Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

Update: Well what a week that was! We had just about every type of weather, didn't snow at least, all sorts of weird and wonderful results and the meeting was eventually abandoned with three races to go. It just goes to show how much rain we had that they had to call off the meeting on a track renowned for the efficient drainage of its chalk-based surface. I am told the time in the Sussex Stakes was the slowest on record which gives you an idea of just how bad the conditions were at times on the Downs. I finish the week a disappointing -10.7 points to level stakes but actually better off than many I know! 

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 as far as I am concerned. 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. 

Unfortunately the weather looks decidedly un-summer like for the coming days but hopefully it won’t take away from five great days of racing.

Saturday - Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

The final day of Glorious Goodwood 2023. We have had all sorts of weather and all sorts of results, quite a few surprise ones it has to be said, and there's seven races races to enjoy yet, unsurprisingly with a couple of real puzzles thrown in for good measure. The going is now good-soft, soft in places, but like most of the UK they are likely to get some of the wet stuff today on the Downs. My fancies for Saturday follow. 

1.50 6f Coral Stewards' Sprint Handicap 

The consolation Race For The Stewards' Cup later on the card. Count Otto and Zaman Jemil were both shortlisted, arriving in good form, but the likely ground conditions may not suit either of them. Justcallmepete is the model of consistency and is another shortlisted as he loos likely to win a race such as this sooner rather than later. Monsieur Kodi has made the frame in both appearances since his winning run at Thirsk in June and has form on rain softened ground. Drawn bang in the middle all being well Oisin Orr can get him in a nice pitch earlier before kicking clear late on. I have the 11-2 early. 

2.25 1m6f Coral Summer Handicap

A couple of non-runner for this already brings the field down to twelve. Sweet William has the Ebor as a target it appears but he will need to win this to have any chance of getting in. He has looked above average thus far winning at Doncaster and Newbury but the questions is simply can he do it on much softer ground than he's encountered before? I know a little about La Pulga  being in the ownership of Raceshare but hopes are for a good run rather than perhaps confidence in being able to win it appears. HMS President never really runs a bad race but has top-weight to carry due to that fact. Rossa Ryan gets in well with him and he has plenty of form on softer ground but the big weight is a concern. At 8-1 he can be backed each-way (4-places) and that is what I have done. 

3.00 Group Two 1m6f Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes

Frankie Dettori gets the leg-up on Free Wind and her price is no doubt as short as it is in part because of that fact. That said I fancy her strongly here regardless of the little Italian being in the saddle. She seems to go in any ground (has won on good-sfot and soft) and won the 1m6f G.2 Park Hill Fillies' Stakes last year so the trip is of no concern. I perhaps should have backed her ante-post but I didn't so have had to take the 10-11 this morning. I wouldn't be surprise to see Time Lock chasing her home. One I have tipped up a couple of times she has looked as though this sort of trip might suit though the going is a bit of an unknown. 

3.35 6f Coral Stewards' Cup

The big handicap of the meeting and betting heat of the day. Orazio is short enough in truth for a race such as this but won well at Newmarket and Ascot before running well in the Wokingham at the Royal meeting so you can see why. His win at Ascot was on ground described as soft, heavy in places, and on we little we know he seems better on rain softened ground. The yard is in fair form and the booking of Jim Crowley to ride has to be seen as another positive. I didn't expect to be tipping a 4-1 shot in this but that is what I am doing. Spanish Star goes well here and though on a career high mark could place-up whilst Summerghand can never be completely ignored. 

4.10 7f Racing Welfare Handicap

Sophia's Starlight looks the most likely to set the pace here but we could be on pretty bad ground by this time of the afternoon and that would be a slight concern for her. Scholarship arguably has the best form of all of these on softer going and has dropped a couple of pounds in the ratings following two runs on good-firm going in which he never really got involved. He is a speculative punt at 10-1 but if the rain keeps falling it will blunt the speed of some of the others and I can see the gelding picking them off late. 

