Glorious Goodwood 2019 - Qatar Goodwood Festival

Glorious Goodwood Ante-Post Portfolio

Gosden Group One double - Stradivarius and Too Darn Hot 3.81-1

What a rollercoaster of a few days - I snaffle 3 of the last 4 winners to end the 5-days +7.02 to level stakes. 

Saturday:

We’ve made it to day five, I love Glorious Goodwood week but it is a loooooong one. Anyway, we start day five at -3.73 to level stakes after another annoying day on Friday. Todays seven fancies follow; the racing certainly does not get any easier for us punters but fingers crossed for a good day.  

We start at 1.50 with the 24-runner 6f Qatar Stewards' Sprint Handicap; 10-1 the field! A bundle of hoses in with a chance, as you would expect, Boy In The Bar, Gabrial The Devil, Puds, Ballyquin, Tinto, Duke Of Firenze and King Robert to name a few! My hopeful punt is Ballyquin with fingers crossed he can bang out of the stalls and hold off all challengers. James Doyle doing the steering is a big plus for me, hopefully, he'll get the fractions right, and I have the 11-1 each-way 6-places at Power.  

It doesn't get much easier for the 1m6f Qatar Summer Handicap at 2.25; only 14 go to post this time. I had a shortlist here of six, King's Advice, Corgi, Bartholomeu Dias, Charles Kingsley, Outbox and Desert Skyline. I have gone for Outbox at 15-2 as I think he was given a little too much to do last time when sixth in the Newmarket handicap won by King's Advice. He meets that rival on 7lb better terms here and I think there is more to come from this unexposed 4-y-o, whilst surely the handicapper has the mark of Kings Advice now (gone up 37lb this season).

At 3.00 it is the 1m6f Group Two Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes for fillies & mares. Some nice ones line-up but it is impossible to ignore the huge weight allowance the 3yo's get. Manuela De Vega run with credit in the Oaks and Irish Oaks but on both occasions didn't appear to have the finishing kick required. This step down in class and up in distance could be the answer and at 7-2 she looks a decent punt. Enbihaar has to give her a stone and Dramatic Queen has to shoulder 11lb more.

One of the betting heats of the week at 3.40 the 6f Unibet Stewards' Cup (Heritage Handicap) is a real headscratcher with 28 lining-up. Khaadem put his Royal Ascot disappointment behind him when runner-up in a Group 3 last time and has to be respected on this handicap debut off a mark of 107 - only has 9-6 to carry. True Mason drops down from Group company and could be thrown in at the weights with only 8-13 to carry - still officially rated 100. Lake Volta has a course and distance win to his name and the Johnston yard has been getting winners all week. Jusanotherbottle went close in this last year, beaten just a short-head, off a 4 lb higher mark and has James Doyle booked whilst Spanish City has to be on the shortlist with blinkers applied for the first time. Summerghand and Flavius Titus are others to consider. I have gone with Khaadem as I think most of the pace will come from horses drawn in the middle making his stall 3 no bad thing as Jim Crowley can settle him just off the pace before bursting clear late-on. I got a bit of the 15-2.

At 4.15 the face 7f for the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes. King Of Athens never got involved in the G.2 Coventry at Ascot having blown the start. He is bred to be decent and can be forgiven that run. Was second on debut to Arizona (won the Coventry) and back in maiden company here can be backed with some confidence I took the price at 9-4 with Power overnight.

The Qatar Handicap at 4.50 has 13 going over the 7f. Land Of Legends has some flashy entries later in the year and will surely be expected to win this if going to take up any of them. The yard is yet to have a winner this week which is a concern but he looks a colt on the upgrade and is lightly raced with only four starts so further improvement likely. I have taken a chance at 7-2. Warning Fire is feared having run well in 1m handicap here on Tuesday.

The 1m1f Qatar Apprentice Handicap brings the curtain down on five-days and thirty-five races at 5.25; it doesn't get any easier with 18 going to post. I am hopeful that Saeed bin Suroor has a good finish to the week as I am on the lightly raced and highly progressive Gifts Of Gold. Young Cieren Fallon rides which is seen as a positive and the gelding is fancied to make his mark of 90 look very lenient. I grabbed the 11-4 overnight as I thought that looked good.

Friday:

Day four dawns, are you starting to slack a little, I am, no rest for the wicked though as they say. Friday here we come. So far so I am running at +0.27 to level stakes after a frustrating day three.

We get underway at 1.50 again with the Group Three 7f Oak Tree Stakes for fillies & mares. The Sir Michael Stoute trained three-year-old Jubiloso is short enough but looks a pretty good bet. Her third place in the G.1 Coronation Stakes is the best piece of form on show and her two wins prior to that both look solid. I took the 13-8 on Thursday. My biggest concern is Ryan Moore rides as he hasn't done me any favours this week!

