Glorious Goodwood 2014: Day 2 Preview / Tips
A predictably trappy opening day was salvaged to some degrees by the wins of Cotai Glory and Extremity. But my reputation may lie in tatters after the attempt to showcase the Gold toolkit around the 5.20 sprint was abject.
Obviously, I didn’t reckon on Dandy Nicholls and his son contriving to make a good horse look awful over the course of six months. Ho hum. Onwards and downwards.
Day Two has a similarly sticky feel to it, with big field handicaps the mainstay, mercifully supported by a couple of classy interjections.
1.55 Goodwood Stakes 2m5f Handicap (Class 2)
The longest race of the week bullies us off on the second of five days, and there’s little distance form to go on, that much is for sure. With the clerk of the course sprinkling on 5mm of water overnight, expect quick, but safe, ground.
This race has a most lop-sided look to it, courtesy of a young lady with the highest rating and the lowest weight. Such is the weight for age scale – and it’s commensurate exaggeration over this extended distance – that Maid In Rio receives fully eighteen pounds by dint of being three years old.
She’s compounding that seemingly over-generous concession by coming into this race off the back of a nine length win in a Class 2 two mile handicap at Ascot last weekend.
Fast ground will cause her no issues either, so surely she’s home and hosed, right?
Well, clearly, she has an outstanding chance, and is by far the most likely winner. But home and hosed, she ain’t!
If the case for the defence is robust, then let’s hear that of the prosecution…
First, this will be Maid In Rio’s sixth run in as many weeks. That’s a lot for a young lass to accommodate, even one as teak tough as this filly. Second, although she looked a facile victor that last day, it is generally the case that when horses appear to have had an easy time of it, the contest takes more than meets the eye from the core protagonist.
Third, Silvestre de Sousa was given a very easy lead on board there, and she’s likely to be taken on this time by some or all of Stopped Out, Lion Beacon and Sunny Future. It’s not guaranteed that she’ll be as effective if not asserting from the ‘get go’.
Moreover, she might not stay. Yes, she won over two miles last time; but that will have ridden like a very easy two miles given the rope with which she was presented on the lead there. She dawdled and sprinted and left them behind. And, as a daughter of Captain Rio, himself a sprinter (!), she is racing over two miles further than he would have.
Be all those things as they might, she remains comfortably the most likely winner. But at 2/1 I’ll be playing elsewhere. So, where?
To cut a very long story at least a little shorter, I like Solar View and Longshadow as viable each way alternatives. Both are taking big steps up both in trip and class, but there are reasons for optimism all the same.
Solar View is trained by Sir Mark Prescott, a master of the dark art of handicapping, and he was able to eke out four victories for this chap as a three year old. Now five, he missed last year, but seems to have come back stronger than before. Winning on his return from that layoff, he was deeply disappointing in defeat when fourth to Annaluna over two miles last time out. That race almost certainly came too soon after his win, and he probably ‘bounced’. After a month’s rest, he can be expected to show more like his ‘A’ game now.
Bred to stay, it’s a bit of a guessing game as to which of them will stay this far, and he’s a more acceptable price when such conjecture is aforethought.
Longshadow is a horse on a roll. He’s won three of his last four, all in Class 5 and 6 races, granted. But he’s most effective on very fast ground, and he could improve for the extra half mile-plus of this race.
Indeed those low grade handicaps have been working out rather well, with all of them having a subsequent win rate of 27% or more. He returns to the track just four days after his most recent victory, a demolition of Jan Smuts and co, and he did the ‘two wins in four days’ trick last month.
He obviously needs to improve a bit to win this, but he is a gelding on the up, and is available at 16/1.
There are lots of horses with chances that I haven’t mentioned, as you’d expect from a Festival handicap.
