1:55 Bet365.com Handicap
Glorious Goodwood can be very hard as there are so many extremely competitive handicaps and this 1m2f Class B event for older horses is the first of four handicaps to solve on Day 1 alone, three of which look mighty difficult. This race was first run in 1840 and Mark Johnston won it for the fourth time in 2012. This year the Middleham-based Scot, who is on fire at present, saddles three contenders; Sennockian Star (Joe Fanning), Salutation (Michael Murphy) and Busatto (Royson Ffrench) all of which are four-year-olds like eight of the last ten winners. Sennockian Star was fourth (beaten 2½l) at Royal Ascot but he looked like he got the run of the race that day as he was prominent in a moderately-run race and has been well held twice since off just a 1lb higher mark than he races off today. Salutation also ran well at Royal Ascot when second to Arab Spring at 25/1 despite being keen when leading and he has been raised 3lb for that effort and I prefer his chance. Busatto would not look obviously well handicapped having struggled since he won at Leicester in May off 82 and he is 8lb higher here.
The Hannon-Hughes partnership kicked off another special Glorious Goodwood for them last year with a surprise 16/1 winner in this handicap and this time they team up with The Queen’s Sea Shanty who was last seen finishing fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup. He has to prove that he stays this extra quarter-mile though having only finished seventh on his only previous attempt beyond a mile. After he won last year his connections stated that he was a lazy type so he has a chance of staying. Hannon also saddles last year’s winner Viewpoint (aged five) who is off a 2lb higher mark this year and Cam Hardie takes off 3lb. It might be hard for Hughes to get off a horse owned by The Queen but Sea Shanty does look by far the most likely stable contender regardless. The bottom weight, Tobacco Road, completes the Hannon trio but he has been beaten in Class C handicaps on his last four starts.
Sticking with the four-year-olds given their fine record and Stomachion looks the pick and will probably start favourite. The Stoute-Moore representative was unraced at two but won his last two starts at three so he looked a typical Freemason Lodge improver likely to run through the handicaps this season en route to eventually being pattern class. It hasn’t quite worked out that way as he was fourth on his seasonal debut at Thirsk before winning at Newmarket but he was beaten 2½l off a 5lb higher mark next time, albeit in a 15-runner affair when upped to 1m4f for the first time at Epsom where he didn’t appear to handle the undulations. I don’t doubt however that his defeat on the downs was still a career-est run so he remains progressive and the one to beat. The top weight, Tha’ir, won the Chesham at Royal Ascot two years ago for Godolphin but he was well beaten when fancied for a 1m2f handicap off top weight at this meeting last year. He arrives here is pretty good form but I think that Ajman Bridge and Magic Hurricane are four-year-olds with more progression likely. Luca Cumani’s Ajman Bridge has improved with all three starts this season culminating with just being edged out of a 1m2f Newbury handicap last time out where he finished strongly having maybe not stayed 1m4f previously. Magic Hurricane’s winning run came to an end when third at Haydock but he was only beaten a length following wins at Kempton and Haydock so there still may be more to come from James Fanshawe’s fairly-lighted-raced charge. Gworn completes the ten four-year-olds but despite his fourth to Farraaj at Epsom (High There finished sixth) being franked by the winner who then won the John Smith’s Cup, he hasn’t really shown enough to be worthy of strong consideration this season.
Cameron Highland looks the pick of the quintet of five-year-olds. Roger Varian’s son of Galileo enjoyed a good 2013 including winning a Listed race by 3l over 1m4f on soft ground but has been restricted to just one run this year when well beaten in another Listed race and now he tackles a handicap for the first time in his career on his 14th start. He didn’t fire on his first two starts last season so I would be content to overlook his one run this season. Blue Surf is a course-and-distance winner for Amanda Perrett who finished one place behind Stomachion at Epsom so an each-way chance can be argued for him. He started joint-favourite for this race last year before finishing eighth and is 1lb higher this time. After Niceofyoutotellme won at the Guineas Meeting on his seasonal debut, Ralph Beckett remarked that was the race he had been laid out for and then he was ninth next time out in the Royal Hunt Cup so it is questionable that he has enough in hand here.
