Glorious Goodwood Day 3 Preview, Tips
It's the middle day of five, and our destiny on the Downs is beginning to be determined, from a punting perspective at least. Thursday features some high class action, spearheaded by the Goodwood Cup and ably supported by the Richmond Stakes and the Lillie Langtry Stakes.
As with each of the five days, there are seven races to work through and, as with the first two days I've covered here (I'll take Saturday off due to the effects of being at the track on Friday!), I'll ignore the maiden event due to cluelessness (ignoring those wags who suggest that doesn't usually stop me from offering an opinion!!)
2.05 Handicap Stakes (Class 2, 1m2f)
You'll know the drill by now. A big field handicap contest opens proceedings, with any number of possible players. Eighteen three-year-olds are declared for this one, meaning form in the book is only the tip of the ability iceberg and conjecture will frame those brave/reckless enough to have a wager.
As good a place as any to start is with a well-bred dual winner, and Godolphin's Racing History fits the bill. By Pivotal out of a Lando mare, it's not hard to see why connections started this fellow off in a soft ground maiden, but he was far from comfortable that day at Newmarket finishing well back as the 7/2 favourite.
The faith invested in the market there was repaid on his 2015 debut, when he waltzed home eased down by five lengths over a mile at Haydock. That race has worked out pretty well with the third, fifth and eighth all winning since, and the second, fourth, sixth and seventh all in the frame since.
Racing History showed further progression when stepped up to today's trip, and placed in a handicap, for the first time. That was at Chester just twelve days ago, and he was again much the best. Clearly on a rapid upward curve, a rise of eight pounds to 99 may not be enough to stymie the hat-trick bid. He's the most obvious one, with 9/2 expected to be a fading memory by off time.
The Queen is doubly represented, her pair of protagonists being Sir Michael Stoute's Mustard and William Haggas' Awesome Power. Both have fared ostensibly well with inside draws though neither has habitually raced sufficiently prominently to take best advantage of that. Still, history can only take us so far, and it would be logical for one or both to be ridden in the vanguard.
It is difficult to separate the pair, but if forced to choose, I'd side marginally with Awesome Power, who pulled his chance away last time and ought to be able to get plenty of cover off a faster pace this time around.
The Johnston pair of Resonant and Triple Dip are expected to lead the charge for home, with the former already a course winner, and a distance winner. As we know from Blue Wave on Tuesday - and plenty of others down the years - discounting a hardened Johnston 'capper off the front is akin to folly, so 12/1 about William Buick's mount will resonate with some. Ahem.
Riding in his last Glorious Goodwood, Richard Hughes will be even more motivated than normal to score winners. His mount, Gibeon, is more exposed than many but on the flip side he's the quickest in the field to date. Staying on seconds behind Stravagante at Epsom and Resonant at Newmarket have given the impression that a licketty-split ten furlongs might be optimal. He'll get that setup here, so we'll find out whether the impression is more Mike Yarwood or Edgar Degas... if you see what I mean.
There's every chance I haven't mentioned the winner in what is a really tough race to fathom. RACING HISTORY has an obvious claim as an unexposed easy two-time winner, and is worth a small win bet if you can get 9/2 (or even 4/1). Of the others, 14/1 Gibeon will probably be thereabouts if Hughesie can get a position from his draw in stall 14.
2.35 Richmond Stakes (Group 2, 6f)
That's more like it. A high class juvenile sprint with a manageable field. In the last seven years, a Richard Hannon (Senior or Junior) entry has snaffled the prize five times. In the non-winning years, Hannon representatives ran second and third.
In that context alone, Log Out Island demands respect. But there is more than trainer history to recommend this chap. He had the clock-watchers clock-a-hoop (see what I did there?) after a rapid racecourse introduction over Ascot's five furlong strip. All the rage next time out in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, he was curiously sent into a duel with stablemate, King Of Rooks, with the upshot being that both were softened up for the late charge of Waterloo Bridge.
