Glorious Goodwood Review: Lessons Learned

Frankel won the Sussex Stakes 2011

Frankel won the Sussex Stakes 2011

It was fantastic racing on the Downs last week as Glorious Goodwood staged a vintage five day meeting, with many personal and sporting highs.

But, amongst the glamour and glitz of Frankel's electric gear change in the Sussex Stakes, and Midday's game hat-trick in the Nassau Stakes, what else did we learn from one of the best meetings in the year?

Well, I've put my thinking cap on and come up with five 'takeaways' from the Glorious meeting.

1. Frankel is not as good as Sea The Stars... yet!

The gushing praise which has been lavished on Frankel this week is almost entirely justified, as the 'monster' extended his winning streak to eight, including four Group 1 victories, with a facile verdict over Canford Cliffs, himself a brilliant miler with five Group 1 wins to his name.

The nature of the win was what stood out. Frankel showed a new maturity as he strode down to post in calm and collected fashion. He also lobbed through the early part of the race without any of the previous headstrong pulling tendencies. And, consequently, when he was asked to quicken about one and a half furlongs out, the response was electric and categorical.

Queally asked, Frankel responded, race over in about six strides. Awesome. Clearly, Frankel is a quite exceptional miler. And I'm looking forward to seeing him take on a fuller field. Alas, with the exception of the game connections of Canford Cliffs, my suspicion is that he will scare most prospective opponents away with that high cruising speed and devastating kick.

But.... he's not yet as good as Sea The Stars. Not on the ratings and not in my mind. Whilst it is obviously churlish to decry Frankel's sublime efforts on the track, it is surely short-sighted and remiss to suggest that his brilliance is greater than Sea The Stars, a horse who won six Group 1's in a row in 2009.

Not just that, but he won a Group 1 in every month from May to October, a feat for which I'm struggling to find a comparitor.

Not just that, but he won the 2000 Guineas over a mile in May; the Derby over a mile and a half in June; the Eclipse over a mile and a quarter in July (against older horses); as well as the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes over that trip (in August and September respectively); and then took the Arc over a mile and a half in October.

Let's talk about that Arc win. There were NINETEEN runners! There were NINE other Group 1 winners in the field! Sea The Stars was murdered in his run: messed about with off a stop/start pace, boxed in, pulled too hard. He had an absolute nightmare trip.

And yet, at the finish, Sea The Stars pulled away to win by two lengths from triple Arc silver medallist (and himself a double Group 1 winner), Youmzain.

It was the ultimate performance in a race noteworthy for both the quality and quantity of the opposition.

No, Frankel is not as good as Sea The Stars... yet!

2. Don't be afraid to back a big priced Mark Johnston front runner

Mark Johnston is one of the men to follow at Glorious Goodwood. He loves to have runners and winners there, and it is the natural 'next stop' on the Summer Roadshow for many of his Royal Ascot contenders.

But Goodwood is a quite different track from Ascot. Goodwood is rolling, undulating, up and down. It also has a deceptively sharp home turn which can fan horses far and wide. And of course, it has a slight 'reverse camber' which lugs horses into the far rail, meaning there are many hard luck stories.

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So it was little surprise to see some of Johnston's habitual front-runners get out on an easy lead, control the fractions and attempt to kick for home off the turn.

Jutland in the opening race was a 28/1 shot (33's in the morning, when selected by yours truly). He kicked for home and tried to hang on. Failed. But landed the place part of the bet at 8.25/1. Nice start.

Swift Alhaarth, also 28's having been 33's when nominated by this blog, ran a carbon copy race. Still leading inside the distance. Just failed. Another eight and a quarter points profit.

Bannock in the Richmond. Led most of the way, stayed on under pressure. Not as classy as the winner (and not in the same class), but beat all others at 13/2, having been double figure prices in the morning. Each way steal.

The lesson is clear: look for Johnston front-runners, especially on the round course, and respect their chances irrespective of recent form.

Front runners generally can fare well here, as Webbow proved under a fine ride from Kieren Fallon. And as Boom And Bust proved under a fine ride from Hayley Turner. More on that later.