There has been no winner over the age of five for over a decade which does not bode well for the seasonal debutant, I’m Fraam Govan, who ran in Briar Hill’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper last year and whose three Flat successes have been on Kempton’s all-weather surface. Charles Camoin is also a six-year-old and won at Ascot earlier this month but he has been well beaten since after his handicap mark was reassessed. The oldest horse is the former globe-trotting pattern-race performer, Wigmore Hall, at the age of seven, but he has been well beaten in all three handicaps this season and is regressing at a faster stage than the Handicapper can keep up with.
CONCLUSION - Stomachion looks the right favourite to me but there is a chance that he could over-bet in which instance Ajman Bridge and Blue Surf (each-way), who are already interesting, would become even more so on value grounds.
2:30 Bet365 Molecomb Stakes
A Group 3 race for two-year-olds over 5f which has been a good race for fillies with 14 successful since 1981. This was a fillies’ only race up until Marwell won the last running in 1980 when restricted to the fairer sex. Just one filly takes her chance this time, the Richard Hannon-trained probable third string, Spirit Of Xian, who also dons blinkers for the first time off the back of finishing sixth of ten in a Group 3 at Chantilly. Prior to that she had finished fourth of seven in a Listed race at Naas and beaten in a conditions race at Newbury so it is hard to believe she can keep the terrific record of fillies going this year.
As many as 33 of the 68 runnings since World War II have been won by the favourite (though we did have a 100/1 winner in 1985) and Beacon is a very worthy favourite this year at around Evens having travelled like a dream en route to slamming the re-opposing Mukhmal by 4l at Sandown at 25 days ago (Union Rose finished last of four) and they race off the same weightstoday. On that occasion Beacon was completing his hat-trick after which connections stated that he would have no problem with 6f but this fast 5f should not present any problem to him given the ease with which he travelled at Sandown. The Hannon stable have won this race three times in the last five years and Richard Hughes partners him rather than Spirit Of Xian (Pat Dobbs) or Dougal (Ryan Moore) and his latter-named stablemate may turn out to be his biggest rival. It is not always obvious which is the Hannon number one when Hughes and Moore both have a ride for the stable but in this instance it has to be Beacon, though Dougal has shaped like a return to 5f is what he wants as he was joined on the line over 6f when dead-heating for first at Newmarket in July before finishing well behind his stablemate, Ivawood, in a Group 2 next time also over 6f. Dougal had won his maiden by 5l when he last ran at today’s trip.
Mukhmal showed incredible speed for the first 3f but he was ejected straight back out again after Beacon easily took his measure at Sandown. Not because he was so well beaten but I plain didn’t like his head carriage in the final furlong so it is interesting that they have fitted him with a hood for the first time. Straight after the Norfolk, given his blinding early speed I would have said that the Molecomb was perfect for Mukhmal as this 5f is made for out-and-out speedsters, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go close here in the first-time headgear on a course that suits pure speed and with his stable going great guns. I would certainly expect him to finish closer to Beacon this time than at Sandown. Fast Act arrives here after finishing third to the very impressive Tiggy Wiggy in the Weatherbys Super Sprint ten days ago. As the winner won by a street off top weight I am not sure how good the rest are and Kevin Ryan’s charge was also receiving 7lb that day. Burning The Clocks is a maiden after three starts at non-Grade 1 courses but I can see Cotai Glory running well for a long way. Charlie Hills’ colt was sixth in the Windsor Castle Stakes before winning his maiden at Bath but he best run was last time out when second to Limato in a Newbury Listed race over 6f where he showed lots of pace so the drop back to 5f should suit.
CONCLUSION - Beacon is going to be hard to beat and Dougal and Mukhmal look his biggest dangers for forecast purposes.
3:05 Bet365 Lennox Stakes
Formerly the Beeswing Stakes and run at Newcastle, Goodwood took over this Group 2 race over 7f in 2000. If you want to keep it simple then Gregorian is the best horse in the race, he is unpenalised and very much in form after his fine third in the July Cup over 6f having been considered a 7f/1m horse beforehand having previously won the Criterion Stakes so he certainly sets the standard. Although only one of the last five Criterion winners to run here has even finished placed, it is worth noting that the Lennox Stakes’ widest-margin winner (4l) since it was run at Goodwood was Iffraaj who was also placed in the July Cup on his previous start who was also considered a better horse over 7f before his Newmarket Group 1 placed effort. Gregorian also won last season’s Hungerford Stakes like a recent Lennox Stakes winner. Eight places behind Gregorian in the July Cup was Es Que Love who has since finished a half-length second also at 6f in a Group 3 at Newbury ten days ago behind Music Master. This is his first run back at 7f since moving yards over the winter but his overall level of form is shy of Group 2 class.