They go over a mile at 2.25 for the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes. Art Du Val won a decent Conditions race at Meydan over 1m1f in February before winning a little mile Listed race out in France last time. The Charlie Appleby trained colt is open to improvement still after just four runs and James Doyle should have him up the pointed end from early on all being well; draw could have been kinder. I am on at 6-1.

We have the puzzle that is the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap at 3.00. As you would expect there are a few in with a chance here not least two I have discussed before the Godolphin pair Dark Vision and Key Victory; they are both hold-up types though and that is a tactic that could lead to trouble in a field this size here. Vale Of Kent will be up there early but might find the mile a stretch, Indeed could be well in of his mark and arrives in fine form, whilst Mojito made a winning return recently and has the bang in form Mr Dettori in the saddle. I have gone for Indeed in the hope there is more to come yet from the lightly raced 4yo and have a bit of the 14-1 each-way 5-places.

at 3.35 they face the five for the Group Two King George Qatar Stakes. I have said before I can’t back Battaash ever again and I wouldn't back him with someone else's money at 1-3! I know he has a good record here, he is the clear form pick, he will probably win, but he is a monkey not to be trusted! Houtzen intrigues me, now in the care of Noel Meade. The mare stumbled at the start of the G.1 King Stands, Battaash of course second, but still show some early speed before weakening in the final furlong. This fast downhill strip should suit and she is a hopeful each-way punt at 25-1.

The 6f Unibet Nursery Handicap at 4.10 looks to me to be between the Mark Johnston frontrunning pair Praxeology and Eton College, not forgetting he also has Homespin. For me, It's hard to split the pair toward the head of the betting but after much consideration, I have backed Praxeology at 4-1 overnight as I was impressed with his wins at Ripon and Salisbury.

At 4.40 we have the 1m4f Group Three L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Glorious Stakes with just the five lining-up. Mirage Dancer has been in with slightly better than these recently and this looks a very good opportunity for the Sir Michael Stoute trained 5yp to get back to winning ways. 8-13 was the best price you could get overnight and I have it.

The lucky last is the 1m3f TDN Australia Handicap and it is yet another Goodwood puzzle. This is the first time Asian Angel has been asked to tackle the trip but I would expect to see the gelding towards the front early, drawn one, and the 5lb Andrew Breslin takes off could prove a big assistance. At 14-1 he can be backed each-way 4-places and that is what I have done. Hopefully, it's another result for Mr Johnston.

Thursday:

We get to the halfway point today and after two days I am running at +3.27 to level stakes, plenty of racing to go yet mind you.

The 1m2f Unibet Handicap gets day three underway at 1.50 and it is yet another puzzler. Walkinthesand heads the weights and looks up against it to me. Victory Command has been very busy in his short career and steps-up to this trip for the first time here having looked like a bit further might suit running over a mile recently. at 18-1 with Power 4-places he is an each-way punt.

it is the Group Two 6f Qatar Richmond Stakes at 2.25. Threat looks just that having won on debut and then finished second at the Royal meeting behind the decent looking Arizona in the G.2 Coventry. At 5-2 he is the pick here. Guildsman was third in the Coventry and is an obvious danger on that form but was beaten at Newmarket last time and the selection looks open to much more improvement.

The 1m4f Group Three Gordon Stakes at 3.00 is a nice little race that I think can go to Jalmoud for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby the chestnut colt dropping into calmmer waters having been tried in the G.1 Grand Prix de Paris last time, third behind Japan. I have a bit of the 5-1. Constantinople is feared but has the 3lb penalty to carry as does Spanish Mission.  

Race of the day is the 1m2f Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes at 3.35. I can't back Nyaleti who I have talked of a lot this season as this looks a level too high for her. Dual Guineas winner Hermosa was beaten at Ascot and steps-up in trip for this; will she stay? She might on breeding, sister Hydrangea did, but a number of her other siblings were out and out milers. Beaten Investec Oaks favourite Mehdaayih is heading in the opposite direction stepping back down following her recent victory in the 1m4f G.2 Prix de Malleret. trainer John Gosden said recently “We are looking at the Nassau Stakes. She won the Malleret and was unlucky in the Oaks. She quickened very well in France off a slow pace. We think it will be a proper race to run her in at Goodwood.” I agree and have the 11-4.

It is the 7f Telegraph Nursery Handicap at 4.10. It is Appleby and Doyle again as I like the Godolphin colt Full Verse even having to give weight all around. I liked the way he showed some guts to win at Doncaster last time and the 7f trip he should suit perfectly. I am on at 6-1.

