Welcome to the biggest and fullest Goodwood preview you’ll read all week!
The ground here will not be as quick as it has been in previous years although a dry Monday and reasonably dry Tuesday afternoon should see a reasonable surface of good ground without any zip in it on a softish course. Want more on Goodwood? Read history of race names and view infographic.
1.50 – Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+) (1m2f) As always, fiercely difficult to open the meeting. The John Smith’s Cup provides the first two in the market and Garcia (fifth that day) looks a rightful favourite to turn around the form with UAE Prince given that he came from three wide and near last on his seasonal debut in a race that was slowly run and always giving front runners the advantage. Both ought to fancy their chances of going close here for all that favourites have a dire record.
Khiraat was considered a pattern horse after the way he destroyed the good handicapper Brorocco at Chester on his return, so the nature of his flop at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton. The form of both races has taken a bit of beating since however and he must prove himself worthy of his mark; He has only had five starts, however.
Abdon hasn’t gone on from the promise he showed last season but he is only 3lbs above his last winning mark. The best performances of his career have come on fast ground and whether there will be enough in the ground for him. He has been gelded since, and does have first time headgear, so makes more appeal of the two Stoute runners.
Murad Khan has only ever run at a mile but he returned to form in style after valid excuses for his two defeats, with the ground too fast for him when he stepped into pattern company, and then finding plenty of horses too fit for him in the Hambleton Stakes. Stripping much fitter for that run, he was a taking winner of a strong handicap at Windsor when finding plenty for pressure, and the subsequent wins of two horses from that since, including the runner up, give plenty of hope. He won cosily that day and if handling 1m2f he ought to go well.
Eddystone Rock ran well above his odds in the John Smith’s Cup, continuing a profile of in and out runs through the season, and he was one of those who was not well placed in the John Smith’s Cup. Repeat that again and he would have a decent chance but he must back up that run too here.
Speed Company was a good fifth in a Premier Handicap at Leopardstown last time, and the form of that contest looks strong whilst this slower ground might be a help, it’s a worry that his last two wins have come in Class 3 company. What About Carlo is in career best form and was really impressive when taking the Bet365 Stakes but he was beaten off 100 before that so he might be there to be shot at off his revised rating.
One of the best handicapped horses here is Oasis Fantasy, who was beaten a neck off 5lbs higher in this contest last season. Back down to 10 furlongs after 12 didn’t suit the last twice, he is a major threat with headgear back on again.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Murad Khan (10/1 general)
Qatar Vintage Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo) (7f) (2.25) – Aidan O’Brien’s grip on the juvenile division is beginning to harden with a flurry of Group wins in recent weeks and it is a probably a significant sign that he sends Seahenge here, and also that Seahenge is one of only three horses to have won first time out for the stable. He was very green midway through his debut at Naas despite having cover but once he got sight of the leaders he picked them off easily and this extra furlong will be very helpful for him.
That said, there are plenty of decent types in opposition here and it was hard not to be very taken by the debut of Expert Eye at Newbury when he came with a strong late run to win an intriguing novice stakes by a length and a quarter. He had travelled smoothly before showing signs of greenness but nothing was quicker or stronger at the end and he showed a good attitude to get the better of the odds on favourite in second. There was a gap of two and a half lengths back to the third (a subsequent winner) and the fourth was a further three and a half lengths behind (also won next time out).
Mildenberger has won both starts in the shape of a horse who belongs at this level and presents a yard that has plenty of lines to the best juvenile form. Stamina is his forte given his very taking pedigree, and he ill have to set his own strong pace with plenty of quick horses around him; Nevertheless, he’ll take the beating. Cold Stare must be respected having taken the Prix Roland de Chambure at Saint Cloud last time, but he will have to step forward from that; The runner up didn’t like the ground when fifth at Ascot on Saturday.
James Garfield could well have won on his debut in a good Leicester maiden and then taken the Windsor Castle, but on both occasions, he was too green and getting off the mark at Doncaster should have helped him. This extra furlong could suit him a good deal here although the form of the Windsor Castle has been let down.
Zaman was a disappointment in the Coventry but bounced back with a win at Pontefract (with two pattern winners behind) and a fourth in the Superlative Stakes behind Gustav Kilmt. The addiction of blinkers might bring about substantial improvement.