4.45 7f British EBF 40th Anniversary Maiden Stakes

Individualism is by that top two-year-old and multipleG.1 winner Too Darn Hot so no surprise if he was to be a decent two-year-old himself. A little more surprising perhaps is that being out of Reckoning he is actually a half-brother to top stayers Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestley as well as a couple of other that won over middle-distances. Runner-up on his debut at Ayr last month on good-soft behind a previous winner you would expect there is more to come from this one. There is form on softer going amongst his siblings so on what little we know the conditions shouldn't be an issue. I am on at 5-2

5.20 1m1f Coral Handicap

The lucky last of the week, and if you are winning money at this stage, well played. At the time of writing sixteen are due to got to post with a couple having come out already of what looks a wide-open affair.  Sweet Reward has wining form on soft and is likely to be up the pointed end from the start which is no bad thing round here in big runner handicaps. It would though require a career best to win. Lightly raced Liberty Lane has been tried at a higher level this year, won on good-soft on sole start at two, but has a tendency to race keenly. If he settles better you feel a decent run is likely but will he settle in a big-field? One Step Beyond has been in great form at a lower level this season but the going is an unknown for him and a mark of 79 is a career high.  Mostawaa arrives seeking a four-timer and a 5lb rise sees him up to 85 but he won off a mark of 84 once upon a time. I have gone round and round here and ultimately have come down on the side of Dashing Roger who has plenty of form on soft and heavy. He was never going to be a danger in the G.2 Summer Mile at Ascot on good-firm last time but off a mark of 85 in this with his jockey taking off another 5lb he has to be considered. Rated as high as 104 18-months ago on going he should relish whilst plenty of the others won't at 8-1 he is worth a speculative punt. 

Away day bet at Newmarket 

Away from Goodwood there is one that should be backed at HQ where the going is described as good this morning but with rain expected. Sunset Point is one from the yard of Charlie Appleby I have talked of before and she runs in the 2.40 1m4f British EBF 40th Anniversary Chalice Stakes. Any rain will enhance her chances and I think she is still ahead of her mark which is now 96 after a couple of wins this season, I tipped her on both occasions. William Buick is in Newmarket to ride to sole runner out of Moulton Paddocks this afternoon which has to be seen as a positive. I have a bit of the 5-2 early. 

Friday - Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

We go into day four on the Downs with plenty to enjoy once again on the seven race card. Just the one winner for me yesterday on another day when there were one or two results that left you scratching your head! It’s been a week for the Bookies so far but that doesn’t mean they are doing us punters any favours and there are three odds-on shots on the card; I wouldn't put you off having a Round Robin of the three. The going remains soft with a cloudy day forecast but no further rain. 

1.50 2m4½f Coral Goodwood Handicap

The 2m4f marathon sees 17 go to post. Dual code performer Aggagio should have no problem with the going though the trip is perhaps a slight concern. Calling The Wind has top-weight to shoulder and surely would prefer better going so looks up against it whilst Robert Johnson, though in cracking form, would need another career bet here off his new mark of 79 and the trip is a complete unknown. I have gone with Emiyn each-way (6-places) at 16-1. He looked in fine form wining on the heavy at Chester last time and won over 2m2f at the same track last year suggesting this trip shouldn't be out of his reach. 

2.25 1m Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes

Nostrum made his belated three-year-old debut in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at HQ last month winning hard held; I actually took him on that day wondering if he would be ready to go having been off the track since October. This small step-up in class should prove no problem and the only concern would be the going is an unknown. I wondered if they may go for the Sussex Stakes so the decision to keep their sights lower for the time being should be rewarded. 8-15 is the best price available. 

3.00 1m Coral Golden Mile

looked one to keep an eye on when taking the Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh at the start of the season. He was second to Jimi Hendrix in a big handicap at Newbury after that (the winner now rated 111) and then won again at Newcastle on the All-Weather in June. I think he could be ahead of his current mark of 95, he wants the going and stays the mile well. I am on at 9-2.  Tacarib Bay should be in the places again whilst Ditch Decoy could run a big race at double figure odds. 

