David O’Meara won the Coral Golden Mile Handicap at Goodwood for the second time in three years as Orbaan streaked away from stablemate Blue For You.
Repeatedly seen flashing home in plenty of major handicaps over seven furlongs and a mile in recent years, everything fell right for him on this occasion.
The seven-year-old, the choice of Jason Watson from a handful of O’Meara-trained runners, was drawn in stall two but was no better than midfield as the runners turned into the straight.
For a horse with his ability a record of just three wins from 33 previous outings did not do him credit – and he showed just what he can do when in the mood.
Sent off a 20-1 chance, he burst through the gap and came home three and a half lengths clear of Blue For You, drawn one, in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season. The favourite Noble Dynasty held every chance but found disappointingly little when push came to shove.
Victory for Orbaan cements a growing relationship between O’Meara and Watson, who was once champion apprentice.
“I haven’t won at Glorious Goodwood since I was an apprentice (Gifted Master, Stewards’ Cup),” said Watson
“It’s a hard track to ride and a tough place to have winners. I’m very grateful to Dave and the team who have been very supportive to me the last 12 months and I’m just pleased I’m back on the big stage a little bit.”
O’Meara – who could now target his charge at York’s Ebor meeting – said: “Everybody knows this race is so draw dependent.
“It’s been a long time since he last won, he last won like a Group horse in a handicap, but he hasn’t won since. He got a lovely run round, Jason thought the race would suit him – this horse travels, but he doesn’t breeze great and wears the tongue tie.
“If he’s under pressure for a long time he doesn’t sustain it, he travelled behind with plenty of cover and it was the type of race that would suit him.”