Watheer was fourth on debut when too green for his own good – Nyaleti won that day – but the well-bred son of Leroidesanimaux appeared not to beat an awful lot when taking a Chelmsford novice. Sallab followed much the same pattern when winning at Epsom but that appeared a moderate renewal and a great deal of progress needs to be found for him. Roland Rocks looks exposed and Finsbury Park can do better but probably needs to find too much.
Advice: 2 pts win Expert Eye (9/4 general)
Qatar Lennox Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+) (7f) (3.00) – This is a very strong renewal. The ground will play a big part in the result too, with Diamond Jubilee third and July Cup second Limato unlikely to get the element of firm in the ground that accompanies all his best performances. He could be worth taking on given the likely surface and Librisa Breeze might well have beaten him with better luck at Ascot. Dean Ivory’s charge ran a huge race to be fourth in the Diamond Jubilee given how much ground he had to make up on his seasonal debut. He’s drawn on the outside of a big 14 horse field but he has form over a mile, on all types of ground, and looks the worthy favourite now.
Spirit Of Valor has progressed impressively after well beaten efforts in both Guineas, finishing a neck second in what looks a fine renewal of the Jersey Stakes (when Dream Castle disappointed a little in fifth), and his win in the Minstrel Stakes was fairly comfortable when Dutch Connection was a well held sixth (Stormy Antarctic third there and reopposes). It wouldn’t be a surprise if he kept improving but those efforts also came on quick ground and returning to a slower surface would have to be considered a negative.
Home Of The Brave was second behind Dutch Connection in last year’s renewal but the two appear to have gone in different connections since and one could be nothing but impressed with his return when he comprehensively beat Tasleet, who would go onto bolt up in the Duke of York Stakes and then finish second in the Diamond Jubilee, and the rain came before his win the Criterion Stakes when he beat Jungle Cat and Breton Rock in game style. Well drawn to attack, he can take the beating here.
Plenty of the others have been beaten by each other but Acclaim is interesting. He’s 2-2 over this trip including the Group 2 Challenge Stakes and his Lockinge run can be completely discounted. Things didn’t go much better in the Diamond Jubilee but to be beaten only four lengths wasn’t a disaster here and if he can get the gaps from stall 2 then he should be a lot closer.
Sudeois is the outsider of the field here but if he comes back to form then he’s overpriced and this ground won’t be an issue for him.
Advice: 2 pts win Librisa Breeze (4/1 general), 1 pt each/way Home Of The Brave (8/1 Paddy Power, 8/1 Boylesports)
Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (3.35) – It would be tremendously hard to stop Big Orange here even if he had the penalty that he’d have had to carry before this race was deservedly upgraded to a Group 1 and now without the penalty, or Order of St George to worry about, the two time winner of this race towers over the field here. The worry for him is the ground – as he handles yielding, and handled the softer than usual surface in Dubai on his return, but also thrives on quicker ground and it would pay to watch the earlier races and have visual eyes on the ground before going in.
The ground will not be an issue for Sheikhzayedroad however, who was third in last year’s Gold Cup on a soft surface and who has plenty of other form on testing and slow ground too. He was a disappointment in this year’s contest after a fine pair of runs in Dubai apparently the very fast ground was a big reason of his bad run there. Give him another chance at an each/way price.
She Is No Lady ran a huge race to be fourth there and appears big at 33/1 given that she was about the same distance behind Big Orange that she was in the Henry II Stakes when behind Higher Power; Her improvement appears totally genuine and it’s a surprise that she’s not shorter.
Sweet Selection and Prince of Arran were beaten fair and square and both need to improve.
Stradivarius improved a big amount to win the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot with Desert Skyline in sixth. He’s respected getting a lot of weight, and he did well to get to the front given how much went against him in what turned into a relative dash, but the staying three year olds don’t look tremendously impressive and whilst he’ll improve yet more the percentage call is to oppose both.
US Army Ranger ran his best race for a long time when upped dramatically in trip but he didn’t look straightforward still when third in the Queen Alexandra Stakes and the form of that race is well behind the Gold Cup to boot. There is also the dramatic drop in trip between that trip(2m5f) and today. Qewy was fourth there, a fine effort on his return, and he could come forward and take a hand here. Notice that he has excellent course form thanks to his neck second over 1m6f in a handicap here last year; Oriental Fox won at Ascot but wasn’t as good at Sandown.