3.35 5f Group Two King George Qatar Stakes

Highfield Princess has around half-a-stone in hand of the field on official ratings, has winning form on soft ground and has been running well all season despite not actually winning in 2023. Second in the G.2 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes, second in the G.1 Kings Stand and third in the G.1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes she wouldn’t be winning out of turn. At 4-5 she is short enough but looks a solid bet. 

4.10 1m4f Group Three l'Ormarins King's Plate Glorious Stakes

Hamish has been a shade odds-on in the build-up following wins at Chester and York this season in a couple of Group Three’s on rain softened ground. These wins followed a very good campaign in 2022 and the seven-year-old appears at the peak of his powers. The third odds-on shot of the day at 4-5 he is hard to ignore. Mimikyu is the danger but can be a bit of a monkey.

4.45 6f Ire-Incentive It Pays To Buy Irish Nursery Handicap

There's a few non-runners already leaving us with a field of 12. Loaded Gun won on the heavy at Chester last time over five though to my eyes had looked like a step-up in trip would suit before that in his efforts here at Goodwood and Beveryley. Having already proved himself in testing conditions, off a mark of 80 that looks very workable and with the step up in trip surely another positive he is the pick at 15-2. Starlust has done little wrong so far but the going is an unknown and he has top-weight to shoulder.

5.20 1m3f Coral Handicap

A real puzzle to send day four with just 11lb separating top and bottom weights. Rathgar steps back down in trip and has some form in softer conditions so is considered. Nader King chased home King of Steel at Nottingham on his last start at two and has run well on all three starts so far this year including winning on soft over 1m2f back at Nottingham. Recent Ascot scorer Intricacy looked to perhaps have a little left up his sleeve at Ascot and may be capable of carrying top-weight. Maso Bastie was a staying on third when beaten favourite over 1m4f at Newcastle on the Tapeta last time but has won on soft and is another in with a chance. I have gone with Nader King at 9-2 in what could be a cracking race. 

Thursday - Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

It is Ladies Day on Thursday, though if the weather is anything like Wednesday it will not be a day for summer dresses and big hats! So far from fifteen bets I’ve had four winning bets and seven placed, it has been a frustrating couple of days. I go into day three -6.9 points to level stakes.  

We have another eight-race card to navigate on Thursday which I do find a little annoying as it’s not as if we have added another Patten race to the card. Anyhow moan over, my bets for Thursday follow.

1.50 1m2f Coral Kincsem Handicap

On paper we once again have a tricky handicap to kick-off proceedings but I actually quite fancy one. Perfuse looked like winning the 1m4f King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot briefly but weakened back into fifth. He had won over a mile-and-a-half at Doncaster before that having won a 1m2f Novice at Nottingham on heavy in May. He has gone in a few notebooks when second on debut at Pontefract on the soft and his current mark of 94 still looks workable for one that is well-bred and surely connections must have Pattern races in mind for at some point this season all being well. I have the 5-2 early. 

2.25 6f Group Two Markel Richmond Stakes

We have a number of non-runners including Unquestionable and Jasour that were on the shortlist. Vandeek caught the eye, winning over six at Nottingham in that he was very slow away but showed a great attitude going from last to first to win by ¾ length. He won’t get away with a mistake out of the stalls here you’d think but he clearly can run. Sketch is the other with one run and one win to his name taking a Newbury Novice over six very impressively making every yard. It is hard to know what he beat but he did it very well. I liked the way Sketch went about his business at Newbury and looking at his action he could be fine on this softer going. I have taken a chance at 3-1

3.00 1m4f Group Three John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes

A few making their way towards the final Classic of the season line-up here and will be hoping to put down a marker with Doncaster in September in mind. Connections of Artistic Star are hopeful they may have one for the St Leger with David Bowe, racing manager for owner Jeff Smith, saying in an interview last month “We think he should be (a Leger horse). He has that sort of profile and trip-wise it looks to be ideal, so who knows. We’re definitely keeping our eye on that option for sure.”  Espionage has been shortening all week having won a Listed heat at Roscommon with what appeared bundles in hand on his three-year-old debut last month. All the usual suspects at Ballydoyle are involved and all the rain that has been around is clearly no concern, in fact the good-yielding he raced on at Roscommon was the quickest ground he has faced. I am on at 7-4.

