Glorious Goodwood 2017 - Qatar Goodwood Festival
It is Glorious Goodwood week – Qatar Goodwood Festival to give it its full title these days – and lets all hope it is glorious again this year. This is one of my favourite meetings of the year with five days of racing, seven races each day, thirty-five in total. There is always a lovely atmosphere at what is without doubt one of the most beautiful tracks in the country with fantastic views across the Sussex Downs. There are few places in the world I would rather be in the middle of the British summertime than looking out across the Downs as top class thoroughbred horses go racing by. It might be a case of Galoshes Goodwood rather than Glorious looking at the forecast but that won’t stop me having go!
Walton Street won well for us yesterday but it remains a nightmare week thus far going into day 5. Faint heart never won fair lady so here we go again.With the ground drying a little for the Qatar Stewards' Sprint Handicap Triple G is on Gin In The Inn who gets in just 1lb higher than when runner-up on a similar surface at Pontefract and he has the assistane of Ryan Moore. 15-2 is available.
The Summer Handicap is another real puzzle and the answer might lay in Shraaoh with the cheekpieces going on all being well the missing piece of the jigsaw for the 4YO. Hopefully the ground has dried out enough as I took the 13-2 early.
The Group Three Gordon Stakes looks to be between Crystal Ocean and Khalidi and for Triple G the one is the Sir Michael Stoute trained colt at 11-8 with the softer ground in theory not a concern for the son of Sea The Stars.
The feature event of day five is now the six furlong cavalry charge that is the Stewards Cup. More open than Billy Bunters fridge Triple G has plumped for last year's Wokingham winner Outback Traveller at a big old 28-1 each-way. Visor goes on underfoot conditions arent horrid for the gelding and it is hoped he will bounce back to form.
The Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes should go to Bathsheba Bay at 15-8 who brings the best form to the table of what we know.
Taamol ran no sort of race on quick ground at Royal Ascot last time but on this going is fancied to win the Qatar Handicap at 9-4. Medahim is the danger.
The lucky last of the week is the Qatar Apprentice Handicap. Storm Ahead has dropped to a workable weight and has scored on soft ground so is a tentative pick at 13-2 to get back to winning ways.
Two winners yesterday eased the pain a little - what a tough week so far though! Today features a total of four Group races and it being Goodwood there are of course a couple of fiendishly tricky handicaps.
The Group Three Betfred Glorious Stakes kicks off day four. Frontiersman was on the list but doesn't line-up for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin now. Lord Yeats may be allowed an easy lead here and as the only one with any form on soft is the pick at 4-1.
The Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes is depleted to say the least. In the absence of ante-post favourite Trais Fluors Triple G is on Zainhom at 4-1 who has a bit of useful form in defeat and his sole win came on good to soft.
The Betfred Mile Handicap at 3.00 is as ever about as easy as herding chickens to pick the winner! Blair House was a good second in the Royal Hunt Cup in June, is open to further improvement and his record shows ground conditions will not be a worry. Get on at 11-2.
We are over the five for the Group Two King George Stakes at 3.35. Marsha would be tempting but she has no form on the going. One that does is Profitable and off the back of his second to Lady Aurelia at Royal Ascot is the one at 9-4.
In the Betfred Mobile Nursery Handicap Holy Tiber is 2 wins from 3 runs this year all those runs on soft. This is step-up in class but she is on the upgrade and at the price of 13-2 is the one for Triple G in a tricky heat.
4.40 it is the Group Three Queens Plate Oak Tree Stakes. Al Jazi won this last year but has no soft form - one run at two when well beaten - so
cant be bet at the odds. At the prices its Sainted for Triple G at 6-1 as the chestnut has wining runs on soft and heavy.
The lucky last is the Betfred
Supports Jack Berry House Handicap. Walton Street made a perfect start in a Pontefract maiden last month for the Appleby yard on good-soft ground. Should be up to this level at least and at 4-1 is the
choice in a wide open heat.