Higher Power was well behind Big Orange in the Henry II Stakes but he might have improved to win the Northumberland Plate despite not everything going his way and he shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
High Jinx didn’t follow up his fine return but he will like it if the ground is slow here and he might have bounced when only fifth at York in what was a relative sprint. That said, he must prove that he still has the same ability he showed two seasons ago.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Sheikhzayedroad (12/1 general)
Rest of day 1:
The EBF Maiden (4.10) will be a good old tug of war between those with experience – Algan, Alrahaal, Bombastic, Tribal Quest, Oliver Reed, George, Rebel Streak and Baghdad – against Lake Volta, Makambe, Hell of a Band and Princely.
There won’t be much between them but the form of Tribal Quest’s second on debut has worked out very well and he was headed in the last stride when stepped upto 7 furlongs at Newmarket last time. A drop-in trip should suit him and he would just have the vote although the market will be a crucial tool. Note that Algaam ought to enjoy dropping back to 6 (and the same of Baghdad) whilst Alhraal has experience of the course to boot.
Bombastic might want further but George, who needs to get back on track following his fifth at Newbury, has the best form of ground with cut by a long way. It’s difficult to know what was up with him but he’s had a break since that Leicester disappointment and he had a trio of subsequent winners behind him on his debut. He’s worth chancing to bounce back.
The New & Lingwood Handicap (4.45) is typically competitive Goodwood fare. It will be hard to stop Atletico under a penalty for his inform yard but there are plenty who look upto it if they put their best foot forward.
Ground that was still riding with plenty of cut would make Green Door interesting. He had a very tough task on his reappearance at Ascot and whilst you couldn’t call this race ‘easier’, he should strip fitter and he’s only 4lbs above his last winning mark. That handicap win last June was his first but he wasn’t beaten all that far and he had more in hand that day than the mark of 98 he’s been given here. Amomentofmadness likes these downhill courses and has run well at Chelmsford and Newmarket since finishing a fine fourth in the Epsom Dash.
Vibrant Chords just got the better of him here in May and has had a good break since finishing second over 6 furlongs here last time; He is of interest here and is a worthy second favourite. Boom The Groom wants to be racing on quicker ground here but he’s very well handicapped based on his win in this last year and his sixth in the Dash confirmed that he’s in the right form to strike.
The Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Fillies’ Handicap (5.15) is no race to be chasing on but it might may to chance Pretty Asset. She was well backed before her debut on the July Course and there was never a moment’s doubt as she travelled best and won without much need for urging. This will be a good deal tougher for her but a mark of 88 looked well within her grasp there and it says something that Charlie Appleby is willing to send her here so soon afterwards. Plenty of others will be involved, with Tribute Act perhaps highest amongst the dangers. She had more in hands than her latest margin of a neck over Shenangians at Doncaster suggested and her breeding promises more improvement.
Amablis was an impressive winner at Chelmsford on her return and whilst she got hit with a 9lbs rise for that, it was entirely fair. Soul Silver got a smaller rise for her win in a valuable Newbury handicap when she beat the previous Listed winner Lincoln Rocks and whilst this will be very different the ground is not going to be a problem regardless of how much rain hit the surface. She can confirm that form though, given the monster weight that Lincoln Rocks must carry. Ghadaayer is improving for Sir Michael Stoute although all her form is on ground faster than this. Sayem looks for a hat-trick, albeit taking a steep step up in class.
1.50 – 1 pt each/way Murad Khan (10/1 general)
2.25 – 2 pts win Expert Eye (9/4 general)
3.00 – 2 pts win Librisa Breeze (4/1 general), 1 pt each/way Home Of The Brave (8/1 Paddy Power, 8/1 Boylesports)
3.35 – 1 pt each/way Sheikhzayedroad (12/1 general)
1 pt each/way George, 4.10 (22/1 Paddy Power)
1 pt each/way Green Door, 4.45 (20/1 general)
1 pt win Pretty Asset, 5.15 (4/1 general)
Plus Glorious Goodwood Festival 2017:
Glorious Goodwood Top Jockey – 1 pt William Buick (8/1 Paddy Power)
Top Trainer – 1 pt Charlie Appleby (10/1 Paddy Power)
Nassau Stakes – 1 pt each/way Whueida (16/1 general)
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