Glorious Goodwood 2014: Day 4 Preview and Tips
It doesn't get any easier, does it? On Wednesday, 25/1 Braidley was a close fourth in the first race (three places), Fox Trotter was a never nearer fourth, short headed for the place (three places; Ivawood won easily), Brown Panther pulled his chance away and the octogenarian (well, he's eight anyway) Cavalryman won, Missunited won but at the cost of her racing career, and Balmoral Castle was withdrawn.
To Friday, and I'm seriously short stacked for time. It's 10pm as I sit down to write this, so partial notes to follow.
1.55 Coutts Glorious Stakes 1m4 Group 3
With Hillstar a non-runner, this looks between Encke and Pether's Moon. The former hasn't run since winning the 2012 St Leger, and was one of the al Zarooni doping nags - a nice follow on to Estimate on Thursday. If he's fit after that break, and most of the Godolphin horses are, regardless of the trainer, then he is rated half a stone superior to the rest. He goes on quick ground, and was a close second over course and distance prior to winning the Leger. I'll be watching the betting but if any support comes for Encke he must have a fine chance.
If not, Pether's Moon is the one. He likes it here, as he showed when winning a course and distance handicap last year, but he has proved hard to win with, especially on quick ground. He's finished 202233 on quick turf, which is expensive to follow. Still, he's 'bronzed' on his last two starts, both in Group 2, and the drop to Group 3 is in his favour.
Of the remainder, Quest For Peace returns from a ghastly spell in Oz, and has won this before. But he has plenty to prove just now. And David Simcock fields a pair of curious runners. One, Battle Of Marengo is well rated (110) but out of form; while the other, Cafe Society, is well regarded but has plenty to find. Neither make much appeal in a race where Encke and Pether's look the clear pick.
I'll chance Encke's fitness at the prices.
Selection: Encke 4/1 general
2.30 Thoroughbred Stakes 1m Group 3
A very good three year old mile contest, this, with a couple of Guineas placed horses in the running. It looks between Shifting Power, Bow Creek and Rapprochement, with preference for the former.
The Hannon-Hughes partnership took a while to get moving this week, but struck twice on Thursday, and they have a number of good chances today. Shifting Power lost little in defeat to Kingman in the Irish 2000, when the ground was bottomless. Previously, he'd been a three length fourth in the British version, and he looks a solid and consistent option, reliable on his mark of 115.
That's the highest in the field and it means, if he runs to 115, that his closest rivals will need to improve between four and seven pounds to beat him.
Lightning Thunder is rated 111 but looked jaded last time at Royal Ascot, and she has a bit to prove for me, having been thumped by Rizeena and the rest in the Coronation. She's danced all the key dances this term, though, and this is a weaker contest, albeit against the boys. If she can bounce back, she has prospects, but she's not enough of a price for me to risk it.
Rapprochement has had just one run - a win - in a Newmarket maiden. He won by eleven (Ee-Lev-Un!) lengths, which doesn't happen often in Newmarket maidens. That was just two weeks ago, and who knows what the form is worth? Obviously, he could be a machine, but we'll know much better after this event. At 8/1 there is sufficient fat in the price to take a punt, perhaps.
Bow Creek has been rested, and is a solid Listed class performer. This looks an above average Group 3 with a number of decent Group 1 form lines converging, though, and with an easy time on the lead looking unlikely, he could struggle to tame this mob.
If Shifting Power handles the track/ground combination - he's a big horse apparently - then he should win. If he doesn't, Rapprochement is firmly in the 'could be anything' category and might be worth an each way tickle if all eight stand.
Selection: Shifting Power 15/8 general
Each way: Rapprochement 8/1 BetVictor, Skybet
3.05 Betfred Mile 1m Class 2 Handicap
A great betting race, and traditionally a strong trends race too. Low draws have a significant advantage, as do horses aged three to five, and those in the top five last time out.
I'll cut to the chase: I really like Captain Cat. He's well drawn in six, he likes fast ground, highly rated horses have a strong record in the race, and he goes well fresh. A mile is his trip, his trainer won back-to-back renewals of this in 2007 and 2008, and I've had a bit of a glory punt on him (i.e. far too much staked on such a difficult race!)
The others that appeal are George Guru, Steeler and Our Channel. George Guru has a good draw, but needs to break alertly to avail of it. If he can, he has plenty in his favour at a decent price.
Steeler and Our Channel are both classy horses drawn high. The latter, as the only three year old in the race, is interesting. He ran second in a Grade 3 at Arlington in America last time out, and drops back a furlong here. The old turn back play is one I like, and he has good acceleration, which he'll need to come from off the pace and mow the trailblazers down.
But this is a case of looking for the (Captain) Cat's Whiskers, or else I'll be crying over (too much) spilt milk... as well as a desperately weak mixed metaphor.
Selection (please!) : Captain Cat 8/1 general, 9.5/1 Betfair exchange
3.40 King George Stakes 5f Group 3
After Tuesday's disastrous pace prediction, I'm loathe to go again, but I will anyway. Gulp. Actually, this looks fairly straightforward with bundles and bundles of pace drawn low, and that side will surely lead for a long way.
Olly Stevens has a legitimate looking favourite in Extortionist, a pure speedball that won at Royal Ascot last year as a juvie, and has won two of his last three over five furlongs. This is the same grade as that most recent win, and drawn in eight, he's in the right place to get towed along on that torrent of toe to the business end.
At a huge price, Brown Sugar is drawn on the wrong side most likely, but he won the Group 3 Molecomb over course and distance at this meeting last year, and if he's fit to fire first time up after a near 300 day layoff, 40/1 is much too big.
Kingsgate Native and Moviesta make minor appeal too.
Each way at a monster price: Brown Sugar
4.15 6f Nursery Class 2
I've never backed the winner of this race, and my placepot normally goes down here too, so caveat emptor on the loose observations which follow. Actually, no, I'm not going to write anything because in all honesty, I'm guessing.
L'Addition might fit the bill... (Note, that's a play on words, and not a tip!!)
4.50 Oak Tree Stakes 7f Group 3
This used to be a belting draw race as well, for some reason. Traps one and two had won ten of fifteen renewals up to 2011, and in fact very low draws were 2nd, 3rd and 4th last year.
This time around, it's Evita Peron and Queen Catrine in the 'shortcut to a fortune/the poorhouse' slots, and they both have chances. Queen Catrine is especially interesting: she was giving favourite Muteela seven pounds when a short head behind that one in the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. And yet, today where they race off level weights, Catrine is thrice the price of Muteela.
True, she's run a poor one since Ascot, but those prices don't make sense to me. She's the clear value pick of the pair, especially given her pace versatility. She's probably best when held up, however, and with Muteela playing the part of the hare maybe QC can finally get the job done under Jamie Spencer...
Evita Peron has won both of her seven furlong starts, but they were both on the soft side of good. Whether she can be as effective on this much quicker turf is open to question and, as a daughter of Pivotal, it's not a given. It will be interesting to see if she stands her ground in the morning.
I won't be getting too excited in this race - I probably won't be able to afford to after the Cat splat in race three - but Queen Catrine could give her followers a thrill with a late, late show.
Tentative Selection: Queen Catrine 7/1 PP, Coral
I'll be drunk by this point, and will throw a piece of paper (hopefully with a small denomination printed upon it) at a bookmaker just before the last race in the hope of receiving some larger denominaton pieces of paper in return.
Best of luck with your Friday wagers. I'm afraid I'll be travelling/hungover after Friday's fare, so there will be no Saturday insights. You may be mightily relieved by that declaration!
Wishing you a great weekend, and good luck!