3. The draw bias is quirky but highly valuable for those that understand it

This year like no other has seen the draw biases become confused. As if it wasn't enough trying to fathom the whims of groundsmen and greenkeepers up and down the land, as they experiment with irrigation methods and topsoils and other means of parting punters from their wonga.

No, not enough. Now we have to contend with the fact that at some - but obviously not all (that would be too straightforward) - tracks, the stall numbers have been reversed.

At Goodwood, it's a case of high is now low; low is now high. With me so far? Good, because it gets trickier.

There are two top bends at Goodwood, rather like on the new Kempton all weather course. The top loop, used for seven furlong and mile races most materially, favours low drawn horses.

Seven furlong race winners in fields of ten or more were drawn 11 (made all, beat 2), 6 of 17 (made all), 2 (1 was third, both 16/1), 1 (15 ran), 2 (17 ran), 4 (16 ran). Easy. 😉

In races at a mile in big fields, low can also be favoured, though not so markedly. Neebras, in box 3, beat Chef in box 2, in the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes; and Boom And Bust (drawn 1), beat Proponent and Pintura (drawn 6 and 3 respectively) in the totesport Mile (19 ran).

Stepping up in trip and using the upper loop, we often find that the draw bias is reversed over 1m1f races. In the opening race on Tuesday, 9 beat 7 and 11 (18 ran). In Wednesday's finale, 7 beat 8 and 13. And, most markedly of all, in the closing race of the week, a 16 runner handicap with one non-runner, the first two home were drawn 16/17. Last one back? Drawn 1 (an 8/1 shot).

So, low over seven and a mile in big fields generally; middle to high over 1m1f in big fields generally.

Obviously, you can't set your clock by it, but it certainly will help more often than not.

4. Richard Hannon is 'the man' in the juvenile events.

When it comes to two year old races, nobody is in the same league as Richard Hannon for finding winners. He ran six 2yo horses at odds of 6/1 or shorter, with the following results:

Date Track Horse Odds Position
29.07.2011 Goodwood Harbour Watch (IRE) Evens 1st/10
28.07.2011 Goodwood Santarini (IRE) 4.5/1 17th/17
27.07.2011 Goodwood Chandlery (IRE) 2.5/1 1st/7
27.07.2011 Goodwood Rockinante (FR) 5/1 2nd/7
26.07.2011 Goodwood Moustache (IRE) 6/1 1st/12
26.07.2011 Goodwood Crown Dependency (IRE) 10/3 4th/13

Three winners, a second (behind a stablemate), a fourth and one disappointing runner (a debutante). Profit of 6.5 points at level stakes.

His record in the previous three years under the same conditions?

Date Track Horse Odds Position
31.07.2010 Goodwood Eucharist (IRE) 3.33 1st/14
31.07.2010 Goodwood Pausanias 3 1st/9
30.07.2010 Goodwood Royal Exchange 3 1st/12
30.07.2010 Goodwood Libranno 1.25 1st/6
29.07.2010 Goodwood Kalahaag (IRE) 4.5 1st/11
28.07.2010 Goodwood Yashila (IRE) 5 5th/9
28.07.2010 Goodwood Major Art 5 3rd/7
28.07.2010 Goodwood King Torus (IRE) 2.75 1st/7
27.07.2010 Goodwood Big Issue (IRE) 2.5 2nd/10
27.07.2010 Goodwood Avonmore Star 5 5th/12
27.07.2010 Goodwood Zebedee 2 1st/12
1.08.2009 Goodwood Stags Leap (IRE) 6 1st/12
31.07.2009 Goodwood Dick Turpin (IRE) 1.2 1st/9
28.07.2009 Goodwood Red Badge (IRE) 6 2nd/9
2.08.2008 Goodwood Tishtar 2 7th/10
2.08.2008 Goodwood Full Toss 4 2nd/16
1.08.2008 Goodwood Sohcahtoa (IRE) 3.33 1st/12
1.08.2008 Goodwood Able Speed (IRE) (OLD) 5 1st/12
30.07.2008 Goodwood Victoria Sponge (IRE) 2.25 5th/13


Eleven winners from nineteen runners! 27.36 points profit!

