Tag Archives: Goodwood

Guineas Weekend Preview

Guineas weekend has firmly arrived – the first Classics of the new flat season nearly upon us…. time is flying – studying the four miler at Cheltenham feels like yesterday!

But it’s great. I love flat racing. I love Newmarket, I love Guineas weekend. It’s when dreams are still dreamed, when the summer starts to make its presence felt and the mind gets fully focused on the flat and all those good looking, fast horses that now emerge on a near daily basis.

My allegiance in the 2000 Guineas is not a secret. I shouted it from the roof for weeks: Al Wukair will give hot favourite Churchill plenty to think about. I stick to my guns and nothing has changed my opinion – I’d be surprised if the French horse doesn’t go close.

Sunday – 1000 Guineas:

Not until last night I made up my mind up on the fillies’ equivalent. Because let’s face it, this is quite an open contest. Yes, another Aiden O’Brien inmate says ‘HI’ from the top of the betting, but  you got to be a brave man to back Rhododendron for what seems quite a skinny price.

With fillies you never know whether they have trained on, whether they are still in love with the game or whether they have set their mind on other things in life. That aside, we haven’t seen Rhododendron since last season, whereas we have seen a number of other intriguing contenders already racing in the last weeks, proving they have trained on.

Also even if you do believe strongly in her juvenile form, it’s probably fair to say that it does tie in with a handful of other runners in the field, and it’s not like that she ran all of them down in the manner of a far superior individual.

Nonetheless it appears that the Irish have a very strong hand in the 1000 Guineas on Sunday, Aiden O’Brien in particular – not only because of Rhododendron.

Big market mover in recent days was stable mate Winter, and you can easily see why. It was a huge run in the 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown from her. She had a wider than ideal trip throughout, yet nearly beat stable mate Hydrangea who in contrast had the run of the race from the front.

They grey has plenty of scope and is clearly talented. However the good prices are long gone. Is Hydrangea better value, given she won the trial? Yes, possibly. A good filly, a willing partner for whoever jockey sits atop, a filly that has a fair chance, though she is far from flashy and you wonder whether she can improve from Leopardstown.

The Leopardstown form has been franked in no uncertain terms by third placed Rehana in the meantime – that enhances the chances of Winter and Hydrangea, no doubt. Rehana has been impressive in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at Naas last weekend.

IMO this piece of form, the Leopardstown Trial, is therefore key in determining the winner of the 1000 Guineas. In saying that the filly that came fourth that day is clearly the one of most interest to me.

Intricately providing young Joseph his first Classic winner? What a story that would be. She is still a whopping price, which puzzles me, particularly because the vibes from the yard seem positive.

Anyway, Leopardstown was clearly an occasion where  the main aim was to get a run under her belt. Still she ran a perfectly fine race. She raced off the pace which wasn’t ideal in this particular contest, but she travelled well enough through the race and eventually finished less than 2 lengths beaten, without getting a hard ride at all.

It should put her right for when it really matters. Lest we forget, Intricately already is a Group 1 winner! She beat Hydrangea in a tight finish in the Moyglare last season – Rhododendron was nearly two lengths back in third.

The one mile trip won’t be an issue for her. Yes, she was disappointing at Santa Anita, but that was right at the end of the season. You could draw from that performance that quick ground is a slight concern, though. However in terms of stamina, I don’t worry too much. She looks a filly that cries out for an extra furlong.

In summary, Intricately looks a big price – too big. She has the right profile, is well bred for the job, has race fitness on her side and is clearly classy given she is a Group 1 winner – so Intricately @ 18/1 is my selection for the 1000 Guineas.

…….

5.00 Goodwood: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Duchess Of Fife looks an intriguing contender for a red hot yard. The filly was pretty raw with plenty to learn in all her three maiden runs last season, however as an April foal she should have scope to improve this season. She has quite a big frame to fill too, so a winter may have done her the world of good.