Log Out Island was sent to Ireland just nine days later for the Group 2 Railway Stakes over six furlongs where he folded tamely enough to be a four lengths third. There has to be a chance that race came too soon for him, and there has to be a chance that this race - a good month later - will see him not embroiled in a battle for the lead. With three runs to his name, he should be able to rate his turbo a touch better, and it's much too early to be writing off that early promise. 11/2 is tempting.
Favourite is Shalaa, a double Newmarket scorer, the second of which was a Group 2 six furlong event. He showed considerable quirkiness in that July Stakes triumph, however, swerving violently when presented with the whip. Whilst it's not impossible he could win the Richmond without Frankie resorting to the persuader, it must be considered unlikely; and when he does, what will be the response?
Of course, on the other hand, his supporters will ask how far would he have won with a straight passage? Perfectly fair question, but perhaps not one which is factored into a price of around 6/4.
Air Force Blue has the beating of Log Out Island on a line through Rockaway Valley, who he beat on his debut. Such collateral interpretations are dangerous, especially in horses so young and receptive to progression, but what is not perilous is suggesting that Aidan O'Brien's War Front colt ran a rock solid race when second to Buratino in the Coventry. That effort entitles him to be towards the top of the market, a location which offers little in the way of scope for a value punt. A possible winner, for sure, but not on my ticket at the prices. [Stop press: Air Force Blue is a non-runner]
Two unexposed sorts are Tasleet and Adventurous, both of whom can be expected to step forward here. The form of Tasleet's brace of wins has worked out pretty well - albeit from limited evidence thus far - and he could get close to the frame at around 12/1.
Adventurous is yet another off the reworked 2015 version of the Mark Johnston production line, where a stronger focus on the two-year-olds has paid handsome dividends. This one, a son of Invincible Spirit, made all and bolted up just a week ago. He's clearly thought to have thrived on that to have been entered here, and he's the mount of Joe Fanning who could have probably had the pick of the 'Always Trying' pair (Riflescope being the other). 25/1 is worth 25p about this 'now' colt.
It's a cracking looking heat, and there are plenty of ways to turn when seeking out a bet. For me, I respect Shalaa's ability more than I do his odds; and I speculate that, off a little break, Log Out Island might show his last run to be all wrong. For pennies win and place, Adventurous is just that in terms of an ambitious wagering alternative.
3.10 Goodwood Cup (Group 2, 2m)
Glorious Goodwood's staying championship race, the Goodwood Cup has had some wonderful winners down the years. Brown Panther, Yeats (twice), Persian Punch (twice) and Further Flight (twice) have all been screamed home by a delirious crowd. But the combined decibels of those finishes were as nothing to the crescendo reached when Double Trigger completed his hat-trick of Goodwood Cup wins in 1998.
He picked up £40,000 and as many new fans as pounds sterling for that effort, whereas this year's first prize is a chunky £170,000, courtesy of those fine Qatari fellows and their bottomless sponsorship bucket.
They, and we, are rewarded with a dozen stayers, all bar one of which are rated 105+. And the one that isn't has a most interesting profile, as we'll discover.
It's 4/1 the field here, testament to the competitive nature of the race, with the early favourite being Ed Dunlop's Gold Cup winner, Trip To Paris. As well as Ascot's big pot (they very much disapprove of it being called the Ascot Gold Cup!), Trip To Paris has also plundered the Chester Cup for his overjoyed syndicate owners this season.
He started this campaign in a Kempton handicap back in March. That was over a mile and three furlongs, and the further he's gone since the better he's looked. An opening mark of 88 rose to 103 after a hat-trick completed at Chester, but the four-timer was foiled by a luckless run on his first foray into Group company at Sandown.
He showed that to be an unfair reflection of his progression when claiming that Group 1 prize.
If there is a niggle or two, they are these. Firstly, his best two runs have been over further: the Chester Cup is almost two miles three furlongs, and the Gold Cup is over two and a half miles. This is a quick two miles, something he's not faced since winning a Ripon handicap in April. Second, he carries a four pound Group 1 penalty that, according to official figures, means he has something to find with four of these, and puts him only on a par with two more.
And thirdly, Trip To Paris has had a busy old season. Starting early, this will be his seventh race since March. Mitigation comes in the fact that he's had six weeks off since that glorious day at Ascot ahead of what could be a, well, Glorious day at Goodwood.