Last year’s winner, Garswood, returns to attempt to defend his title and is fitted with a visor for the first time after finishing a length behind Gregorian in the Criterion Stakes when fitted with first-time blinkers. Gregorian won with a nice turn of foot so was value for more than the winning margin of a length on that rain-softened ground but the winner does go well with some dig in the ground as he showed again in the July Cup and this faster surface is what Garswood’s supporters will be hoping can help reverse placings. Even though Gosden has said they will look to go where there is cut in the ground for Gregorian, he did win the Hungerford on Good and was placed in last year’s Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on Good, so he certainly handles it.
Three-year-olds have had much the best of it in the last decade winning on six occasions despite being responsible for just over 25% of the runners in that time frame and Richard Hannon saddles both three-year-olds this season in addition to the year-older Professor. Richard Hughes rides Toormore who won the Group 1 National Stakes at two (though beating Group 3 horses) and after winning the Craven in workmanlike fashion he started as low as 15/2 and finished seventh for what is generally accepted as the one of the best runnings of the 2000 Guineas (five of the last six three-year-old winners of this race ran in a 2000 Guineas of one description or another in recent years) with Group 1 winners aplenty having come out of this year’s Classic. However, Toormore did not come remotely close to joining them when he was only sixth in the St James’s Palace Stakes so he has something to prove right now. On the plus side, he won the Group 2 two-year-old race at this meeting last year over the same trip so we know he handles the course well and had his ‘Group 1’ (by name only last year) win been achieved six weeks later then Toormore would have been asked to carry 7lb more today. Hannon’s second three-year-old representative is Anjaal who I fancied to run well at the Newmarket July Meeting at a big price but he was one of many withdrawals due to softening ground. He was last seen finishing in midfield in the Jersey Stakes but he has 13l to find with Toormore than when they met in the Craven Stakes. The year-older Professor completes the Hannon team having justified favouritism in a conditions race at Haydock ten days ago which followed a cracking second in the Wokingham off top weight (flopped in between in the Bunbury Cup on soft ground) so he is no forlorn hope but he was beaten 3l into seventh in last year’s renewal.
Glory Awaits is best known for finishing second to Dawn Approach at 150/1 in first-time blinkers in last year’s 2000 Guineas when he set the pace but he only recorded his first win outside of maiden company last time out in a Listed race at Chester 17 days ago where he had Boom And Bust back in sixth. Given his prominent style of racing, Chester may well have suited him and this is a biggish step back up in class. I have more time for the German raider Amarillo who has won two of his last three starts in Group 3 races in his homeland and he has won and finished second amongst his three starts in Britain notably when winning last year’s John O’Gaunt Stakes, though he did pinch it that day as the runner-up was given too much to do. The field is completed by Here Comes When who has to bounce back from disappointing runs in the Royal Hunt Cup and John O’Gaunt Stakes.
CONCLUSION - I am slightly surprised that Toormore is clear favourite as Gregorian is the better horse according to The Form Book and is bang in form too and he does handle Good ground but there should not be too much between him and Garswood on Newmarket form with the going more in last year’s winner’s favour.
3:40 Bet365 Summer Handicap
For the prize money on offer, this handicap could have been more competitive as it is hard to fancy around half of this 14-runner line up. Luca Cumani has won this Class B handicap over 1m6f for horses aged 3+ (though no 3yos run this year) three times between 2004-2008 so let’s kick off with his Havana Cooler who has a sound chance of winning this £80K pot en route to a probable crack at the Ebor. A fairly-lightly-raced four-year-old having his eighth start, he did not run badly when sixth as favourite in the Old Newton Cup to be beaten 2½l and the likelihood is that he was over-bet given that is a race that the Cumani yard like to target to down the years. It looked a good running beforehand and the runner-up has since seriously impressed when winning at Ascot yesterday and is the new Ebor favourite and Havana Cooler took too long to hit stop gear so this extra 2f can suit him ideally. On his previous run he was a cracking third to the impressive Arab Spring on his seasonal debut at Royal Ascot and he showed he can handle Goodwood last season when a good third to the now Group-class Pether’s Moon in a 1m4f handicap at this meeting 12 months ago. He looks the right favourite. A couple of places ahead of Havana Cooler in the Old Newton Cup was Dashing Star who led until the furlong marker and then wasn’t helped by being hampered although held. If you like Havana Cooler then you have to fear Dashing Star as there is little between them on that run and also at Royal Ascot when he finished one place behind the Cumani horse.