A hood is applied for the first time, so she does try the 10f trip. Her maiden form looks solid rating wise, giving her every chance of an opening mark of 65. She will need to find improvement for the distance, headgear and maturity, but if she does make a step forward she should go very close here.

Selection:
10pts win – Duchess Of Fife @ 9/1 Bet365

………

6.50 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Bottom weight Aardwolf is a very interesting contender after an excellent comeback run on the back of a gelding op during the winter. With his WFA allowance and prominent racing style he could steel the race.

Nonetheless a safer pick is Gallipoli who looks certain to progress after a classy victory at Leicester last moth. The four year old is still quite lightly raced and had only three starts over this 7f trip, with legitimate excuses the first two starts over this trip where didn’t quite perform too well.

Gallipoli has course form – he got off the mark on debut here over 5f on fast ground. So conditions are sure to suit him. Hopefully there will be enough pace, as it seems not too many want to go forward. However he showed in the past to be able to track the pace and change gear.

Selection:
10pts win – Gallipoli @ 10/3 William Hill

Top Stallion Starspangledbanner

Starspangledbanner JM

100% – Starspangledbanner was a real speedball, yet was able to stretch out to up to a mile on the rare occasion. That made him a very special sprinter. Not surprisingly, his offspring seems to have inherited those  traits.

So far he has clearly been a success as a stallion, despite the early issues around his fertility. He’s producing a near 20% strike rate on average in the UK over the last three years.

Relevant for today: his offspring performs exceptionally well at Newmarket as well over 7 furlongs, with a better than average win percentage – even more impressive: in Handicaps over 7 furlongs at Newmarket he currently maintains a 100% strike rate . he had only three runners so far, but all three  have won and that looks significant!

For that reason his sole runner at Newmarket today, The Commendatore, is quite an interesting horse in the 7f Handicap at 3pm.

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Saturday Selections:

3.00 Newmarket: The Commendatore @ 16/1 Coral
3.20 Goodwood: Shady McCoy @ 12/1 William Hill
6.35 Windsor: Fire Fighting @ 13/2 Coral

Photo: Aidenobrienfansite

Betting: Sunday Selections

Ivawood

3.05 Goodwood: Class 4 Nursery, 7f

Lightly raced Alabaaly only makes his second start in this company after showing some decent promise in three maiden races. First time blinkers lid him up the last time and he tired badly towards the end, yet finished 3rd nonetheless. Headgear has been dropped, he’s 3lb down in the mark and has been gelded in the meantime – a promising combination which should see him in much better light today.

Alabaaly @ 10/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

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4.30 Chepstow PERSIAN WAR NOVICES´ HURDLE (Grade 2)

Emerging Talent sets a fine standard but can be opposed at a skinny price, given he has to prove that he can find something off the bridle – although the step up in trip should suit.

Against him Definite Outcome looks a reasonable danger. He is a former Irish point winner, who got easily off the mark in a NHF back in March when he looks still raw and green. He’s probably a nice chaser in the making but should take well to hurdling as well, for the moment. The trip must not be an issue and with the yard going well, he’s an interesting runner.

Definite Outcome @ 4/1 VC – 5pts Win

Betting: Saturday Selections

Legatissimo

Been some tough few days but Malabar steered the ship back into the right direction. Her 10/1 win was badly needed but as always in racing, one big winner, and you’re back in the game. Last day of Glorious Goodwood today – hopefully ending it on a high note.

2.35 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f

I like the profile of Melodious here. This progressive filly is beautifully bred for 12f and showed excellent improvement this year. She should come into her own with time so may have not shown her best yet. Unlucky to be piped on the line at Newbury the other day, she tries this trip only for the second time and remains on a fairly decent mark.

Melodious @ 12/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

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3.10 Goodwood: Nassau Stakes (Group 1), 1m 2f

Burned my fingers in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh when Diamondsandrubies held on to win against Legatissimo. I believe the Wachman filly can turn the table today. She had a tactical disadvantage at the Curragh and is the better filly of the pair.

