Glorious Goodwood winner for Soldier Of Fortune

Fire Fighting (Soldier Of Fortune) winning the Matchbook Betting Exchange Stakes (Handicap) Goodwood

Trainer Mark Johnston began Glorious Goodwood 2016 in the best possible style when Fire Fighting (5g Soldier Of Fortune-Savoie, by Anabaa) took the meeting’s opening heat.

The son of Soldier Of Fortune saw off 16 rivals to win the ultra-competitive contest and take his career earnings to almost £300,000. It was a ninth start of the season for the tough-as-teak five-year-old.

“This horse is a bit special.” said Johnston. “You have to wonder whether he is tough and that’s what makes him able to race a lot – or is it the fact that he races a lot that makes him tough.

“We gave him a couple of months off in the winter and his first run back was the first time that he has ever come back lame from a race. You have to remember that time off doesn’t always do them good.

“Adam (Kirby) has found a bit of the key to him and I think he rides the horse with a lot of confidence. He hit the front quite a long way out here and showed no sign of stopping.”

Kirby was full of praise for his mount’s tenacity.

“It was a typical Goodwood race with a lot of runners and you can get locked in down the inside. I did well to get a run through,” said the jockey. “Everyone would love to own this horse. He turns up on the big Saturdays and you will always get a good run for your money with him.

“He’s a fantastic horse and he tries his heart out. What a lovely horse to ride and own – he should hopefully keep everyone happy.”

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