3.35 1m2f Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes

I am on the French raider Blue Rose Cen here and she has really impressed me winning the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane, looking to really enjoy the step-up to 1m2f at Chantilly. Her running style of being up the pointed end from the off is no bad thing round here and getting the 8lb from the older fillies and mares, on going she will love, everything looks set for a big run. She is part two of my double with Paddington which pays 2.18-1. Trainer Christopher Head told Sky Sports back in July  “We’ll stay on the plan, the Nassau Stakes and of course the fight with Nashwa, I can’t wait to see that like all the racegoers and lovers of races. She had a little bit of time out but I want to be competitive in the next race, so I’m not going to wait. She’s pretty much shown she can go on any ground – she’s been on firmer ground, she’s been on heavy ground and is possibly better on softer ground – I just can’t wait to see her run.”

4.10 7f Jaeger-Lecoultre Nursery Handicap

Grays Inn is by far the most experienced and is due to rise a whooping 17lb in the ratings after this. Far from disgraced when fourth in a Listed heat at on soft Sandown a week ago she has been busy winning off a mark of 70 at Chester, again on the soft, just thirteen days before that. The grey filly appears to be thriving and though short enough for a race such as this at 9-4 I have to be on as she looks very well in. 

4.45 1m Buccellati Handicap

It’s a big field that faces the mile here and once again, as so often this week, I had a fairly lengthy shortlist. Novus was second over track and trip earlier this week on the better ground, has also won here over seven, and with both of her career wins coming on soft has to be considered. Skysail doesn't mind getting his toe in and has a course and distance win to his name whilst Roarin Success won on soft going at Ascot last time and the form of that race is working out pretty well though he is up 5lb for that victory. I have plumped for Novus at 4-1

5.20 7f Tatler British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes

Not a lot of form to go on here so I have spent quite some time going though pedigrees. Classical Song makes debut in the colours of Doreen Tabor and on breeding I am prepared to take a chance the daughter of Lope De Vega will enjoy the conditions. The French 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner had form on soft as did the dam Cottonmouth including winning the G.3 Premio Verziere in her career. All six of his siblings have been winners and the yard of Ralph Beckett is in decent form. I have the 5-1 this morning about this one making a winning debut. 

5.55 5f World Pool Handicap

The lucky last and thirteen were due to be lining-up to face the five-furlongs. It's no surprise to see Rocket Rodney is a non-runner so we are down to twelve as I write. Democracy Dilemma is up 8lb for his won at Chelmsford last time, where he made every yard. Both his turf wins have been on ground softer than good so if he can cope with the rise in the weights his chance is clear. Holkham Bay is the one open to improvement and is interesting dropping to the minimum trip but the ground is a complete unknown for him. JM Jungle and Desperate Hero both surely would have preferred faster going. I am on Democracy Dilemma at 4's in the hope he can shoulder the weight; he should lead and hopefully not see another horse though I half expect to be doing the betting shop lean at the end. 

Wednesday - Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

We are as is tradition for a few of us now trackside on Wednesday for Sussex Stakes Day but it looks like being a bit of a nightmare again. Last year the train strikes caused chaos, they could be an issue again this year, plus the weather forecast looks horrendous with high winds and thunderstorms possible, it could be worse than the downpours we had back in 2017. It would be no shock if we see a plethora of non-runners on the day.

It was a tough day one with some big priced winners going in; I did have two winning bets but annoyingly I had three seconds as well! It looks like a tough day for us punters again on Wednesday and my fancies for the day follow as it stands on Tuesday evening.

1.50 1m4f Coral Handicap

Twelve are due to go to post and as with so many handicaps this week you could make a case for several of them. Tagabawa was the first name on my shortlist as one I have talked of before. The son of New Approach hasn’t perhaps made the heights hoped for him but it wasn’t a bad effort in the 1m4f King George V Stakes at the Royal Meeting before disappointing somewhat back at 1m2f at HQ last time. The likely soft going is a slight concern for him though. Amleto won as he liked at Chester on the soft over 1m2f and after just four starts there is likely much more to come from him yet. By Sea The Stars out of Holy Moon he is a full-brother to high-class Sea of Class and I would expect to see him racing off a much higher mark than the 89 he is on currently as the season progresses. I am on at 9-4 overnight.