I was inclined to leave this race as it is, as there are some other good fillies in the field too with French Oaks winner Star Of Seville or English Oaks third Lady of Dubai. But Legatissimo is now available at 5/2, which I didn’t expect and deem as too big.

Legatissimo @ 5/2 Betfred – 10pts Win

Friday Selections: Goodwood & Galway

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

2.35 Goodwood: Thoroughbred Stakes (Group 3)

Bold entry from Mick Channon to send his classy filly Malabar into the race. But then, there are good reasons for it. Goodwood is the place of her biggest triumph, when she landed a Group 3 here last year. Since then she contested at the highest level against top class opposition while performing consistently well. She is however a filly who runs consistently into trouble as well.

She was unlucky in a handful of her starts, most recently in the Irish 1000 Guineas and subsequently the Prix De Diane. She drops markedly in class today and I believe that should make all the difference. She just doesn’t have quite the high cruising speed or change of gear you need at Group 1 level.

But down in Group 3 class, she should be a major player in this wide open race. Visors fitted may help her to stay focused until the race is over as she often travelles well but seem to lack sharpness when it really matters. Negative is De Sousa who just can’t ride Goodwood. But it’s worth the risk as Malabar strikes me as a filly with a massive chance.

Malabar @ 10/1 Sportinbet – 5pts Win

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3.10 Goodwood: Betfred Mile Handicap, 1m

This should be an incredibly close race and I feel Ocean Tempest is very much overlooked. He hasn’t really excelled at Meydan and seemed to feel this tough campaign on his UK comeback in the Lincoln. Back from a break now, he is finally dropped to a realistic mark again in a grade where he belongs.

He has the draw to get into a positive position right from the start here, which should suit. He may not get an easy lead, but tracking it would work too. Off 105 he must certainly enter calculations if back in form, given he won off ten pounds higher last year.

Ocean Tempest @ 33/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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4.20 Goodwood: Nursery, Class 2, 6f

Richard Fahey’s filly Zahrat Narjis makes plenty of appeal here on her Nursery debut. She is very well bred, by a sire who gets often excellent 2 year olds, out of a Group 3 winning dam. She showed promise in all her three maidens and now switched to this company should help her. She could easily be better than her opening mark off 72.

Zahrat Narjis @ 12/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win

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6.50 Galway: Guinness Handicap, 1m 4f

Dermot Weld’s Show Court went close in this last year when runner-up off a 2lb higher mark. He travelled strongly but maybe hit the front a bit too early. 12f seems his absolute limit stamina wise and the same scenario could very well happen today again – but at 7/1 I’m rather on him, given that he appears to be well handicapped now.

Show Court @ 7/1 Betfed – 5pts Win

Thursday Selections

Cheltenham Festival

2.35 Goodwood: Qatar Richmond Stakes (Group 2)

Long Island at 6/1 is a huge price in my mind. Forgive him the run at the Curragh which came too soon after a big performance at Royal Ascot. He’s more suited to 6f though and after a bit of rest should be back to his best today. He went into the Royal meeting as the most exciting 2yo and I think it’s too early to give up on him.

Long Island @ 6/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

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3.00 Galway Handicap (90-60), 1m

Top weight of ten stone and a wider than ideal draw are tough asks, but lightly raced Champagne Or Water makes plenty of appeal in this field nonetheless. She came out off her seasonal break really well at the Curragh earlier this month when she won a good Handicap in fine style.

She came miles clear with the runner-up and might well be able to pull out more, despite a rise off 9lb in the mark. She is overpriced here.

Champagne Or Water @ 9/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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3.10 Goodwood: Goodwood Cup (Group 2), 2m

I like to think that Pallasator is capable to bounce back today. He’s a really interesting runner – the three year old filly Vive Ma Fille is the one that intrigues me most. She is wonderfully bred, is a full-sister to Group 1 winning Vif Monsieur and she stepped up successfully to Listed class at Royal Ascot last month.