Respect anything Richard Hannon runs at a short price (6/1 or less) in a two year old race at Glorious Goodwood.

5. Have a good old tilt at the placepot at Glorious Goodwood!

It's never happened before. Sure, I've managed to 'get the placepot up' at Glorious Goodwood before now. I've even managed it twice in the week. But last week, I played it four times (Tuesday to Friday, was on best man duties at a wedding on Saturday), and I scooped it four times.

I've been using a new perm, and the info above. I won more than fifteen hundred pounds on the placepot, and cleared more than twelve hundred in profits.

At all the big meetings, there is a LOT of dead money in the pools. Occasional punters, and punters who only play the bet when they're at the track, will swell the coffers of the pool meaning that if you're smart / lucky enough to find a placed horse in each leg, it will likely be worth your while.

Tuesday and Friday were mediocre payouts (£50 and £120 ish respectively), but Wednesday and Thursday paid well. £504.10 and £761.40 respectively.

They paid more than they should have, and this continued on Saturday, when the placepot dividend returned £3,221.40 for a £1 unit stake.

I didn't even look at the racing on Saturday because I love my mate and wanted to focus on something more important. But dang, I missed a trick there!!! 😉

Big meetings.... play the placepot.

So there you have it. My five takeaways from last week's Glorious Goodwood meeting. What a fantastic meeting it was. What was your personal highlight? Two ways to share. You can either vote in the poll up the page and on the right, or leave a comment below. Or both! We'd love to hear your thoughts.


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14 replies
  1. brian
    brian says:

    Hi Matt

    placepot Saturday inflated because of the fatal accident in the first race would have been considerably less if the first three in the betting hadnt been involved.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Brian, thanks for that. I wasn’t aware of that (second race actually). Having watched the race, I’m not sure any/all of them would have been placed, but of course the top 3 in the betting out of the frame is good for any placepot.
      It was an ugly scenario, though, and of course that’s why Ryan Moore is out for the season. (Still playing catch up on the weekend action).


  2. Jay
    Jay says:

    Hi there congratulations on your wins, would’nt care to tell “us all” just how you did it in detail would you ie: details of your new placepot perm etc..,altjough in broad agreement with what you sat re: the amounts to be had at big meetings,I always tend to be put off by holding the belief
    that really BIG syndicates are after exactly the same pots,and have a lot more “firepower” than “o solo mio”

  3. Mike Dennis
    Mike Dennis says:

    Hi Matt
    Just joined GeeGeez before Goodwood and impressed with your blogs, not a fan really of blogs but I find yours interesting. Didn’t do the placepots as I don’t normally, but I picked out some decent winners and had single bets. I like following TRENDS but was disappointed on sat with Andy Newton.
    Look forward to more from you again.
    By the way printed of your Summer Jumps from Gavin, had a 2nd and a winner already.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Mike

      Welcome along. I hope you enjoy the site. As you’re new, you’ll not have seen Andy Newton tip the 16/1 winner in the International Handicap at Ascot just last weekend.
      Alas, we’re none of us clairvoyant and I need to manage your expectations right now about the art of the possible.
      Geegeez is, I hope, a great free site full of strong (and sometimes very good) opinions. It also contains lots of stats and trends, and the purpose of the TV trends is to tell you what’s happened in the past. How you use that information has been left deliberately open-ended.

      Again, welcome on board and I hope you’ll come to understand what we’re about and that we’re human! 😉

      Best Regards,
      p.s. feel free to read back on some of Andy’s recent contributions here, to get a more holistic view of his work:

  4. James
    James says:


    Really enjoyed Goodwood from the armchair this week and the daily coverage from Geegeez was excellent as expected.