At 4.45 it’s 7f again for the Markel Insurance British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes. Not a lot of form to go on here so a fair bit of time looking at the breeding hs been undertaken. By top-class 2yo and prove speed sire Dark Angel out of Albany Stakes winner Sander Camillo the grey filly of Godolphin trained by Saeed bin Suroor Good Reason should be a decent 2yo. The yard is capable of getting them ready first time out and she is the pick at 17-2. Oisin Murphy rides.

Blink and you’ll miss it at 5.20 as the lucky last is the 5f Tatler Handicap at 5.20. Amplify has looked much happier since dropping back to sprint distances and arrives in fine form having won his last two. Stall 17 of 17 actually aint that bad and Oisin could be on for a quickfire double as I would expect to see him have the Brian Meehan trained colt up the pointed end throughout and hopefully repelling all challengers late. I have the 6-1.


Wednesday:

Day two of the shenanigans on the Sussex Downs and it is perhaps the race of the week on Wednesday the Group One Sussex Stakes; great race great day out. Close but no cigar for GGG on Tuesday, I would've been pissed off if I'd done the placepot! Triple G results were: 3rd (beat 3/4L), 1st, 2nd (1L), 1st, 2nd (Shd), 5th, 3rd each-way (1L unlucky in running)! I start day two -1.68 to level stakes.

The 2m4½f Unibet Goodwood Handicap gets day two underway at 1.50; it’s a case of round and round they go for this one with the race actually starting in front of the stands before they set-off into the Sussex countryside. Twenty line-up but I think this might be all about just one horse again. Lil Rockerfeller last ran on the flat when winning this last year in splendid isolation by 15 lengths (tipped on here) and has every chance again off an official rating of 99; actually only carries 5lb more than last year. De Sousa will be in the saddle, as he was last season, and at 5-1 with Betfred I am on and hoping for the same outcome. Dubawi Fifty is decent but has a habit of running well without winning and Silvestre has deserted him having rode him twice recently.  

The 1m4f Unibet Handicap at 2.25 sees 14 line-up and it's a tricky one, everyone one of them arguably an improving 3yo! I quite like the chance of the two that have got in at the bottom of the weights in the shape of Durston and Dubai Tradition. Slight preference is for the Godolphin colt trained by Saeed bin Suroor with his string in fine form. Followed up two placed finishes by winning at Pontefract and then showed fighting spirit to win last time at HQ, both over today's trip. 10-1 looks a fair price and I have that.  

The Group Three 5f Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes is at 3.00. Some nice 2yo's here but one jumps off the page at me. Liberty Beach gets the allowance as a filly and looks the class act. She won her first two starts then ran well in defeat when fourth in the G.2 Queen Mary. back to winning ways with an impressive win in a Listed race at Sandown last time and I have the 7-4.  

It is arguably the race of the week at 3.35 the Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes over a mile. I am on Too Darn Hot as the second-leg of my Gosden Glorious Goowood Group One double with Stradivarius. The world and their wife now know he only just gets the trip but this is one of the easier mile courses in the UK, with a run-in downhill, so all being well he will be able to use his obvious speed to good effect as the race heats up after they turn-in. Best price as I write is 5-4.

It is 5f for the Alice Keppel EBF Fillies' Conditions Stakes at 4.10. Just the seven go to post and i expect Mrs Bouquet to lead them home. I have said already this week Johnston loves a winner or two at this meeting and the filly looks on the upgrade putting in her best race to date last time, showing a good spirit, to make it 3 wins from 5. I have the 100-30. Flippa The Strippa is feared but concedes weight all round whilst Mighty Spirit is frustrating and just seems to find a way to get beat everytime.  

They face 1m2f at 4.45 for the British EBF Premier Fillies' Handicap. Another tricky Goodwood puzzle even with just the 11 runners. Vivionn will front run, of that I am pretty sure, the question is will she hold off the challengers in the run-in? I am prepared to forgive what, on paper, was a poor effort last time at Chelmsford and with Ryan Moore in the saddle she should get plenty of assistance if required! At 8-1 with Paddy Power she is a tentative choice.

Following a break in proceedings for the Charity race the last is at 5.55 on Wednesday the 7f New & Lingwood Handicap. Twenty to choose from and you could make half a case for a few but I think Saeed bin Suroor can get a double-up on the day as I really liked the way Light and Dark won on his handicap debut at HQ earlier this month. Gone up 11lb in the rating for that but did it very well and looks a horse capable of 100+. Draw could have been kinder but I have taken a chance a the 7-2 that Callum Shepherd can get him in a good rhythm before seeing them all off in the final furlong.