2.25 7f Group Three Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes

Sixteen fillies and mares have been declared for this and it’s another wide-open looking race with my shortlist including the Karl Burke-trained Fast Response and Jumbly from Joseph O’Brien’s yard. The three-year-olds get the weight for age of course and I think that can prove important here. There’s a filly in here I have backed on all four runs this season and I am on again. Dream Of Love filled the runner-up spot at Meydan earlier this season for Charlie Appleby as she went down by a short-head to Mawj in the Jumeirah Fillies Classic. I backed her each-way for the 1,000 Guineas where she was twelfth before finishing third in the G.2 German 1,000 Guineas. Last time out she found trouble in running when seventh in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. Charlie Appleby said “We are looking forward to dropping back to seven furlongs with Dream Of Love following a creditable race at Royal Ascot. She has run well on soft ground in the past, so conditions won’t inconvenience her too much, and she should be a live player.” I have a bit of the 15-2.

3.00 5f Group Three Jaeger-LeCoultre Molecomb Stakes

Kylian has won his last two races by an aggregate of 10 lengths after two short priced defeats earlier in the season so was very much on my mind but the likely conditions on Wednesday will be a complete unknown for him. Therein is the problem in the race, Hackman is the only one with form on soft when he won at Chester but he was six-lengths behind Kylian last time out. Kylian did win on the Tapeta at Newcastle which gives hope he might go on softer going and I have taken a chance at the standout 9-4 with Power overnight.

3.35 1m Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes

The highlight of the week as far as I am concerned and the reason I am on the Downs on Wednesday every year. Paddington will bid to register a fourth Group One in a row and is unsurprisingly odds-on to do so. Inspiral is the only one near him on ratings but she is rated 5lb inferior and has to give the colt 4lb! He has won on soft and heavy, albeit at a lower level already this season and I certainly wouldn’t be offering you Evens. A field of six has been declared with William Haggas’ Aldaary, Richard Hannon’s Chindit, Roger Varian’s Charyn and the French challenger Facteur Cheval completing the line-up. He is unbackable at the price so I have gone with a double with Blue Rose Cen in the Group One Nassau Stakes on Thursday that pays 2.18-1.

4.10 5f British EBF 40th Anniversary Alice Keppel Fillies' Conditions Stakes

This looks like another wide-open affair and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of these being non-runners by post time if the thunderstorms hit. Tropical Island won on debut on the soft at Ripon last month despite looking green and finding a little trouble in running. Her sire Inns Of Court and dam Kodi da Capo both won on softened ground, which is seen as a positive, and after just one run you would expect plenty of improvement. She’s far from a topical tip with a name like hers but I am on at the generally available 3-1.

4.45 1m2f British European Breeders Fund EBF Fillies' Handicap

No surprise that there are a few in with chances in this handicap as well. Decoration is considered, actually due to rise 3lb after this, but the ground is an unknown if the heavy rain arrives. Queen Regent was also considered but as this is her first run on turf, under the likely conditions, I can’t back her. La Isla Mujeres got off the mark on the All-Weather at Kempton in June over 1m3f and then really caught the eye over this trip winning by seven lengths at Salisbury last time on soft going. She stays, she doesn’t mind getting her hooves in, the yard is in fair form plus trainer Ralph Beckett has won this race twice in the last three years. She is the selection at 7-2.

5.20 7f World Pool Handicap

The lucky last is yet another puzzle and once again I had a not so short shortlist. Larado will likely lead them here and should set it up for a closer. Love De Vega would surely want it quicker whilst I think the same can be said of Urban Sprawl (has one win on good-soft). Dark Thirty is also considered and he looks likely to take home some place money again. Darkness has form on soft back in the day out in France but has top-weight to shoulder whilst Thunder Ball would need a career best effort on going he probably doesn’t want. Rhoscolyn looked to be hitting form with a fair second at Beverley nine days ago and gets in off the same mark of 87 here. Three of his four career wins have come on rain softened ground and being drawn in four Larado should give him a lovely lead into the race. The booking of Oisin Murphy catches the eye and I am on at 100-30.