Most likely winner: Maid In Rio 13/8 general
Each way alternatives: Longshadow 18/1 BetVictor, Solar View 11/1 BetVictor / PP / Skybet
After doing it in to geegeez readers yesterday, SkyBet are offering money back as a free bet if favourite (Maid In Rio if she runs) wins. This is for all customers and is a really excellent offer. Here's my very low risk bet from yesterday, which netted me a very tidy £75:
Racebets are offering money back as a free bet if 2nd to the favourite in this race. (The fav is 13/8 chance, Maid In Rio)
2.30 Gordon Stakes 1m4f Group 3
A traditional trial for the St Leger, the Gordon Stakes is for three-year-olds only, and has been won in recent times by very good horses like Conduit, Harbinger and Noble Mission. Conduit was the last winner to go on to win the St Leger, in 2008.
It’s possible that I’ve got this race all wrong, because my going in position is that a number of the horses at the top of the market are over-rated by the official handicapper.
Let’s start with Somewhat, who was rated 102 prior to his last run, but has now been elevated to 115. In fairness to him, that last run was a third in the Coral Eclipse, a Group 1 at Sandown. But he led there, and set steady fractions, meaning he had the run of the race.
That performance was misaligned with the balance of his previous efforts, this term at least. Additionally, the step up to a mile and a half is not guaranteed to suit. So, while he is an in-form horse from an in-form team, he’s not a 115 horse. At least, I don’t think he is.
Scotland, Snow Sky and Red Galileo are the next three in the ratings – on 109, 108 and 107 respectively. The first named will get the trip, and is very closely matched with Snow Sky on their respective King Edward VII Stakes’ runnings at Royal Ascot.
The jury is out on how strong a race that was, with the three subsequent racers all unplaced, including easy winner, Eagle Top, who was fourth in the King George at the weekend.
Red Galileo for his part was fifth in the Derby when last seen. Ostensibly a good effort – in fact, it was a good effort considering he was a 100/1 shot there – he ran on through beaten horses and blatant non-stayers and ought not to be good enough to win this.
The one I like is the unexposed Observational. Just three runs into his career, he put two silver medals behind him last time out when winning a Listed contest on soft ground here over a furlong shorter.
Prior to that he’d run a close second in a very valuable sales race, and for one so inexperienced show a lot of mettle there.
He’s bound to take another, well, bound forward, and that from a rating of 103 puts him right in the shake-up.
Trainer Roger Charlton is in great form, and has an enviable course record too. 11/2 is enticing.
Selection: Observational 11/2 Ladbrokes
3.05 QIPCO Sussex Stakes 1m Group 1
The feature of the day, nay week, and yet there are just four runners after the sick note sent by War Command’s trainer. Although this race has two great race horses in Toronado and notably Kingman, it will not be a great horse race.
That is because a) Kingman is already a better horse than Toronado, b) Kingman will improve again here, and c) Kingman gets eight pounds in weight for age.
Kingman will win, and there’s not a lot more to be said. He's a 4/9 chance generally.
Betfair Sportsbook are offering new customers 5/1 Kingman, £10 max. That's still £50 more than you have right now! 😉 Click here for 5/1 Kingman
Winner are offering new customers £10 at 2/1 Kingman (or if you're bonkers £10 at 3/1 Toronado). Click here for this one.
3.40 Vintage Stakes 7f Group 2
A bit of a stamina test for the babes here, as eight two-year-olds bid for this Group 2 pot, and it revolves around Aiden O’Brien’s Highland Reel.
The son of Galileo (who else?) is already as short as 20/1 for the 2000 Guineas next May, and there will be premature clutchers of ante-post slips browning their slacks if he gets beaten (says Matt, who has Faydhan for the 2000 Guineas in a VERY ambitious wager – more of that anon).
He’s already won over a mile suggesting that he might actually want further than seven now, and further than eight next May. But then, what do I know? He was very impressive in despatching of two subsequent winners by an enormous twelve lengths, but there is a chance he could be tapped for toe over what will be a very quick seven.
Mark Johnston runs a coupled entry, and one of them – Chadic – looks very likely to lead at a good gallop. On the fast ground, the question is how quickly the air will start to thicken for those in the van, and how well will Highland Reel travel against a more electric meter than he’s experienced to date?
The fact remains that Highland Reel has the pick of the form, and is likely to improve again if not inconvenienced by the drop in distance. That will make him hard to beat.
