The weather was wonderful at Goodwood, and the sun was also shining on us as Beat Le Bon landed the odds in the Golden Mile to give us another winning day, despite defeat for Jubiloso and a disappointing effort from Big Brothers Pride, putting us well ahead going into the final card of the week.
That’s a good thing, as with the Stewards’ Cup, its consolation race, and the Lillie Langtry Stakes dominating the TV card, things should be fiercely contested between bookmaker and punter, whilst there are two other handicaps to end the card and yet another Goodwood maiden. Nevertheless, there are still betting opportunities and value to be had.
The Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap (1.50) kicks off the card with a contest that is as difficult as the Stewards’ Cup later on. Course form can go a long way to solving these contests, and Tommy G jumps out. Second in this 2 years ago, he went one better in 2018 and is now 3lbs lower for today’s effort. His form figures this season have been middling in a lower class of handicap but that was the case for the last two years before he came up in front here and it’s safe to assume by now that this has been the target for a while. 9/1 is a fair price on him doing so again.
Blue De Vega is much higher in the weights, but Robert Cowell’s six-year-old has some form which would give him every chance in this. He was a flying third in the Epsom Dash when relishing the strong pace and downhill run and after not acting on the all-weather at Newcastle he was unlucky not to finish closer in a strong Heritage Handicap at Ascot. He faded into sixth when forcing the pace at Windsor, having probably done too much too soon, but if he can come from behind in a strongly run race, we could see the best of him here and his high level of form earns him the vote over Tinto, who was such an eye-catcher here on Thursday.
You can make a case for any one of 10 in the Qatar Summer Handicap (2.25), but this might be the time things finally fall right for Proschema. Tom Dascombe’s four-year-old is on an 11 race losing streak but he has shown more than enough ability to take a prize of this stature. Three starts ago at Newmarket, he simply went too fast in a valuable handicap when he made most of the running then the only horse in the first four to finish having been on the pace.
Then things went too far the other way, when he was last with three furlongs to go in the Northumberland Plate and flew home for third, and then it was back to forcing the issue too much when he made a huge move around the turn on rain softened ground. He was travelling as well as the winner Withhold with three furlongs to go but he then faded in the last two furlongs to finish sixth.
Today he drops back two furlongs and gets lighting fast ground, and if he’s not unduly affected by such a busy season, he should be really well suited by this test. There are any amount of dangers.
I would just have favoured Dramatic Queen over Enbihaar, whilst giving Pilsater a better chance than the market suggests in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes (3.35) but it looks a renewal where all the runners are mainly the right price and there’s more opportunity in the Stewards’ Cup (3.35).
Mark Johnston has never won the Stewards’ Cup – I know, I can’t believe it either – but it is not impossible to imagine Lake Volta making a bold bid. Lake Volta has been incredibly busy, so it’s easy to forget that he was actually an impressive winner over course and distance earlier in the season when beating Tis Marvellous, who was second in the Wokingham and then an impressive winner of a valuable handicap at Ascot afterwards.
Lake Volta was very close to leading sectionals of 10.9, 11.1, and 11.2 for the middle three sectionals in the Wokingham when he did well to finish eighth and he arguably did even better to finish fifth in the Bunbury Cup to stablemate Vale of Kent over seven. He has since run very well since, finishing second to the progressive Air Raid (also runs here) on ground that could be considered too soft for him, and that was surely the case when again going very hard early in the International Stakes at Ascot. 6 furlongs at Goodwood is probably ideal for him with Joe Fanning along and he could take some catching.
It is a risk to have two horses drawn close to each other in such a big handicap but if this race is as well run as expected – and the pace is always strong – then Summgerghand will be in with a chance. He was unlucky not to win on his seasonal debut before bumping into a very progressive horse in the shape of On The Warpath at the same course next time. He was ahead of next time out winner and major player Flavius Titus and afterwards he was a closing fifth in a very strong renewal of the Wokingham. Second Tis Marvellous, third Danzeno and fourth Raucous have all won next time out and the seventh Perfection has finished runner up twice in Group company so the form looks rock solid and we can forget Summgerghand’s latest third in a small field sprint – ironically, to Danzeno.
Nothing made a huge amount of appeal in the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (4.15)– King of Athens should take the beating but several Ballydoyle horses haven’t convinced this week. Mark Johnston has won three of the last four runnings of the Qatar Handicap (4.50) so Warning Fire and Blown By Wind might be worth concentrating on and the market has already found the unexposed Gifts Of Gold in the Qatar Apprentice Handicap (5.25).
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Tommy G 1 pt each/way in 1.50 Goodwood at 9/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Blue De Vega 1 pt each/way in 1.50 Goodwood at 12/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Proschema 1 pt each/way in 2.25 Goodwood at 13/2 with starsports.bet
BACK Lake Volta 1 pt each/way in 3.40 Goodwood at 10/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Summerghand 1 pt each/way in 3.40 Goodwood at 11/1 with starsports.bet
PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 213.22 points<
(excluding Ryan Sidebottom Ashes bet (c/f double and Ashes preview outright, Wyndhams Tournament)