Indeed, Trip to Paris is not even the highest rated in the field. Those bragging rights belong to Big Orange, who went up seven pounds to 116 for winning the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting. That was a mile and a half, and he's won over a mile and three-quarters; but he's been well beaten on both tries at this distance, both at Ascot. Moreover, he does like to lead in his races, something he may struggle to do against Vive Ma Fille.
Vive Ma Fille is interesting for a number of reasons. She's owned by Ron Huggins and trained by Mark Johnston, the same connections who enjoyed that champagne treble moment back in 1998. As a three year old filly, she gets both an age and a sex allowance, as a consequence of which she lugs twenty pounds less lead than the lads.
On what she's shown so far, she'll not be good enough, but there were signs in her last run - a close fourth at Royal Ascot in the Queen's Vase - that she's making steps forward. That was her first try at beyond a mile and a half and, with just seven races to her name, she can show more again.
One of the best judges of pace in the weighing room, Silvestre de Sousa, takes the ride and I'd imagine this duo will get the better of Big Orange in the battle for the early lead. How long she can stay there is the big question, with 16/1 almost enough to want to tease out an answer.
Mark Johnston has another option here, and maybe a better one. Oriental Fox will, like Vive Ma Fille, be bidding to give his trainer a sixth win in the race. Two miles is a minimum for a horse that, in a 16 race British career, has yet to win at shorter than two and a quarter miles (he did win over a mile and a half twice in Europe prior to joining Johnston in 2013).
Another reservation is that he's yet to win in Group company, but he's lightly raced in the last two seasons - just five starts - and has run well in a Gold Cup. I'm not excited by 9/1, in truth.
This is a really difficult race to unravel, and I'm drawn to Quest For More's profile more than most. True, he's stepping out of handicap company, but his last two runs - a win here over a mile and six, and another in the two mile Northumberland Plate - stamp him as a Group class animal. But for an arguably unlucky seasonal debut, which he may have needed, he'd be seeking a five-timer here. With ground, track and trip no issue, 8/1 looks a bet.
One I haven't yet mentioned is Pallasator. Sir Mark may just be on the wane a little in recent seasons, and Pallasator has never quite fulfilled the promise of a couple of years ago, when he looked set to take high rank in the staying division. It wouldn't be a shock if he won, and I'd be quietly chuffed for his trainer, but he's had more chances at this level than most.
Simenon has been an amazing horse for his connections, mixing three wins over hurdles with four on the level including a memorable double at Royal Ascot 2013. He's a high class stayer and another for whom this is a minimum trip. In spite of that, he has plenty of top class plodding form that puts him in the mix and he could well make the frame.
A very tough race to fathom, and not one I'll be getting stuck into. For smallish stakes, Quest For More looks worth this step up in class and, in the absence of a compelling profile at the two mile trip, he'll do win and place at 8/1.
[NB Since I wrote this post, the price has capitulated markedly on Quest For More. I haven't backed it yet, and won't be at 11/2. If he drifts on course to 13/2 or bigger, I will be involved. Otherwise, it's not a betting race for me.]
3.45 Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 3, 1m6f)
Sticking with the stayers, this time it is the turn of the fillies for a Group 3 over a mile and three-quarters. A fairly striking observation with regards to previous winners is that ten of the twelve since the race was incepted finished first or second last time. That equates to 83% of the winners from just 43% of the runners, and is a reasonable place to start.
Just five of these fourteen ran 1-2 the last day, headed by Alwilda. Like Pallasator to some degree, she's another perennial placer who may just not have lived up to her early promise. Now five, she represents an age group that have outperformed their numbers, and comes here off the back of a close second in a German Listed event. Who knows what that form is worth? [Loads of people probably, but not me!]
What we do know is that she was 121 at the trip prior to a too-bad-to-be-true effort in the March Stakes over course and distance last summer. She deserves a chance to prove that was an aberration, and she might run better than 20/1, without necessarily tempting a bet.