The two last-time-out winners are the Peter Hedger-trained Continuum who returned to form by winning a Listed handicap at York when aided by first-time cheekpieces having previously ninth behind Havana Cooler and Dashing Star at Royal Ascot albeit from a poor draw, and the Alan King-trained bottom weight, Kings Bayonet, who is older than ideal at the age of seven and took a Class 3 Chester handicap last time out having been held up out the back over 1m4f. He has won at Ascot over hurdles over 2m4f so this step up in trip could suit him even more.
First-time blinkers are applied to the top weight, Shwaiman, who was seventh behind Continuum at York after finishing ninth in the Ascot Gold Cup and they will need to work big time to reverse places on just 3lb better terms. Just 1lb off top weight is Repeater for the in-form David O’Meara team who have hit form in the last week after a quietish spell by their standards. We last saw him finish second of four in a Listed race under Ryan Moore but he looks the type better suited to the pace of big-field handicaps like when he was third in the Northumberland Plate on his previous start off today’s mark one place ahead of Noble Silk with three more of today’s rivals well beaten behind. Moore keeps the ride. Noble Silk has been in tremendous heart this season not beaten more than 2½l on his other four starts but he is not holding a lot back from the Handicapper. Another yard in cracking form of late is that of Keith Dalgelish who had a treble at Carlisle on Sunday and he runs Mirsaale who has spent much of his career in Group races including last year’s Derby when he was ninth. This is just his second handicap but he was only 12th of 15 in a handicap at Epsom on Derby Day (a race in which Kelinni was tenth) and offered little encouragement in a Listed race last time. Much more interesting is Big Thunder for the Sir Mark Prescott team who are just starting to wind it up now after an even later start to the season than usual. They had an impressive winner of a similar race to this at Ascot on Sunday and they supplied a well-backed favourite to win this handicap two years ago. This is a Prescott-type race but Big Thunder will need to show a lot more than when out the back in the Northumberland Plate on his only start this season having been well placed to win four handicaps last year. Van Percy is a dual winner this campaign but he too has something to find on Plate form as he was back in ninth.
Of the remainder Boite has shown little in three starts since he was third to Leading Light in last season’s Queen’s Vase at 66/1 including four days ago at Ascot after finishing 13th in the Northumberland Plate, White Nile disappointed as favourite for a handicap here in June after only beating a handful home in the Chester Cup, Saptapadi is holding nothing back from the Handicapper at the age of eight though he ran well at the Dante Meeting to finish fifth and again at the Knavesmire when second last time out.
CONCLUSION - this isn’t as competitive as it first appears and has been a good race for favourites and I like Havana Cooler’s chances of becoming the seventh winning favourite in 18 years at around the 9/2 mark. Dashing Star shouldn’t be far away from my main fancy on two form lines and is the main danger but I also respect Continuum who might be the each-way value hailing from a less-fashionable stable.
4:15 Bet365 Maiden Stakes
A 6f maiden for two-year-old colts and geldings, Mark Johnston targets this meeting as we know and he has the best record in this race in the last decade being the only trainer with a runner in this renewal to win it twice and he relies on Mutafarrej who was beaten 21 lengths on his debut at Ripon before faring better when fifth of nine of Ascot on his only other start beaten 8½l. He will need to step up again but the stable are enjoying a quite incredible July so that is probable. Being drawn widest of all in stall 1 isn’t ideal though. The form horse is the Richard Fahey-trained Winstanley under Ryan Moore but he has had more opportunities to post the best mark and has yet to win in four starts, placing on all occasions, finishing a 1¼l runner-up to Pallister on his last two runs. In the latter of those he had the Woodcote Stakes (Listed) third one place behind so a normal maiden is easily within his compass. With his experience taking on eight debutants, and especially on an undulating course like Goodwood, he will be hard to kick out of the first two especially being well drawn two places away from the stands’ rail but he might be vulnerable to an above-average newcomer or an improver.