If he is to be beaten the most credible alternative is Ahlan Emarati, who will be having his fourth start. A winner on firm ground in a Bath maiden on his debut, he’ll not be troubled by quick turf; and he’s performed with merit on both runs since, both over six furlongs, both on good to firm, and both in Group 2 company.
Bred to appreciate the seventh furlong, Ahlan Emarati had a better fancied O’Brien horse two lengths behind that last day, in the Railway Stakes, and he could give another O’Brien horse a thing or two to think about here too.
The once-raced unbeaten Tupi will have his supporters as the representative of the Hannon-Hughes axis, but this is a really tough ask for a second career start, even for a precocious Hannon hoss that has proven stamina.
I’m not expecting the rest to win, but that’s not to say one of them won’t!
Selection against the favourite: Ahlan Emarati 5/1 BetVictor / Coral / Ladbrokes / PP
4.50 Fillies’ Handicap 1m1f Class 3
You’re on your own in the fillies’ maiden at 4.15, and you may as well be on your own in this one too. It’s a case of lightly raced types versus more battle hardened ladies, and I’m siding with scope and inexperience.
Specifically, I think Johnny G’s Water Hole has much in her favour. She’s well drawn in 15, has improved to a mark of 87 in three runs, only the most recent of which - a cinch of a win - was on turf, and she is highly likely to move into the 90’s in ratings terms today. Whether that’s enough to win depends on how much more others can produce, but it’s very likely the winner will be recording a career best.
Another thrice-raced filly catches my eye, despite what may be a sub-optimal draw in four. Palerma is trained by Mick Channon, and she was a handy winner for the first time the last day. That was 45 days ago, over a mile on good to firm, and there's a good chance she’ll have improved physically in the interim, so ought to be capable of more. Prior to that win, she'd had a spin around here, staying on into a close third, beaten less than a length. Although that was on soft - and over a quarter mile shorter than today - it showed she will handle the track and that's often a question mark for inexperienced types. She looks a smidgen of value.
Others to look twice at include Hiking and Principle Equation, though I'd be against Patterned on the basis of inexperience (two runs, the latter a win on good to soft) and a perception that she might prefer to get her hoof imprinted (by Dansili out of a Pivotal mare). Cue easy win for Patterned...
Selection: Water Hole 10/3 Boylesports
Each way alternative: Palerma 12/1 BetVictor
5.25 Turf Club Stakes Handicap 7f Class 3
Twenty declared for the 'lucky last' (very few tracks do irony around the 'lucky last' quite like Goodwood). Seven furlongs around the bend might suit prominent low draws, but it can also suit waited with high draws too. The latter group need a strong pace and good luck, so my couple of quid are on the former.
I've actually had a small bet on one in this, and I'm tempted to have another small bet. Focusing on those runners that like fast ground and seven furlongs, and ideally have Goodwood track form and are close to or lower than their last winning rating, I've settled on Related and The Confessor.
The Confessor needs little introduction: he's run here nine times, winning once and placing on five further occasions. Now four pounds lower than his last winning mark after a few 'sighter' efforts over course and distance, he gets his favoured combination of conditions for what looks a 'job' run. Indeed, in a 31 race career, he's only run once in Class 3 over seven furlongs on good to firm... and he won. He should be able to sit handy from stall eight, which is how he likes things, and can make the frame again.
Related is less exposed than The Confessor, with just a dozen races to his name. He has a solitary win which is a moderate strike rate, in truth, and his handicap mark hasn't fluctuated further than three pounds since his initial mark of 80 was allotted nine races back.
So why the fancy? Well, although winning has been tough, he's been in the first three on eight of those twelve occasions, so he is consistent. And in his two Class 3 seven furlong handicaps on good to firm, he's finished 23, beaten less than a length and a half combined. And he's run two close placed races over course and distance this season. And he's a prominent racer (often) drawn in one.
Although I hate the phrase - and the thinking behind it - Related is 'due one', and at 14/1 he's a little bit of a bargain.
I'm tilting at windmills with that pair and if they're a donkey, ho hey. (That's probably the worst pun I've ever written. So, to clarify, it's a Don Quixote line. A god awful one, granted).
Two versus the rest: The Confessor 14/1 BetVictor, Related 14/1 BetVictor
What are you backing today? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.