    Couple of points I noticed. Backing a horse Ryan Moore rides is not good for your heart. He often rides good horses from off the pace and takes a big chance that either a) They will get there in time and not be outstayed and/or b) they wont meet trouble in running. Just watch the Fiorente and Laborinto races for examples. I like him and think he is a good jock but I think he had rode best for a certain Mr O Brien this season.
    Secondly, since Goodwood I have read as much Frankel bashing as I have Frankel praising. I sometimes can’t believe what so called experts are saying. Why we can’t just appreciate the horse for what hes done I don’t know. Yes some of his speed figures aren’t as good as the visual performance. Yes hes only proven at a mile up to now and yes Canford underperformed at Goodwood. However both in looks and how he races hes the best I’ve seen, without a doubt. I haven’t lost a penny on him yet and there are not many horses I can say that about. There is no need to compare him with horses of the past those races are just not going to happen. In my opinion tho he would have beat STS over a mile no problem. Over 1m2 or 1m4? Will have to wait and see if he runs over those distances. But I wish people would just stop looking for chinks in these types of horse or reasons to crab them. They are all unique and a pleasure to watch. Recently in racing weve read the same sort of thing about George Washington, Dubawi, Zarkava etc etc. They are all champions in their own right. Enjoy and back them if you can get a price your comfortable with.

    Best regards,


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Good points James and in one respect I do agree with you. I’m certainly not bashing the Frankel, I’m simply responding to those who have placed him too high in the historical pecking order, in my opinion.
      And ultimately, any sport where champions are defined by their performances against other champions will lead to historical comparisons. That, in my view, is to be embraced as much as the individual merits of races.
      After all, if we all agreed, how dull would it be?!

  5. Peter Colledge
    Peter Colledge says:

    Matt, you hardly mentioned Boom and Bust, Hayley’s brilliant win up the rail. Top tipping!

  6. Frank
    Frank says:

    Hi Matt
    Swift Alhaarth and Boom and Bust, especially the latter made my week.Keep em coming.Many congrats!
    Top man Matt

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Frank. As Peter C noted earlier, I’ve been quiet on the Boom And Bust score. This is because of the combination of two reasons:

      1. It WAS a great call 😉
      2. My extremely hectic schedule meant I didn’t get time to back it 🙁

      Conservatively, I estimate that cost me 700 quid. Very frustrating, but mitigated a lot by the number of geegeez readers who did back it. Perhaps you’ll buy me a beer when you see me! 😛


  7. David
    David says:

    I agree with all that you say about ,Sea The Stars, and it is amazing how poeple soon forget his brilliant six group one’s in a season and the way he won his races culminating in that difficult but brilliant win at Longchamp.

    In saying this I do not wish to take anything away from the brilliant season that Frankel has had and I hope he gets the opportunity to prove himself in a major overseas meeting as ,Sea The Stars, did and go on to the Breeders cup which ,Sea The Stars ,did not.

    Just as an aside it will be inteesting to see how the offspring of the two great horses fare in the future.


  8. denismcgrath
    denismcgrath says:

    hi matt i agree entirely with your appraisal of the frankel debate .sea the stars was the best horse i have ever seen purely of his ability to get out of trouble no matter what was put in front of him ie the arc which typified what a brave horse he was to win given all the problems he had in running .what he achieved will not be betteredin my lifetime as anne holland said in her book only once did any of sea the stars races approach aclose finish .if trouble appeared he cast it aside with his scintillating speed and he kept improving with every race.not for him the tag miler or stayer for he proved his superiority at three seperate distances .in short sea the stars is the model racehorse .remember this folks SIX GROUP ONES IN SIX MONTHS INCLUDING 2000 GUINEAS THE DERBY AND THE PRIX DE LARC THE TRIOMPHE .THE BIG THREE HAVE NEVER BEFORE BEEN ACHIEVED BY ONE HORSE IN ONE SEASON .i have had the pleasure of visiting sea the stars in gilltown stud in co kildare and he had covered over 250 mares with most of them in foal so he is as good a stallion as he was a race horse .frankel you are an amazing horse but you have big shoes to fill i wish you contined success .regards denis

  9. Pat Dennehy
    Pat Dennehy says:

    Hi Matt,
    Thank you for your insights into goodwood saved me from a disasterous Galway
    On Frankel he is a top miler no doubt….. but please dont put him in the class of the great Sea The Stars not nearly as versatile and durable.
    Thanks again

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