So far so bad with nutty results and crazy weather!
It’s Ladies day and we have the Magnolia Cup charity race to kick things off - all very nice but it is a bit of a sideshow truth be told and it’s certainly no betting heat so moving on…….
The 1m2f Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap is the first race proper with Hold Sway being the one for Triple G his win being on good-soft at HQ. Grab the 7s.
Next is the Group Three Markel Insurance Fillies' Stakes - the Lillie Langtry to you and me. Endless Time has to be the one at 11-4 if she is back to the sort of form she was showing in 2016 with the return to this sort of ground suiting.
The Group Two Richmond Stakes should go to July Stakes with winner Cardsharp at 5-2 he has form on softer going and should defy the 3lb penalty he has to shoulder .
The Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes is now part of the Thursday card and Winter has been short for this for some time understandably so. This would be the first time she has gone over a mile but the form if there for all to see if she stays in this ground. Wuheida doesn't line-up so I have gone with So Mi Dar who will stay and has form on soft to her name grab the 4-1.
4.10 is the Telegraph Nursery Handicap. Richard Hannon put up Tangled as one of the horses he was
most looking forward to for this week in a recent interview. Take note and take
the 9-1. The colt has been
progressing nicely and broke his duck at the fourth time of asking at HQ last
time winning with what appeared to be a bit in hand; Ryan Moore rides.
Victoria Racing Club EBF British Stallion Studs Maiden Fillies' Stakes is a real head scratcher on what little we do know Roulette showed promise on her debut at Newmarket and is the selection at Evens.
The Tatler Handicap is the lucky last and another heat that has been desimated by the weather. Of those left in Intense Romance has form when soft underfoot and looks as solid a bet as you are going to get at Goodwood today; get the 4-1.
Day one to the Bookies - results you just wouldn't predict! Best shirt pressed, champagne chilled, wad of cash in the back pocket, no I am not on a good thing with a Lithuanian lap dancer it's Sussex Stakes day at Goodwood. Short and sweet again today I am up and at ‘em at silly o’clock! There will be rain today just a case of how late in the day but it should arrive before the end of the racing.
Matchbook Betting Exchange Goodwood Handicap over 2m4½f kicks off day two. What a head scratcher this is as they set-off to twist and turn around the Sussex Downs. Star Rider won last year so has to be considered as does Hawkerland off the back of a very easy win at Chepstow over two-mile even though this is a huge step-up in class. The grey mare is a proven stayer though and is a tentative pick at 10-1.
Race two is the Better Odds With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap. Secret Advisor was third in the G.2 Queen's Vase at Ascot and a repeat of that effort wins this. Take the 5-1 about the Charlie Appleby colt.
At 3.00 it’s the speedsters over the five for the Group Three Molecomb Stakes. Wesley Ward has left three fillies at the National Stud to be campaigned in Europe over the summer including the Queen Mary Stakes runner-up (tipped on here) Happy Like A Fool who has been at this. She will be the the trainer's first runner on the Sussex Downs and on a track that is renowned as speedy a Ward inmate has to be taken very seriously. Ryan Moore rides and I am on at 11-4.
The dish of the day is of course the Group One Sussex Stakes and it’s another potential cracker with Ribchester and Churchill are due to line-up against each other again and it kind of boils down to if you are prepared to forgive Churchill the lacklustre fourth in the St James's Palace Stakes or not? Ribchester has to give the Classic generation 7lb and that on OR’s gives Churchill the edge but the four-year-old has proved himself just about the best older miler in Europe with wins in the G.1 Lockinge at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. I have Evens about the older horse.
The babies line-up for the Markel Insurance Maiden Fillies' Stakes and there aint a lot of form to study here! I have plumped for Lady Dancealot, more in hope than anticipation at the early 7-1.
