Very close to the placepot yesterday, dear reader, but no Havana. Finjaan was the one that got away. Given a brief mention in despatches but absent from my permutation. Naturally, I had eight Â£1 lines barring that race, meaning I didn't win Â£2,940. Marvelous. Not.
No matter, for today is another punting day and, obviously, now that the horse has bolted is high time I closed that placepot stable door. (Am I making any sense this morning?!)
Straight to it, and we start with an unfathomable conundrum, and it seems to get more tricky thereafter. Classic placepot material!
20 runners and 2m5f should whittle the tote pool men from the boys early doors. Historically a race won by 4 and 5yos, the last two runnings have been taken a 6yo and a 7yo. It's also been won in the last decade by a horse carrying 7-12 and another lugging ten stone.
My oh my... looking at course form helps, with both Baddam (last year's winner) and Sweetheart having savoured a win here. The early money is for Sweetheart, Last Flight and Markington. And there are any number of unexposed horses at the trip.
Som Tala is likely to take them along at a fair meter, so I'll be looking for those that like a true stamina test.
Sweetheart ticks lots of boxes and has to be in the mix, and I'll add Baddam, Swingkeel, Aaim To Prosper, Casual Garcia and Swordsman to the ticket. Six chances and only a limited degree of confidence in progression to leg two.
Selection: Sweetheart (token)
Danger: Aaim To Prosper (amongst many)
Placepot: 2, 4, 7, 15, 19, 20
A 2yo race over 7 furlongs, and Big Audio sets the standard after his Chesham Stakes win at Royal Ascot. He's been tumped since at Newmarket, although he didn't get the smoothest of routes that day. He's also one of only three in the race to have won over the distance already.
Xtension bids to uphold the form of Canford Cliffs, he being the closer pursuer of that outlandish victor, albeit at a deferential six lengths distance. The Cliffs is trained by Richard Hannon, who also has Big Audio, so he really ought to have a handle on the form of this race. That said, Xtension has the more improvement, that runner up spot being only his second start against four runs for the Audio.
Paul Cole won this three years ago, and his Mata Keranjang is most interesting. Just the one run, in a Listed race in France for unraced horses, to his name thus far. Obviously, he'll be better for the experience but he'll need to be.
With the Godolphin operation beginning to fire now, and Lanfranco Dettori having won three of the last ten renewals, all for different stables, Chaperno must also come into calculations.
Selection: Big Audio
Danger: Mata Keranjang
Placepot: 1, 2, 7
Arguably the race of the week, with dual Guineas winner Ghanaati, six times Group winner Paco Boy (including two Group 1's), tough and consistent Rip Van Winkle, and unexposed Forgotten Voice all squaring up in a battle of the ages and sexes to truly savour.
Chuck in Lord Shanakill as well, who is no back number.
I've already stated in my preview of the week that I think Paco Boy is the one to be on, and I'm not going to change my mind now. He's got rock solid form in the book, has proven he stays the trip, and acts on most ground.
The form of his win in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot looks robust, and - although Ghanaati and Rip are very tidy sorts - they'll need to be maturing at a rate of knots to beat my Boy.
Malibu Bay looks to be in for the pacemaking job so there shouldn't be any dilly dallying, and - given the field size - the best horse ought to win.
My cash will be on Paco Boy.
Selection: Paco Boy (nap)
Back to more trivial stuff now, but certainly no less competitive. 16 handicappers, mostly in form, over a mile and a half for this affair.
Mark Johnston saddles no fewer than five of the entries and, noting his predilection for this track and his yard's current form, it may be churlish to ignore any of them. However, I'm going to take just Matraash from his squad, and add a few more lower down the card for my placepot permutation extravaganza.
Sir Mark Prescott is a man to follow in such races, and has the favourite, Braveheart Move, here. He's an automatic selection: he'll relish the trip (won a similar race at Chester's May meeting), is very fairly weighted, and holds a St Leger entry. He's also by sire of the season, Cape Cross (daddy of Sea The Stars amongst many others).
My other two for the placepot at Chiberta King and State Banquet. The former is an Andrew Balding inmate, and - like most of these - promises to be a better horse than he's demonstrated to date. He lost nothing in giving best to Cosmic Sun (reopposes here on slightly less favourable terms) in a hot hot hot Royal Ascot handicap last time out and, but for that, he'd have been unbeaten in three runs this season.
The latter is a less obvious pick. Stepping up in both trip and class, after a couple of placed efforts over a mile and a quarter, Hughie Morrison's charge will need to benefit considerably for the extra two furlongs to get competitive. I just have a sneaking suspicion that he will do that.
Selection: Braveheart Move
Danger: Chiberta King
Placepot: 3, 10, 12, 13
A maiden for fillies may seem like respite after what has been before. But when you consider that only two of them have form in the book, and that form seems moderate, it may be no easier to get through this penultimate leg of the 'pot. Indeed, Poppy Seed, one of the two with form and the likely favourite is a non-runner, which leaves me in even more of a quandary.
The early market points to Beyond Desire and Nimue, with the second of those having received a more consistent and sustained level of support.
First Term and Damietta make up the next pair in the market and, to be honest, I'm hopelessly stumped by this race. I certainly won't be having a bet in it, but I do need something to carry me to the last leg on the placepot. Having used up 72 lines already, I don't have much ammunition to play with here, especially as the last race is a minefield as well.
The betting is usually pretty spot on here, and I'm going to plump for unnamed favourite, and get my prayer mat out. (Cop out or what?!!!)
Fifteen ladies contesting a handicap over nine furlongs. At least they all have some form to go on!
The one I quite like is Club Tahiti. A winner on debut last season, she was then highly tried in two Listed contests, before returning to handicap company last time and finishing a very promising 3/4 length 4th. She was given a lot to do that day and, assuming her pilot (Eddie Ahern) keeps her closer to the action this afternoon, she will make them all run.
Up against her are myriad dangers, all set to be stropping and flouncing their way down the home straight. It's anyone's guess which of these will deign to give of their best, so I'll be looking to more consistent animals for my wager (which may have been long gone by now anyway).
Alsace Lorraine has masses in her favour. Trained by the pedagogic James Fanshawe and ridden by 'Frank' Spencer, she's been in the first two on all three starts this season. Her breeding suggests the extra furlong will suit and she ought to go close.
I'm tempted to put Tottie in for this fillies and mares handicap, but will stop short of that, for fear of being reported to the chief beak at the Womens' Institute (Hackney branch). Instead, I'll look to Richard Price's Ocean Transit. She's been in good form recently, and has a prominent racing style which can be pretty effective here at Goodwood.
It's to be hoped that she can hang on in there up front until the end and, if she does, she'll help make what should be a fat juicy dividend for any lucky placepot ticket holders still clutching their bit of white paper.
Selection: Club Tahiti
Danger: Alsace Lorraine
Placepot: 3, 5, 9
Total placepot lines: 6 x 3 x 1 x 4 x 1 x 3 = 216
A big seven furlong tace to finish, and high draws must again be the place to be here. It's too hard for me (as is much of the racing today), so no more than a nominal selection is King's Wonder. Well enough drawn, and with just two turf runs (a win and a second), he ought to go well.
It's worth noting that six of the last ten runnings were won by 3yo's. There's only four in the race, and it wouldn't surprise me if one of those came home in front. Perhaps the well drawn prominent Johnston runner, Proclaim.
Selection: King's Wonder
Best of luck for day two - see you here tomorrow for more of the same.