Tuesday - Glorious Goodwood 2023- Qatar Goodwood Festival

Day one down on the Downs. It’s an eight-race card, as if this week isn’t tough enough with the traditional seven race cards, and we have another eight-race card on Thursday! We start the week on going described as good-soft with the weather forecast for light cloud and a slight breeze with some sunshine Tuesday but somewhat unpredictable as the week goes on. With Wednesday looking pretty rough.

1.40 5f Coral Handicap

It’s a real puzzle to get the meeting underway with fourteen due to go to post for the sprint. The likely early leaders are all drawn in the middle so we should get a fairly straight forward race if nothing else. There are a couple in here with decent course records. Lord Riddiford has won this for the last two years and gets in off a mark lower than he carried on both those occasions. His form figures read poorly of late but they did in 2021 and 2022 before he won. Raasel has form figures of 1,1,2 over track and trip the second a neck defeat in the G.2 King George Qatar Stakes here last year. He has form of softer going, has dropped down the OR’s a little, having been running okay if not winning at Pattern level and will surely pick up a decent handicap such as this sooner rather than later. I have the 4-1.

2.15 6f British EBF 40th Anniversary Maiden Stakes

Not a lot of form to go on here but a number of the big yards and owners are represented. Array is by No Nay Never and was second on debut over six-furlongs at Newbury. He is out of Joyeuse, a Listed winner on softer going in her racing days, who has produced some decent types and being out of Kind is a half-sister to Bullet Train, Nobel Mission and of course Frankel; there is a lot to like about the pedigree. I would be no surprise to see this one turning into a good horse as the season progresses and with the yard of Andrew Balding in decent enough form he is the pick. I have Evens.

2.50 1m2f Coral Chesterfield Cup Handicap

Another wide-open looking affair. Moktasaab is hard to predict but has a course and distance victory to his name and was third on his other outing here. He is back down to a mark of 90 (his win here was off of 92) so he has to be shortlisted. Pride Of America has been running well but as a result rocks up here on a career high mark. With three or four in here that will want to be up the pointed end from the off they may go quite a pace so you are going to want one that stays. Eagles Way came back from a fairly lengthy break to take second at Yarmouth five-days ago and that run will have blown away the cobwebs. The lightly raced four-year-old was progressing nicely last season and a big run is expected off a mark of 96. Sir Mark Prescott's improver is taken to resume winning ways and I have the 7-2.

3.25 Group Two 7f Nicholson Gin Vintage Stakes

The Richard Hannon trained Haatem has no City Of Troy to worry about this time and has to be shortlisted off the back of his second in the G.2 Superlative Stakes. Richard Hannon was in a positive mood on Monday saying “He keeps bumping into those O’Brien horses and I think he has a very good chance. If it is soft ground, I think he’ll like it. He showed he can handle good to soft at Newmarket. I like his chance at Goodwood. He ran well behind in the Superlative and he ran well in the Coventry, and he’s done everything we’ve asked of him, so it would be good to see him produce what we think he’s capable of tomorrow.” Mountain Bear has to be considered as the sole Ballydoyle representative. There has been money about for Golden Mind who was perhaps an unlucky third in the Chesham at Ascot finding trouble in running at just the wrong moment. I got a close-up look at the Charlie Hills trained Iberain on his debut win at Newbury over 6½f as the colt I have shares in, Treasure Time, was in the race (finished ninth). He was impressive at Newbury and the form of the race is working out okay with a couple of winners coming out of it. He was a non-runner in the Superlative Stakes due to ground concerns but it was interesting to hear Richard Ryan, racing manager for Teme Valley, who co-own the Lope De Vega colt with Ballylinch Stud saying this week about the colt being taken out of the Superlative “It was a tough decision. The ground was quite chewed and it was getting loose and wet and a bit used at the time. Although it is probably going to be wet at Goodwood, it’s unwatered and well maintained for this meeting, and probably with it being the first day, it won’t have the same issues the July Course had at the time with conditions in the pouring rain.” I think the selection might turn out pretty good and with the natural progression you'd expect after just one run I am on at 6-1

