by the jockey Paul Mulrennan, who grew up in the same part of Ealing as Salthouse and is sponsored by Fiddes's IT company. He introduced them to Redknapp on hearing of the chance to buy into Moviesta and became the horse's regular rider once the deal was done, Tom Eaves having been aboard last year.
"That's why I got involved in racing, was for him," Salthouse said of the 31-year-old Mulrennan. "He doesn't get a chance to ride horses like this and he deserves it. I know what it meant to him and his family; he puts so much hard work in. Obviously I knew Harry through my business but it was more of a coincidence that he already owned it." Salthouse characterised his team as "smaller owners winning against the big guys. It gives hope to anyone," which is fair up to a point, as some of the opposition owners are billionaires, but this particular syndicate should have no problem rustling up the money for training fees.
"Hopefully they'll buy some more nice horses and it just raises my profile a bit," Mulrennan said. Moviesta will now be aimed at the Nunthorpe at York on 23 August and his jockey will have plenty of time to contemplate the necessary tactics, as he earned a six-day ban for careless riding in achieving this victory and will return to action only the day before, unless successful in the appeal he plans to make. While disgusted by the length of the ban Mulrennan could still effuse about Moviesta. "They went very fast but it's what this horse has been crying out for. They haven't been going quick enough for him, they haven't been good enough to lead him. But today they were good horses and they've given me a nice lead."
The repeatedly successful team of Richards Hannon and Hughes were back in the winner's enclosure together after two more races, landing the Betfred Mile with Wentworth and a Group Three with Montiridge. Wentworth has been promising to win such a big handicap all summer while Montiridge is thought to be a Group One horse in the making, with races like the Prix du Moulin and the QEII on Champions Day as possible targets.
Nicky Henderson's Forgotten Voice followed up his Royal Ascot victory in another Group Three race. Understandably the trainer, currently on a Portuguese beach, is thought to be keen to keep the horse for a jumping campaign but his owner, Paul Roy, seemed inclined to take a much more cautious route.
"I'm seriously thinking I need to retire him," Roy said. "He's done everything. He's eight, for goodness sake. Nicky will probably resist that and say we've got to go for a decent hurdle or something but, crikey, Mrs Roy's got something to say about that, trust me."
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