The three year old, Simple Verse, is stepping out of handicap company, and gets a healthy stone weight for age against her elders. That hasn't done too much for the chances of previous Classic generation fillies, but Ralph Beckett is respected - especially with his lasses - and Simple Verse looks in need of this extra quarter mile. She's got previous course form too, when second on her penultimate run.
Lustrous is another trying the trip for the first time, and another who was staying on over a mile and a half the last day. She has been keeping good company in the context of this race - finishing second in a Group 2 last time - so this is a drop in grade for her. On the downside, she's run moderately on her two Goodwood outings, notwithstanding that one of them was in Group 1 class.
Sweeping Up looks outclassed (cue easy win!), but Jordan Princess has strong claims. Luca Cumani has hit a nice bit of form in the last few weeks, evidenced by winning the King George and the opening race of Glorious Goodwood.
This daughter of Cape Cross is stretching out to fourteen furlongs for the first time, and she's not certain to see it out on pedigree. More favourably, she wasn't stopping at the line when winning a twelve furlong Listed event at Newmarket last time, and has plenty of Pattern form at that trip. She certainly deserves her chance, and 5/1 in a place is fair.
The one I like is ARABIAN COMET. Second in this race last year behind the titanium tough Missunited, she will be suited by what should be a solid early pace, and she's sure to stay and to handle the track. Brought to the boil steadily this season, she'll have a fair chance of turning the tables with Jordan Princess on their Newmarket running over this extended piste and on her third run of the campaign. Trainer William Haggas continues in excellent fettle and has a very good long-term track record at Goodwood.
She's 5/1 in a couple of places (1/5 odds 1-2-3) and I'm hanging fire in search of the same price with one of the 1/4 1-2-3 books, as I think she'll be very hard to keep out of the frame.
4.20 Fillies' Maiden (Class 2, 7f)
Pint of pale ale and a packet of cashew nuts, please...
4.55 Nursery Handicap (Class 2, 7f)
Two year old handicaps are about the hardest races of all to solve, and yet this one has fallen to a horse priced 6/1 or shorter in six of the last seven years. Let's stick to the top of the market and see if we're lucky...
Montsarrat is an obvious place to start. Unbeaten in two, both over seven quick furlongs, he's also run a fast time already. Having bagged a maiden at Salisbury, the form of which is not pulling up any trees, he then prevailed in a match race at odds of 1/6. So, essentially, he's had a win and a racecourse gallop.
He must have a chance of stepping forward again after just two runs, and should go well.
My Amigo has only had one run, and that was two months ago. It was a win over six furlongs, and his trainer is in great form especially with her juveniles this season. He's bred to appreciate the extra furlong, but so too are most of the others.
At bigger prices, 25/1 Jaadu is mildly interesting. Mick Channon got this lad handicapped nice and early (two months ago) over five and six furlongs, the third run for which was at Goodwood, and he's booked the services of Andrea Atzeni for this handicap debut. I'd imagine the son of Holy Roman Emperor has been tightened up considerably in the intervening period and he might outrun his odds.
I could go through plenty more but I'd be wasting your time as well as my own. I honestly don't have a handle on this race, so I'll stick with Montsarrat as an obvious runner likely to go well. Jaadu may step forward markedly on this first 'cap spin.
5.30 Handicap (Class 3, 5f)
A computer malfunction means I lost my previous version of this race preview, and on the basis that I'm unlikely to be correct in such an impossibly deep sprint handicap, I'll summarize if you'll forgive me.
Wild Tobacco ran very fast in a race which has worked out well, and 14/1 seems on the big side despite a long absence. Maljaa runs for white hot Roger Varian off the same mark from which he's gone very close the last twice. And the trio of Rathaath, Midlander and Judicial are all putting multiple winning form on the line so must have chances too.
If you need a winner to get out of trouble, I'd suggest looking at the evening cards at Epsom and Ffos Las: they will almost certainly be far easier to solve!
p.s. A good day on Wednesday for me without backing a winner. Arod in the 'without' market and a decent each way double on that one and Disegno means I should get out in front on the week. But more importantly, how are you getting on? Leave a comment and share your wins/woes, and what you like on Thursday. 😀