At 4.45 we have the EBF Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap. I put up Skiffle a few days back in the Listed Aphrodite Stakes at HQ and she disappointed somewhat. White Chocolate was second to Titi Makfi last time she ran but is 5lb better off at the weights today and it did look as though the handicapper has the other filly in his grasp now when she was fourth at HQ. Take the 5-1
The lucky last is Cantor Fitzgerald Handicap. Sun Lover has gone close finishing second on both starts this year and has to be on the shortlist he has a has a handy draw and is the one for Triple G at 5-1. Truth Or Dare has been running consistently well all season and another solid run can be expected and perhaps even that elusive first win since August 2013!
It is set fair for today all being well and the going is officially good-soft for day one. We begin at 1.50 with the first of the 35 races to come the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap. Baydar has four turf wins to his name three on softer going so it would be no surprise if the four-year-old got back to form on the likely underfoot conditions. Last win was a valuable event at Newbury in September off 99 so his mark of 101 today doesn’t look too bad and Josephine Gordon gets on well with him, on-board for two of those victories. At 22-1 he is an each-way poke in a wide-open start to the meeting.
Group Two Vintage Stakes for two-year-old colts has some potentially good’uns lining-up. Headway was heading the market in the run-up off the back of his second in the G.2 Coventry at Ascot but he won’t be here and that form isn’t brilliant to my eye. The one for me is once raced maiden winner Seahinge who must improve for that debut win; he dwelt at the start had to be pushed along at stages was switched about a furlong out before staying on well in the final of the six furlongs at Naas to led in the shadow of the post. He will have learnt a lot, will surely appreciate the step-up to seven here is clearly the Ballydoyle No.1 for this and should be backed. I have the 5-2.
The Group Two Lennox Stakes over the seven is at 3.00 and it could be a cracker. Dean Ivory believes the return to seven furlongs will see Librisa Breeze in an even better light but seven-furlong specialists like Breton Rock and Dutch Connection are likely to provide stiff competition. Limato is the favourite Henry Candy's five-year-old has gone close twice over six furlongs this season and he will return to seven for the first time since last autumn and does have a Group One win to his name over seven furlongs in last year's Prix de la Foret but softer underfoot conditions will not help him. "We've declared him but he'll only run if the ground is suitable" said Candy. Home Of The Brave has form on the softer ground and arrived two from two do fate this season have won a Listed event at Leicester and the G.3 Criterion Stakes at HQ last time; both over seven. 8-1 is available and in a wide open contest he has a big chance.
The newly upgrade Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup takes centre stage at 3.35 on day one as of this year. Sadly we won’t get the Ascot Gold Cup one-two rematch as Order Of St George won’t be here. No prizes for guessing that I am on Big Orange with the big fella just about my favourite horse in training right now. Having won this the last two years he is Evens for the hat-trick and I think we should all prepare for history to be made as Big Orange wins a third successive Goodwood Cup. Frankie Dettori is possibly more enthusiastic then me writing in his Ladbrokes blog last week "I can't wait to ride Big Orange. He's everybody's favourite. After all, he's won two Goodwood Cups. The key with him is the weather. He needs dry weather. I really hope we don't get those summer showers to spoil it. Apart from that, he is a horse who wears his heart on his sleeve and tries like hell."
It is a little bit pin sticker time for the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing EBF Maiden Stakes with such little form to go on. Godolphin and Charlie Appleby send $575,000 yearling Tribal Quest who sets the standard on what we do know with two runner-up efforts; the second of whci when just beat by Global Giant looking promising as he was clear of the rest. I have taken a chance at 5-2.
The New & Lingwood Handicap is down the 15 runners so no safety net for fourth in the each-way market. Boom The Groom won this race last year and was fourth on his other run here. He is back on a winning mark at 102 and it would be no surprise to see a big run from the six-year-old. Take a chance at 7-1.
Lucky last on day one Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Fillies' Handicap. Godolphin filly Pretty Asset was clearly expected to win on debut and duly did at 6-5. It’s hard to know what she beat but she did it nicely and as a once raced winner she is open to any amount of improvement. I have the 4-1. Tribute Act and Amabilis are feared.