The Hannon yard won this race in 2010 and are treble-handed (all newcomers) with Hughes electing to ride Acaster Malbis leaving Pat Dobbs for Deluxe and Sean Levey for Harbour Patrol. Most Hannon-trained debutants improve for their debut effort when they have their second start and there has been no winning debutant in at least the last ten years. That stat would be against the five other newcomers; Koptoon (Tom Dascombe), Lackaday (Mick Channon), Misleading (Peter Chapple-Hyam who won the 2007 renewal), Moodrick (Olly Stevens) and Sirdab (Barry Hills). Misleading looks the most interesting as Chapple-Hyam has him entered up in a couple of Group 2 races, the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes.
Dark Profit also has a Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes entry plus a Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes entry for Charlie Hills and owner, Fitri Hay, and he moved forward notably from his first run to his second when beaten just over a length into third at Haydock 11 days ago in a maiden that has thrown up some decent winners of late when the front three in the betting dominated finishing 3½l clear of their seven rivals. Also entered in the Gimcrack is the Ronald Harris-trained Aussie Ruler but that looks ambitious based on his two runs when second of five on debut to Kibaar (won a nursery since) and third of 15 at Windsor. He is up to winning an average maiden but although this maiden has thrown up no obvious class acts in the last decade, the winner would probably still need to be above average. Of the remainder, Bouncing Czech was beaten 25l on his debut, Indian Joe was last of six beaten 17l and Red Tycoon beat one home when he trailed by 10l on his only start.
CONCLUSION - it has been a long time since this maiden threw up a winning debutant so it is a question of whether the more-exposed Winstanley’s current top-rated form is good enough as it stands to hold off the likely improvers Mutaffarej and Dark Angel. I would like to think that one of that pair can progress again and take the spoils, more likely the latter looking at his Group 1 entry.
4:50 Bet365 Handicap
A 20-runner Class handicap for horses rated between 0-90 over a mile so the draw is likely to be important with those drawn high having to give up ground and those drawn very low hoping for the gaps to appear at the right time. Three of the first four home last year where drawn 1-5 in a 17-runner handicap.
Three three-year-olds have won from low representation in the last decade and all three were well fancied and they make up six of the 20-strong field so we’ll tackle those first. Showpiece is nicely drawn in stall 5 but only has a maiden win to his name from ten starts and is the Hannon-Hughes representative but the fact he has been beaten in his last six handicaps including when resorting to first-time blinkers last time out suggests that they have better handicap chances this week. Hannon also runs the five-year-old Lord Ofthe Shadows who is on a losing run of 26 races. Lesha is also well drawn in stall 4 and represents Kevin Ryan and Jamie Spencer but he wouldn’t be my favourite jockey at the best of times let alone in a big-field Goodwood handicap and all the luck in running that will be required. He has won two of his last four starts but being 12lb higher than for the first of those successes is a concern for a handicap where the winner will have to be at least 7lb well in. Cool Bahamian has shown little of late and Miss Atomic Bomb is not drawn well in 19 of 20 so my pick of the three-year-olds are Extremity and Sandra’s Diamond. Ryan Moore rides Extremity for the first time for Hugo Palmer and has the number 1 draw on the inside rail and Moore more than anyone given his tactical brain will be aware he can’t get boxed in. He has been running well on his last three starts but this first step up to a mile can hopefully bring around the required improvement and it was a Palmer-trained horse who won last year’s race from stall 1 by 4½l. Sandra’s Diamond is also having her first start over a mile but has an outside draw to contend with in stall 16. The Keith Dalgleish yard are in great form however having had a treble on Sunday and Da Sousa is a tactically-savvy jockey having his first ride on the filly and she has been running well of late. Dalgleish also runs the four-year-old Argaki (well drawn in 3) who is just starting to drop down the weights but is still 2lb higher than for his last win nine starts ago.