Tuesday:

Five days, 35 races, Group One action and fiendishly difficult handicaps you have got to love Glorious Goodwood; it’s a long five days but it is bloody good fun. There is every chance of a shower or two on Tuesday with possibly strong winds looking at the forecast and then, fingers crossed, it’s dry in the low 70’s sunny with a gentle breeze for the rest of the week. The going is described as good on Monday afternoon.

The first race of a busy week is the 1m2f Unibet Handicap at 1.50. Setting Sail won over course and distance as a two-year-old and has been running well this summer in some decent handicaps. Aimed at this and relatively lightly raced still for a 4yo at 4-1 he can get the meeting off to a winning start for Godolphin, Appleby, Doyle and Triple G!

At 2.25 it is the Group Two 7f Qatar Vintage Stakes and I fancy a quick fire double for the boys in blue with the Charlie Appleby trained Pinatubo the pick. Three runs from three wins including the Listed Woodcote stakes at Epsom and Listed Chesham Stakes at Ascot, this is a colt going places. Grab a bit of 13-8. Appleby appears confident  “He’s come out of the Chesham in good form. I think he should suit the track with the style of how he races. It was undulating at Epsom and he managed to handle that, which is why I’m happy to go to Goodwood with him. Hopefully it will play to our strengths. He has got pace, but the step up to seven was always going to help him and he showed his class at Ascot.”

At 3.00 it is the Group Two 7f Qatar Lennox Stakes. Several line-up here in with chances not least Zaaki who is having a good season for Sir Michael Stoute. I though think Hey Gaman might get a soft lead and if he does the 4yo colt could very well take this under Frankie Dettori. He has won at Leicester and Longchamp already this season and was second in G.2 Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh just getting caught by Romanised last on. I have 7-2. Talking earlier this week trainer James Tate said “It didn’t quite go to plan in the Minstrel, he lost a front shoe coming out of the stalls, the pacemaker was up with us the whole way and possibly softened us up for when Romanised came at the end. We’re not cribbing him too much, he’s been in great form all year and we’re expecting another big run. We’ve done little with him, obviously, but he’s a big, strong horse and has put all his weight back on. We’ve given him a light campaign to aim for these races, with the Hungerford and the Foret also in the mix. We gave him a break after his first two runs so that he was fresh for these races rather than run in something just for the sake of it.This has been on his agenda for a long time, it’s a big money Group Two and we’re raring to go.”

The Tuesday highlight is the Group 1Qatar Goodwood Cup worth £500,000 at 3.35 over two-mile. John Gosden was saying as early as last month how dual Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius is now at the peak of his powers in the build-up to his attempt to claim a record-equaling third victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup. “We are very happy with him going to the Goodwood Cup. These horses can reach their zenith at five – I know they have to give the weight, but so they should, so to that extent we are very happy we can try to win the Goodwood Cup again.” I am on as the first-leg of my Gosden Glorious Goowood Group One double with Too Darn Hot on Wednesday. The Champ is odds-on and I am pretty confident he can get the job done again.

They face 6f at 4.10 for the European Breeders Fund EBF Maiden Stakes. Not much form to go on here with these two-year-olds but I was intrigued to see Ryan Moore booked for debutant Fuwayrit on the entries last-week as he doesn’t ride that many for Mark Johnston. Johnston loves a winner or two at this meeting and this grey colt could be his first of the week being a half-brother to a couple of winners. I have taken a chance at 7-1.

The speedsters are out at 4.45 for the 5f Chelsea Barracks Handicap and this is one of those many tricky Goodwood handicaps we have to decipher this week. Lord Riddiford won over track and trip last year and I would expect to see the same tactics of trying to make every yard here. Most of the likely early pace setters are drawn relatively high so the 11 box isn’t that bad and at 13-2 the grey is the tentative pick.

The lucky last on day one is the mile Unibet Fillies' Handicap at 5.15; it doesn’t get any easier. Warning Fire has been on fire this month but has naturally paid for it in the ratings and is now 17lb higher than when she won at Haydock on the 5th; Salayel and Nkosikazi would also be on the shortlist. I though have taken a chance on the lightly raced Chaleur. She won at Leicester and Newmarket at up to 7f last year and blew away the cobwebs after 287 days off the track with a fair looking fourth at Newmarket earlier this month. She could very well prove a lot better than her current rating of 97, should enjoy the extra furlong and at a tasty looking 12-1 I am on each-way (4-places).

The Build-up:

With five days of thrilling action set against the magnificent backdrop of the rolling Sussex countryside, The Qatar Goodwood Festival –Glorious Goodwood to you and me – is one of the highlights of the flat-racing season. 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. I showed a profit last year,  +7.78 to level stakes.