Busy betting ring at Goodwood. 3/8/2019 Pic Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com

Glorious Goodwood 2023: Day 3 Preview, Pointers, Tips

To Thursday, the middle day of five on the Sussex Downs, and another octet of head-scratchers over which to ruminate. The feature is a ten furlong fillies' Group 1, the Nassau Stakes, and a belter it looks, too. We start, though, at 1.50 with the...

1.50 Kincsem Handicap (1m2f, Class 2, 3yo)

Mark Johnston won this race just the eight times (!) since 1998, while John Gosden has four scores in the same timeframe. Both have their sons on the license now and both teams have multiple representatives this year, two for John and Thady, and three for Charlie. 23 of 25 winners since since 1998 were returned 12/1 or shorter.

A couple to consider, then, are the 1-2 from a Newmarket July meeting handicap, Killybegs Warrior and Obelix. The latter is two pounds better off for a 3/4 length beating, and he travelled like the best horse before flattening out up the hill. On this slightly easier track, he might be able to reverse the form. Both have shown a good level on softish turf.

Dylan Cunha was a top tier trainer in his native South Africa and is quietly establishing himself in Newmarket. He saddles Silver Sword, ridden by Cunha's countryman, Greg Cheyne. This fella refused to race on his first two starts - where three strikes means you're out - before showing his true colours in good maiden company. He has since stepped forward further in handicaps, waltzing away with a Ponty mile event last time. He's a danger; so too are many others!

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2.25 Richmond Stakes (6f, Group 2, 2yo)

Aidan O'Brien has won this Group 2 twice, from nine runners, since 1997, so it's not a race he frequently targets. Clive Cox has a better record: two wins and a further place from five runners. APOB saddles Unquestionable, Cox Jasour, and that pair head the market. Jasour was impressive when scoring in the July Stakes, also a Group 2, last time and though the ground is likely to be quite different here he's clearly a very fast colt.

The once raced winners Vandeek and Sketch are 'could be anything' types, with no subsequent runners from their maiden scores to test the form at time of writing. The bubble looks to have burst with Asadna, who at one point had the clock watchers purring but hasn't yet backed up the mighty impression of his first day at school.

3.00 Gordon Stakes (1m4f, Group 3, 3yo)

Aidan has run seven horses in this established St Leger trial in the past ten years, winning twice and with all bar one of the septet making the frame. That makes Espionage an obvious favourite and of equally obvious interest. A head second in the Group 1 Criterion International at Saint Cloud last autumn, he's won his sole 2023 start, in the Listed Lenebane Stakes at Roscommon. Espionage was easy to back that day, perhaps hinting that there was plenty more to work with as the season progresses. If that's right, he's going to take a lot of beating.

His rivals include The King's Royal Ascot winner - Desert Hero - as well as the third from the Queen's Vase, Chesspiece, the third from the King Edward VII Stakes, Artistic Star, and the winner of the Golden Gates Handicap, Burdett Road. The other to line up, Canberra Legend, was fifth in the Hampton Court Stakes, meaning Espionage was the only one not to run at the Royal meeting. He could be a nice horse in the making and, with a fair bit of pace likely on despite the small field, there should be no hard luck stories.

3.35 Nassau Stakes (1m2f, Group 1, 3yo+ fillies & mares)

A Group 1 and a field befitting of the top level. Nashwa is a three-time G1 winner, including this race last year and the Falmouth Stakes over a mile last time, and she handles soft conditions well as she showed when second in the G1 Prix de l'Opera last October. In opposition is the best filly in France, Blue Rose Cen, a winner of her last five races. That quintet includes the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc weekend, the French 1000 Guineas (Poule d'Essai des Pouliches) and the French Oaks (Prix de Diane), the latter being the third G1 on Nashwa's palmarès, achieved a year prior.

Blue Rose Cen tends to race handily whereas Nashwa is a little more versatile. In a race where there is no clear pace angle - though the doubly-represented Coolmore team may send Never Ending Story forward - the French filly may get first run on Nashwa.

Is there anything else in the field to lay it up to this tip top pair? Probably not, though Al Husn has been progressive at a lower level, winning six of her last seven starts. Indeed, her most recent verdict was over none other than Nashwa, on the Newcastle tapeta at Group 3 level. Nashwa went on to win that G1 Falmouth next time up and may have been prepping on the sand. Nevertheless, Al Husn does have one up on her more illustrious rival; so, too, does Above The Curve, who won the Group 2 Prix Corrida earlier this year. She had race fitness on her side there, and Nashwa is expected to be a different proposition now.

This looks a crackerjack of a match to watch but is less appetising from a betting perspective with the market looking about right on the top two and nothing else holding any appeal.

4.10 Jaeger-Lecoultre Nursery Handicap (7f, Class 2, 2yo)

Nursery handicaps are not my thing. This one has, in recent times, typically been won by a horse lugging nine stone-plus and emerging from a lowish - but not very low - stall. The 91-rated Balon d'Or will jump from box ten and is set to shoulder 9-09, ten pounds clear of his field on ratings, meaning everything else carries less than nine stone!

A pair on 8-13 and berthed in three and six respectively are Bits And Bobs and Mission To Moon. Jim and Fitri Hay got on the scoresheet on day one at their favourite meeting, and they have Phone Tag from stall seven, whose trainer, Hugo Palmer, does well with handicap debutants.

But, honestly, I don't know.

4.45 Buccellati Handicap (1m, Class 3, 3yo)

Another big field mile handicap where the percentage play is to side with inside drawn runners (though that was a disastrous ploy in the fillies' mile handicap on Tuesday). It is noteworthy how little advertised front end speed there is in this twenty horse herd which could make for even more hard luck stories than normal if they stack and pack up. There's a good chance that Joe Fanning goes on atop Charlie Johnston's Cancan In The Rain, and he might be able to control the tempo in a bid to make all.

 

 

Skysail was a course and distance winner in May on his first try at a mile. He returns having been second last time out in a similar race and, if not too far from the pace, could again go close. The favourite, Isle Of Jura, appears well drawn in four in his hat-trick bid: he's been geared down when winning the last twice and may be a cut above this lot. He's probably the bet, and 10/3 currently doesn't look unfair.

5.20 British EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes (7f, Class 2, 2yo)

Nope. Next.

5.55 World Pool Handicap (5f, Class 3, 3yo)

High draws dominated the straight track races on Tuesday (when I'm writing this), so the forward-going Democracy Dilemma could be a play from the stands rail position. Hollie Doyle is two from three on David Evans' speedster.

If they go too hard, perhaps the next highest-drawn, Desert Games, will take advantage. He's been consistent in defeat, and in fact I tried to buy him at last month's July Sales (he made too much dough, alas). Nibras Racing had more cash than me and he now runs for them and trainer Hilal Kobeissi. Victory here would get them a third of their investment back, and a fantastic afternoon in the sun (regardless of the weather) to boot.

Desperate Hero is a third high-drawn runner with chances: he all but won a valuable Racing League prize last week and comes here fit to fire from what looks an optimal draw and run style combination. Former geegeez-sponsored rider and friend of the site David Probert will steer.

No refunds if the low draws prevail!

Matt

 

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