4.00 Group Two 7f World Pool Lennox Stakes

Al Suhail was entered but Charlie Appleby said earlier this week “We will be keeping an eye on the weather as his participation would be in doubt if there was significant rain.” and it’s no surprise he’s a non-runner. Kinross is jolly and you can see why having won this in 2021 and finishing a close second last year. He won’t mind the rain that has been about and seven-furlongs is his ideal trip. Dettori gets on well with him and is back in the saddle, stall one is a nice draw, he is top rated and the yard had a couple of winners over the weekend. I am on at Evens.

4.35 Group One 2m Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes

Earlier this month all the talk was about Ascot Gold Cup hero Courage Mon Ami being likely to bypass this with stablemate Gregory poised to be owners Wathnan Racing’s chosen representative in the Sussex Downs marathon. I noted Richard Brown, racing adviser for the owners saying a couple of weeks back “We’re favouring Gregory because of the weight allowance and we want to keep the miles low on Courage Mon Ami.” Well Courage Mon Ami is the one declared after the recent wet weather caused a rethink. Richard Brown said this week “John (Gosden) was keen to train both him and Gregory for the race and soft ground or probable soft ground swayed the decision towards running Courage Mon Ami, while Gregory will now take a different route, with his main aim being the St Leger.” He won here over 1m6f in May so we know he handles the track. I am not about to try and tell the owners and team Gosden anything but I think it is worth noting his two wins on Turf were on good-firm so how’ll he’ll like the going conditions are an unknown, for us punters at least. Coltrane and Emily Dickinson were both behind Courage Mon Ami at Ascot in the 2m4f Gold Cup but both won’t mind getting the hooves into softer going and I would go as far as to say the more rain the better for the Ballydoyle filly. I tipped her when she won the G2 1m6f Comer Group International Curragh Cup eleven days ago and back at two-miles with the filly allowance she has to be a player. Aidan O’Brien said this week “Emily Dickinson came out of the Curragh very well. Ryan (Moore) was happy with her and felt she won very easily. She is a filly we really fancied for the Gold Cup. She ran a good race and came out of it well. She loved the ease in the ground at the Curragh. She comes out of races on fast ground perfectly, which suggests it does not bother her, but she appears much better with an ease in the ground. It hinders other horses, whereas she appears to grow another leg on soft ground.” Coltrane is the model of consistency but his worst effort of last season came in this race when fourth and that is a slight concern. Last year's St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov hasn’t really gone on after that win, never looked like getting involved in the Ascot Gold Cup, and I can’t be backing him at the moment. I have ultimately backed Emily Dickinson at the 11-2 early in what is a tough race.

5.05 1m Coral Fillies' Handicap

A real head scratcher of a handicap in which you could back half-a-dozen and still not find the winner! Bridestones was on the shortlist but the widest draw of them all aint helped him and a wide draw hasn’t helped Ascot winner Good Gracious either, or the 8lb hike in the ratings for the win. Floating Spirit was considered but she looked to hate the soft ground when well held in a Listed race at HQ. In a wide-open heat a tentative vote goes to Royal Dress. She has winning form on soft going, the step-up to a mile is likely to suit off the back of her win over seven at Haydock last time. I have the 14-1 each-way (6-places).

5.35 6f World Pool British EBF Fillies' Handicap

Kitai is relatively short-priced for a Goodwood handicap in her hat-trick attempt following victories at at Carlisle and Pontefract. She is up another 7lb in the handicap to a mark of 92 and I wonder if a competitive handicap here off that mark might just be beyond her; I am happy to take her on. Candle Of Hope hasn’t run over the trip since winning on debut and I think the filly owned by the King might be the answer to this puzzle. A drop down in trip and class, she has been in with some fairly good types recently, both look to give her hope and this strong traveling filly can surely take this prize for His Majesty. I have the 8-1.