Qatar Goodwood Festival 2020
28th July – 1st August
Live from 1:30pm on ITV 1 HD and ITV Hub, live from 12:00 on Racing TV
We had a mixed day yesterday, with Bell Rock running a nice race for second whilst Fifth Position pulled his chance away early, although neither could cope with the brilliant Maydanny, who was given a fine ride from Star ambassador Silvestre De Sousa to take apart the opening handicap field. Both would be of interest again.
We took on Vintage Stakes favourite Battleground with a pair who ran decent races in Devious Company and Gorytus, but Battleground clearly stepped forward in a commanding performance and he may keep on getting better still – so far he’s living up to his breeding, being by War Front out of the phenomenal mare Found, and if he steps forward again he’ll have a big chance in a seven furlong Group 1 like the National Stakes.
Safe Voyage didn’t get any sort of run in the Lennox Stakes, but he most likely wouldn’t have been good enough to trouble Space Blues, an impressive winner who now gives Charlie Appleby a headache regarding the Prix Foret in October with Pinatubo, although before then he’d be upto defying a penalty at Group 2 level beforehand.
The honours of the day go to Stradivarius, who was an incredibly game winner of the Goodwood Cup, a race that became a tactical drama every fan of the sport would have enjoyed. But no matter what, over a staying trip Stradivarius is near impossible to stop and once again he managed to catch Nayef Road and Santiago with that trademark finishing burst which has proven irresistible to stayers over the past four seasons.
It was tremendously exciting to hear that Stradivarius will now be aimed the the Prix L’Arc De Triomphe via the Prix Foy – an exciting target in a race where stayers have run very well in the past, including Westener and Order Of St George – both horses one could safely say Stradivarius is superior to – and fingers crossed he makes it there safely.
We have more fine action today, with the Sussex Stakes perhaps the race of the week – and a contest more than good enough to enjoy, with so many fascinating questions. Initially my feeling was that 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko was overpriced, but he benefitted from a red hot gallop at Newmarket – a pace which surely played a big part in the neck margin which Wichita was beaten by there.
It looks very unlikely that there will be such a gallop to aim at today, which may well play against Kameko and into the hands of Wichita, himself third in the St James’s Palace when outsped by Palace Pier and Pinatubo, but still posting one of the fastest closing times of the week.
Circus Maximus, second in this last year and a dual Group 1 winner since, was given a fine ride by Ryan Moore – who’s once again onboard – to take the Queen Anne on his seasonal return when Mohaather (since an impressive winner of the Summer Mile) was a hugely unlucky eighth. There doesn’t look to be much pace on again, which might be to the benefit of Circus Maximus, although Mohaather would be very unlucky not to get a run again here and appears the more progressive of the pair. San Donato ran a race of huge promise when second in the Summer Mile, and should step forward from that too.
You can’t write all of this without talking about Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin, whose turn of foot was just as sharp over a mile as it was over six furlongs the previous season when he had Vatican City in second. It’s understandable that Siskin is favourite, but Vatican City (also a non-stayer in the Derby) was hugely unlucky not to get a proper run at him and even the keenest of his supporters would be hard pushed to be certain the form will be upheld.
It’s a race of a million different scenarios, and on this occasion it might be best enjoyed. We don’t lack for betting opportunities in this of all weeks, however.
One of those opportunities was going to be Sandringham second Waliyak in the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap (1.10), but at just 5/4 she’s too obviously short to be worth backing and better value can be found.
That value could come in the marathon handicap that opens the ITV coverage (1.45), where Coeur De Lion makes obvious appeal. The beneficiary of a fine ride from Thore Hammer Hansen to take the Ascot Stakes, this test should suit him just as well and the handicapper has treated him very well by giving him a 3lbs rise for that win, as few horses will be staying on better at the finish.
Ascot Stakes third, Summer Moon is obviously a major player, but just as interesting is Smart Champion, who was fourth there and then sent on quickly to the Northumberland Plate, when he broke very slowly in a race that was run at a stop start gallop, was rushed up five wide to get into the race, and eventually faded after that effort. This ought to suit him far better than that contest and he’s definitely worth keeping the faith with.
The answer to the 3yo handicap (2.15) may be the obvious horse in the shape of Win O’Clock, who got hampered at the wrong time (having been in the wrong place beforehand) in the King George Handicap at Royal Ascot before then making amends in short order at Leicester last time out. He was dropped in trip there, but on the evidence of his Ascot run this trip shouldn’t be an issue and he might still be ahead of his mark, if he can settle properly today.
In the Molecomb (2.45) Sardinia Sunset might be the standard setter on her debut Newmarket second and Queen Mary fourth, and with a listed win under her belt she could take some stopping although Steel Bull was so impressive at Naas that the race is left alone. You could give 4 a chance in the Alice Keppel (3.45), probably a sign that it might be best avoided.
In the closing Theo Fennell Handicap (4.20), a chance is taken on Arigato getting the gaps under Josephine Gordon from stall 1. It’ll be a wild ride, but with a clear run he’ll take some stopping on the evidence of his Yarmouth second to Maydanny, his two wins at Newmarket, and his fourth in the Bunbury Cup last time. His draw earns him the verdict over Verboten, who didn’t handle the testing ground in the Britannia but has now been given a horror draw, just like the one he had at Lingfield, and he may have to wait another day.
That’s a fair few selections at Goodwood, but a quality renewal of the Galway Plate (6.45) is too tempting to pass up. Favourite Galvin will need to jump better than he did when running out a wide margin winner at Killarney but that ought to have set him spot on for this and he ran a fine race when second in the novices’ handicap at the Cheltenham Festival when he ran into a highly exciting prospect in the shape of Imperial Aura. A strongly run race here should see him in his element and we know this is the plan and he’ll be in A1 shape.
The other recommended choice is Easy Game, who didn’t stay the RSA trip but had a fine first season over fences, beating RSA Chase third Allaho on his chasing debut before then finishing second to none other than Faugheen. We know he can run to 150 or thereabouts on yielding ground over this trip and if fit and ready that’ll give him every chance.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Coeur De Lion 1 pt win in 1.45 Goodwood 1 pt at 6/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Smart Champion 1 pt each/way in 1.45 Goodwod at 8/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Win O’Clock 1 pt win in 2.15 Goodwood at 9/2 with starsports.bet
BACK Arigato 1 pt win in 4.20 Goodwood at 6/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Galvin 1 pt win in 6.45 Galway at 5/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Easy Game 1 pt each/way win in 6.45 Galway at 9/1 with starsports.bet
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