Two days left of Glorious Goodwood 2010, dear reader, and I'm off to the track later for some Pimms and jollying up, neck pain notwithstanding.
A much better day personally yesterday, with grand old stagers, Illustrious Blue and Borderlescott, lighting up both the meeting and my punting fund.
However, the lustre of those two memorable performances was tarnished somewhat by news that both Borderlescott and Age Of Aquarius, favourite and leading the Gold Cup field when breaking down, may have run their last races.
Luckily, it looks as though neither horse was fatally injured, but the ground would appear to be on the (very) fast side of good at Goodwood. On the subject of retirements or likely retirements, one who has definitely run his last race - and not before time! - is Caracciola, who ran 8th of 9 in the Goodwood Cup.
Credit to the old boy who, at 13, has fifteen career wins including the Cesarewitch, and the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot, as a venerable 12-yo last season. Enjoy the grass, myÂ friend. 🙂
Now then, a whistlestop tour of the races today. I've not had a chance to look properly and will enjoy my train ride with the Racing Post, so please treat the following with the disdain it probably merits! Caveat emptor...
2.10 The opening race is all about Duncan, who should have the class to see these off. Or is it? Well, yes, probably it is. But one that has caught my eye from a cursory glance is Golden Sword. Second in the Irish Derby, and fifth in the King George last season, he had two runs at Meydan for Mike de Kock in the Spring, including a third place in the Group 2 City of Gold Stakes, and 28/1 might be too big.
Jane Chapple-Hyam trains him now, and she's pretty wily as it goes. Fitness clearly has to be taken on trust, but there are several in this field who will never be capable of the level of form Golden Sword has shown on a number of occasions.
2.45 Ah, the consolation sprint race. 28 of 'em, over the quick five here. Bonne chance to one and all! Not a serious betting proposition, but through the placepot we must get. This will likely sort the eight horses men from the banker boys!
The jolly, Victoire de Lyphar, is a three year old bidding to do what no 3yo has done in this race in the past decade, and win... Readily struck through. Dandy Nicholls, a four time winner of the race in the last decade (but not since 2004), brings in six here.Â Taking out the fav leaves a quintet, of whom the most reliable may be Joseph Henry, who finished second in this in 2007 and third in it in 2008. He ran over the longer trip in the totespot Mile last year and, whilst not getting quicker at eight years of age, he knows his way home on the Sussex Downs.
The last six winners have lugged nine stone or more, but only one has shouldered more than 9-05 (the returning winner, Pearly Wey). Aye Aye Digby is in that band, and his last three course and distance runs have seen a win, a third and a fourth in big fields. He makes the list.
Ryan Moore is a very interesting jockey booking for another who likes it round here, 33/1 shot Kerrys Requiem. She's on the list too.
And, (much) more in hope than expectation, I'll throw in Five Star Junior and Bagamayo for the 'pot.
No idea who's going to win, but I'll hope to scrape through the placepot with one of the longer shots and start dreaming about a nice week in the sun!
3.25 After 28 runners in the sprint, we've got 20 in the Mile, and sunny dreams may quickly be dashed (especially due to the Pimms exertion that will be kicking in by this time)...
This normally goes to a short priced four or five year old, carrying less than nine stone. Unfortunately, there aren't any in the field this year! Looking up the weights from bottom to top, Mahadee might be overpriced from a favourable draw.
That said, three years can run well here, with Fifteen Love's 2008 victory supported by Dunelight's runner up finish in 2006. That would bring in Ransom Note at the bottom, Oasis Dancer, and Sea Lord for last year's winning trainer, Michael Johnston. The Ransom Note has a shocker draw so is opposed in favour of the other two.
No idea who wins, but I'll probably have a small interest on Sea Lord.
4.00 Some welcome respite from the big fields but that doesn't necessarily make this easy. Six up and coming juveniles go to post, and Libranno has the pick of the form with his Group 2 win in the July Stakes. Improvement is almost guaranteed and he's the bet of the day, albeit at cramped odds. He's also the placepot banker.
4.35 I've had no luck in this nursery down the years, and I don't expect today to be much different. In truth, if I get through the placepot (IF I'm still going in it!), I'll be delighted.
High draw seems important, so I'm looking at Memen, Bathwick Bear and something else.
5.10 This used to seriously favour high drawn horses, but the last two years have taken that back a bit. Still, I'll use that as the first port of call. Pyrrha has the plum box, and a win at similarly tricky Lingfield in the locker, and is a ready 'pot pick. Jacqueline Quest is drawn 1, and the even money jolly looks a lay, despite plenty of smart form earlier in the season (including a disqualified 'win' in the 1000 Guineas for 'Sir' Henry).
Tropical Paradise will make up my last leg hopes.
5.45 I'm not even going to try to offer a token here. You're on your own, and better off for it!
Right, I've got to run. Have a great day, and wish me luck!