The weather might not have delivered, but the racing sure did at Goodwood yesterday with some tremendous performances, including star shows from Stradivarius, who was again too strong for Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter in the Goodwood Cup, whilst Pinatubo was devastating in the Vintage Stakes. We will hopefully be seeing a lot more of them this season with plenty of opportunities for the stayers to clash whilst Pinatubo sets an imposing standard on the rest of the field.
Today sees another excellent card, and we start with another competitive contest in the shape of the Unibet Goodwood Handicap (1.50), where a number have claims.
Last year’s winner Lil Rockerfeller is the one to beat, having backed up a spectacular 15 length victory in this last year with a solid jumping season. He will be hard to catch, although he’s up 17lbs for that effort and it’s fair to say Silvestre De Sousa will have plenty of rivals for the early lead too. Dubawi Fifty, a close second in the Northumberland Plate, also ought to make a bold bid.
This is a race where plenty more than those two have chances, and the eight-year-old Fun Mac appears to be a value each/way shot. Hughie Morrison’s stayer had a barren time of things last year but has been dropping in the weights for a while, and is now 11lbs lower than he was when he ran in the Ebor last year. That is generous for a horse who’s been 5th in Chester Cup and fourth of 19 to The Grand Visir at Royal Ascot, especially given that The Grand Visir is now a non-runner today. He stays this trip reasonably well and handles this course, and the ground shouldn’t be an issue either.
At much bigger odds, take a flyer on Seinsational. He was very unlucky not to win a 2m handicap here in May when he got no run at a crucial moment but quickly made amends with a good win at Sandown in June. That Goodwood form has been boosted by the runner up that day winning and if Seinesational can be restrained early (and there should be a better pace on today) then he could be well overpriced.
Aidan O’Brien was out of luck with his runners yesterday, but in hindsight they faced tall orders and he could take a valuable prize with Eminence in the Unibet Handicap (2.25). The son of Sea The Stars has, just like his sire, come into his own for a step up in trip, making light work of a mark of 77 on his handicap debut at Leopardstown when going over 10 furlongs on soft ground. He looked a stayer in the making on his seasonal debut and a quicker test on faster ground didn’t really suit then. Stepped up in trip and class at Royal Ascot, he fell out of the stalls early and was then blocked in his run at the two and one-furlong pole, being forced to switch in between, and only really got a clear run in the last half-furlong.
He did very well to be third there behind two stablemates, as the winner South Pacific came down the outside, whilst Constantinople got a clear run after Ryan Moore found a gap. Eminence has run again since and been beaten, but the drop back to 10 furlongs wouldn’t have suited him like this trip will and on that Ascot third he is well handicapped if he gets a clear run.
Cases can be made for a whole host of the field, but maybe Future Investment could be worth having onside. He was third to Telecaster on debut at Windsor before winning a maiden and novice stakes at Chester and Ripon (when he beat subsequent dual winner Dubai Tradition, who also runs here), performances which saw him sent off favourite for the Ulster Derby. He was only third that day but the winner had previously beaten South Pacific (Royal Ascot winner) and the second had strong form on all three starts this season including an impressive win at Leopardstown in May. To make the form look even better, fourth Halimi has since won twice and is now rated 82.
Future Investment was interestingly held up at Down Royal (the first three in the race were) and if Harry Bentley lets him sit back today, he might have a very strong pace to run at to his benefit. That gives him the vote over impressive Epsom winner Le Don De Vie, the progressive Sir Ron Priestley, and first and second favourite Desert Icon and Durston.
The Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes (3.00) sees Liberty Beach (Queen Mary fourth and listed winner since) and Maven (Prix du Bois winner) both going head to head. They take up a huge share of the market and many horses appear too big as a consequence – even if they finish first and second, there’s good odds of getting a return for the remaining place.
Hand On My Heart was facing four more experienced rivals when making her debut at Windsor but she showed speed and tenacity to defy them and she achieved a good deal too. Runner up Separate went onto finish sixth in the Super Sprint whilst third Lady Kermit had previously been third and fourth in Listed company. If she comes forward from that then she might be on the coattails of pattern company and a good deal of these are more exposed than her.
Those considering another big priced shot would do well to consider the French raiders trained by Matthieu Palussiere, with Wheels On Fire making more appeal than Fan Club Rules.
Glorious Goodwood 2019
Tuesday 30th July – Saturday 3rd August
Live on ITV 1HD & Racing TV
Betting against Frankie Dettori and John Gosden this summer in Group 1 contests has been a route to the poor house, but you are hardly going to get rich backing them at 11/10 with Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes. The Prix Jean Prat winner was very impressive at Deauville last time out and probably deserves more credit for his two efforts in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (2nd) and St James’s Palace Stakes (3rd), but the rain that hit the course would not have helped his chances, and neither will the fearsome headwind that made getting home hard work for runners yesterday.
That gives Circus Maximus – who dropped back from the Derby to take the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot, beating Too Darn Hot – a better chance than the odds suggest of confirming that form if this becomes a stamina test. The market may well be underestimating the next two in the market Phoenix of Spain and Lord Glitters, both of whom are already Group 1 winners this season.
Phoenix of Spain was below par in the St James’s Palace Stakes but he had a reasonable excuse – he came back sore after that and clearly wasn’t at his best – and on the form of his very impressive Irish Guineas win he’d be much shorter than he is now. He smashed Too Darn Hot by three lengths that day when no horse could pass him, and whilst front running was beneficial that day, his two-year-old form stands up to the most fearsome scrutiny. He can go well.
So too, can Lord Glitters. Third in this last year, he ran a fine race in Dubai and was then extremely game when coming late to win the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. The form of that race has quickly worked out well, with runner up Beat The Bank (RIP) winning the Summer Mile, third One Master being touched off in the Falmouth, fourth Romanised winning the Minstrel Stakes and sixth Laurens winning the Rothschild. That’s very strong form and if he’s a little closer this year he could be too hard to hold off. If you back the two with the same stake, you get something like 9/4 about their combined chances, which seems to me to be a fair way to play the race.
Accidental Agent, Zabeel Prince, I Can Fly and Happy Power are all respected but must do plenty to reach the front four.
The European Breeders Fund Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (4.15) – try saying that in just one go – could be between Mighty Spirit and Flippa The Strippa and there’s nothing to separate a lot of the field in the British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap (4.45), nor the New & Lingwood Handicap (5.55).
And last but not least, in the Galway Plate (7.20) Barra is too tempting not to back. The high class eight-year-old was set to be a good deal higher than 137 if she stood up in the Midlands National last time and if she runs to that form and puts in a clear round then she will have a much better chance than 11/1.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Fun Mac 1 pt each/way in 1.50 Goodwood at 12/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Seinesational 1 pt each/way in 1.50 Goodwood at 22/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Eminence 2 pts each/way in 2.25 Goodwood at 13/2 with starsports.bet
BACK Future Investment 1 pt each/way in 2.25 Goodwood at 9/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Hand On My Heart 1 pt each/way in 3.00 Goodwood at 10/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Lord Glitters 2 pts win in 3.35 Goodwood at 5/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Phoenix Of Spain 2 pts win in 3.35 Goodwood at 6/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Barra 1 pt each/way in 7.20 Galway at 11/1 with starsports.bet
Stake omitted in error yesterday on second bet – accounted for as 3 points. Apologies
PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 174.42 points
(excluding Ryan Sidebottom Ashes bet)