She tried 2m for the first time and attempted to make all. She set a steady pace and was in with a big shout over one furlong out, however hang her chances literally away. Whether this performance is prove enough for her ability to truly stay 2m isn’t clear yet as on pedigree she hasn’t really a right to do so, but it was an encouraging effort in a competitive field.

Today is tougher of course in a better grade against seasoned stayers, and the fact remains that she has won only one single race to date. But she has been very consistent in her form. What I like is thee fact that she receives a truckload of weight from the rest of the field. The Johnston yard is flying too, so there’s plenty to like about her chances.

Vive Ma Fille @ 20/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

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4.45 Galway: Galway Hurdle, Handicap, Class 1, 2m

It was Diakali first, the rest nowhere on his seasonal comeback at Tipperary eleven days ago. If this doesn’t come too soon today, it’s hard to look beyond him. This six year old is the class act, still improving and as long as he takes to the track, will take all the beating, despite top weight. I feel 5/1 is rather generous.

Diakali @ 5/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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7.15 Ffos Las: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

I’m sure Kingdom Of Alba is better than what he’s shown in three maidens yet with the yard going strongly, but the same could easily apply to Rebel Yell who makes plenty of appeal on his handicap debut either. He’s pretty well bred and should be very well suited by the step up in trip.

Gelded since his last run will help to focus him more on the task ahead. Usually this works well for Shamardal offspring. This is very winnable race, so with plenty in his favour, he’s a worth a nibble at 10/1.

Rebel Yell @ 10/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

Preview: Gordon Stakes (Group 3)

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2.35 Goodwood: Gordon Stakes (Group 3)

I feel depressed to say it, but I have to oppose Highland Reel firmly. He was the most exciting horse to look forward before the start of the season but he didn’t fulfil the promise he showed as a juvenile. I tend to agree, though, that his Derby performance was too poor to be true and he might be seen in a better light today. Yet he could be vulnerable to some progressive sorts and is not certain to stay thus far anyway.

Medrano is a fair alternative and should run his race, however the drying ground might not be quite what he wants. Disegno would have to take a big step forward to feature, I feel, and he doesn’t look all that likely to do what is required to win.

The two individuals most likely to improve are Scottish and Space Age. Both have improved in recent weeks and deserve a shoot in this company. I struggle to favour one over the other, though. I fancy both and feel they are overpriced. So I go with both.

Scottish is a full-brother to Group 3 winner Royal Empire. He was beaten on his seasonal reappearance by smart Mr Singh but got off the mark subsequently in fine style. Stepped up in trip at Royal Ascot, he was an excellent runner-up behind Space Age but had to delay his run until 2f out at which point Space Age was long gone. He looks clearly on the up.

Space Age’s win at Royal Ascot was freak-like. Overcoming the widest draw, setting a hot pace but held on gamely in the closing stages. He was beaten in 2nd off his revised mark in his next start by a well handicapped individual, but most importantly had to give loads of weight away that day while deploying an aggressive racing style once again.

Both look well up to pattern class in my mind and should run big races with conditions to suit.

Space Age @ 9/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
Scottish @ 8/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win 

Tuesday Selections

Massinga

After some busy weeks in real life and disappointing results on the racetrack I’m getting back into the mood – Glorious Goodwood and the Galway Festival are surely helping. Some serious racing is on offer today, and I’ll try to enjoy it as much as possible. From a betting perspective I feel the bookies have made some errors:

3.45 Goodwood: Notarised @ 8/1

Naturally this is an ultra-competitive Handicap, but the ground doesn’t play into the hands of many. However it should suit progressive Notarised. He is hard to pass once in front, as shown when winning at Haydock recently where he prevailed in a tough fight. He pulled clear with the second, who’s a good horse in his own right too.