Mark Johnston can do little wrong at present and he runs Skytrain who is having his 15th start of the year winning just once in a small race at Wolverhampton. He is 4lb lower now and is drawn in the lower half in stall 8 so stranger things, especially at a meeting where the yard excel. Also drawn in the lower half is Maverick (2) for the local William Knight stable who like to target handicaps at this course and his fifth of seven at Sandown on his seasonal debut just 13 days ago could easily have been a prep for this race, though he is exposed having his 38th start and he has not shone at Goodwood in two previous attempts. Bountybeamadam is housed in stall 6 for his hat-trick bid after two wins at Chepstow so undulations are not problem to him. He has led on both occasions so expect Pat Cosgrave to jump out quick and try and bag the rail. One stall outside of him is the consistent Fleckerl. Probably too consistent as he has placed on his last four starts including when second to Saturday’s big 33/1 winner Heavy Metal, though all four were small-field affairs. Commissar and Directorship are the final pair with a low-half drawn but I can’t find any obvious reason why they should leave recent average runs behind.
Ogbourne Downes, who Charlie Hills unleashes again quickly under a 6lb penalty for his win at Sandown last week, only scraped home by a short-head but he battled well after being given a patient ride but he will need to improve again. Of similar interest of those drawn high is the top weight Secret Art for William Knight who was sixth in the Buckingham Palace Stakes but has disappointed slightly either side of that run so big-field handicaps might be more his cup of tea. The horse drawn in double figures to interest me most however is Buckstay in stall 12 who arrives here off a win at Kempton winning more comfortably than the winning margin of half a length suggests so a 4lb raise could underestimate him.
CONCLUSION - not a race to go overboard about for many reasons but if pushed to throw four darts they would be on Extremity, Buckstay, Skytrain and Bountybeamadam.
5:20 Casino At Bet365 Handicap
If the last handicap wasn’t difficult for you then try this little 26-runner 5f sprint for four-year-olds and upwards rate 70-90. I can hardly wait. Tony Carroll has won the last two renewals with 25/1 and 22/1 shots and he is double-handed with Tidal’s Baby and the bottom weight, Valmina, who is 1lb out of the handicap. Tidal’s Baby looks the stable number one especially as his two runs at Goodwood have heralded a win and a half-length third so it would be no surprise given the stable race record if this has been the plan for a while and he warmed up with a length-third at Windsor two weeks ago. He is one of just two course-and-distance winners in amongst the 26 runners the other being Pandar who won at 40/1 at the May Meeting and is only 1lb higher.
Daylight and Dawn Catcher are unquestionably the in-form pair both having won their last two starts. Daylight represents Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy and is 9lb higher than when he won at Brighton and then followed up at Lingfield, both over 6f. It could be have been worse but they were victories of under a length so he could still be ahead of the Handicapper providing he is as effective dropping back down to a fast 5f. Dawn Catcher followed up a Lingfield win at Newbury for the Geoffrey Deacon stable and is also 9lb higher than before his double strike. Unlike Daylight however, he looks a real 5f specialist. Barnet Fair and Swiss Cross, both towards the top of the weights, are also in form, as is Cruise Tothelimit who has placed in five of the last six starts. Barnet Fair was second in the sprint handicap at Ascot on Sunday and represents Dandy Nicholls who has a great record in sprint handicaps at Glorious Goodwood whereas Swiss Cross has not finished out of the first two on his last three starts but six of his seven wins have been over 6f+. Nicholls won this race in 2007 and 2010 and also runs Fitz Flyer and recalls Joe Fanning for the first time since he last won 13 starts ago when Fanning was also on board. Inxile is the third Nicholls runner and this form Group class performer has to find improvement on his runs this season. Monumental Man and Secret Millionaire have also been running well of late.
Others worthy of a second look include the David Barron-trained Long Awaited who has not run for two months but he goes well fresh having won first time out twice. He has not won since August 2012 but had run plenty of good races in defeat so could be tad of each-way value for a yard that know what they are doing in sprint handicaps. Richard Fahey has booked Ryan Moore for Lexi’s Hero who has only finished out of the first four once in his last ten starts so that is another potential each-way angle horse. Whether he is as effective over 5f as he is over 6f is the concern though.
CONCLUSION - Lord have mercy, but here we go anyway and my four against the field would be Tidal’s Baby, Pandar, Barnet Fair and Long Awaited. Good luck.