Notarised has won at Goodwood before as well as over 2m. He should have all in his favour, including the possibility to get a soft lead. He has to overcome a career highest mark, but can be able to pull out a bit more once again, particularly with conditions to suit so well today.

> Sportingbet – 5pts Win

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6.15 Galway: Kind Of Magic @ 4/1

The Aiden O’Brien filly should be much shorter here. She was a big eye-catcher on her debut when she ran green and was poorly positioned when the race unfolded. But she finished in impressive style without getting a hard ride. She’ll have learned plenty that day.

Softish ground today should be in her favour as her dam won a Listed race on bottomless ground. She has not much to fear in this field as the Weld favourite doesn’t make any appeal at all at a very skinny price over a trip potentially too short for Simannka. I expect Kind Of Magic to turn the table with Bolger’s Siamsaiocht too.

> 4/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

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6.50 Galway: Galway Topaz Mile – Aussie Valentine @ 25/1

Dermot Weld’s runner proves popular for many reasons. Surely the lightly raced Stay The Night is primed and bound for a big run. But in a competitive race like this you have to oppose him at the given prices.

In my mind Aussie Valentine is a huge price given the excellent improvement he has shown in some tough handicaps this season. A bit unlucky in the Lincoln, when runner-up behind an exciting improver, he made no mistake at Leopardstown subsequently. The Alleged Stakes came a bit too soon after those big races and he didn’t show his true form.

Back off a break today should suit him well. He usually runs best when fresh. More rain is expected which is surely in his favour and the trip is perfect too. Obviously the track is an unknown and the draw a concern, but at this price something I can live with.

> Bet365 – 5pts Win

Medrano can outrun the odds in Cocked Hat

DSC_0947

4.00 Goodwood: Cocked Hat Stakes (Listed)

Really hot Listed contest with a very strong favourite: Best Of Times won well on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket earlier this month. They went the first half of the Newmarket Stakes (Listed) pretty quick but BOT stuck to the task. He’s now on a four-timer and unfortunately any value in his odds has diminished. At 6/4 I have to take him on. There is a lot to like about him, but he has to give 3lb away in a competitive field.

John Gosden’s Mr Singh makes obvious appeal. He got off the mark in a strong Newbury maiden over 1m3f and there is a good chance that he can improve big time for the run. Great Glen is still a maiden but made a good impression on his first start this year when staying on for second place at Newmarket. The additional furlong should help today, but it remains to be seen whether he is on the same level as some of the better fancied rivals.

Storm The Stars is a likeable sort. He was always sure to improve as a three year old and his 2nd in the Chester Vase behind Hans Holbein rates a strong piece of form as he came from an unfavourable position. That says he looks a skinny price at 11/4 and I fail to see why Medrano, who finished a fair 3rd in the Vase, is five times the price. Medrano wasn’t favoured by the run of the race either but finished well enough behind Aiden O’Brien’s Derby hopeful.

Obviously Medrano is more exposed than most and had already three starts this year. Albeit a good deal beaten in two of them in France, he finished in the place money behind good horses. It remains to be seen how he handles the better ground, though the trip should suit down to the grounds. There’s every chance that others in this field have the ability to progress to a level beyond him, but these unknown improvements are seemingly reflected in the betting, while he sets a fair actual standard on form. He’s not my ideal idea of a winner here, but he is certainly overpriced.

Medrano @ 20/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

R.I.P. Cavalryman

It’s been tragic news confirmed by Godolphin that veteran stayer Cavalryman has died. The nine year old sustained a leg fracture in a race at Meydan last night.

It is a great shame and very sad to lose this great warrior. It’s the cruelty of our otherwise wonderful sport. Cavalryman was a star of the turf, a multiple Group winner around the world. His unique late burst of speed was something special. A stayer with a turn of foot. That’s what he was and will be remembered for.

Cavalryman: Six seasons on the track, 39 races, 10 wins, six in Group company, one Group 1.

May he rest in piece…