Glorious Goodwood 2012 Preview, Trends and Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2012 Preview / Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2012 Preview / Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2012 Preview, Trends and Tips

It’s one of my favourite meetings of the year, on one of the most beautiful racecourses in Britain (if not the world), and I’m looking forward to being there on Friday and Saturday.

From a betting perspective, there are lots of things to be aware of at Glorious Goodwood. Course constitution, pace favouring styles, draw biases, horses for courses, top trainers and jockeys… and that’s even before we look at any of the big race trends, or take a single line of form to study!

Luckily, here at Geegeez, we like to help with the heavy lifting, or at least the data crunching. So, in this evolving post, I’ll start with the general ‘need to know’ information, and then build it out through the week into a full preview, trends and tips piece.

If that sounds fair enough, then let’s get cracking, starting with a word on the course constitution…

Glorious Goodwood Course Constitution

Goodwood Tips

Goodwood Tips

Goodwood’s racecourse is marked off within the Sussex Downs and, as such, it’s no surprise to note that it is an extremely undulating strip. There is a straight piste, on which all five and six furlong sprints are run; but all other races are run around at least one very sharp turn.

Goodwood has two different home bends, the sharper of which is the inner loop.

It generally takes quite an agile horse to act on such a demanding course, and it’s certainly the case that not all horses are suited by this track.

Glorious Goodwood Pace Analysis

There is a very distinct front-running pace bias at Goodwood. Indeed, the excellent Proform software tells me that horses who led in their races won 15.56% of the time. Compare this with those who were prominent, at 10.26%, and hold up horses who have won just 7.21% of the time.

This means that front runners win 50% more often than prominent racers, and more than twice as often as hold up horses. If you fancy a horse which comes with a late rattle at Glorious Goodwood, you’re going to need more than a slice of luck!

Oh yes, I should also point out that a pound on all horses who led in their races here since 1997 would have yielded a profit of 220 points at industry starting price. Favour front runners.

Glorious Goodwood Draw Bias

There may be a slight advantage to be drawn low on the straight course, i.e. over five or six furlongs. However, in reality, it is probably more important to be drawn close to the early pace in the race over such distances.

At seven furlongs and a mile, there has tended to be a considerable bias to low drawn horses overall, although this has been a little less apparent in recent years.

Beyond a mile, there is very little difference in draw position in terms of the final result.

Again, though, it bears repeating that racing on or very close to the pace is beneficial.

Horses for Courses

I felt certain that this would unveil a nice angle to go to war with this week at Glorious Goodwood. But, despite cutting the data in a host of different ways (which in itself is not a great thing to do, essentially forcing the issue), I was unable to find an edge here.

There is a marginal advantage for previous course winners (10% strike rate) over those who have run here before without winning (9% strike rate). But that’s nothing with which to underwrite your wagers.

Goodwood Top Trainers

There are certain trainers who target this meeting with great effect. Those with a 15% strike rate with their runners during July and August (note, this includes other meetings hosted at the track during those two months), and who show a level stakes profit since 2008 are:

Sir Henry Cecil, Mahmood al Zarooni, Roger Charlton, Gerard Butler, Brian Meehan and James Given.

Horses saddled by that sextet should all be noted.

Two year old specialists include Ralph Beckett, Brian Meehan, David Nicholls and Richard Hannon.

Handicap specialists include Sir Michael Stoute, Roger Charlton, Willie Muir, Willie Haggas and John Best.

Goodwood Top Jockeys

When considering who rides Goodwood the best, I’ve looked at all races at the track since 2008, irrespective of the calendar month in which they were run.

On horses priced 12/1 or shorter, the following jockeys all have good strike rates and show a level stake profit:

Richard Hughes (23% strike rate, +48.83), George Baker (21%, +26.25), Liam Keniry (18%, +33.5), and Johnny Murtagh (42%, +28.72).

Those jockeys who have performed best on outsiders, defined in terms of profit on horses priced 14/1 or bigger since 2008, are:

Tom Queally (five wins, +86.00), Dane O’Neill (three wins, +32.00), and Ian Mongan (three wins, +17.00).

Glorious Goodwood Day One Preview and Tips

2.00 – 1m2f Handicap (Class 2)

A typically tough handicap kicks the week off, and it might pay to just try and get through the placepot opener here, as there are likely to be plenty of hard luck stories in such a big field.

One who will be primed for a bold show, and whose run style from the front suits the track, is Mark Johnston’s Landaman. Johnston always brings a battalion to Goodwood, and he’d love to get the week off to the best possible start.

This is a big step up from the Class 4 and 5 handicaps which comprised the first two legs of Landaman’s hat-trick attempt, but those two wins were at the similarly undulating Beverley and, if he can get to the front here, he should go close with four places being paid each way.

There are loads and loads of dangers, and I’m not going to pretend I’ve been through the form here with a fine toothed comb. What I will do is repeat my introductory warning about backing hold up horses in big fields here. There are nine closers in this field, which means half of the eighteen will be climbing over each other to get a run, and you’ll be luckier than the odds you’ve taken if you get your winner from far back.

Side with pace, and you’ll at least get a run for your lolly. Aside from Landaman, the other pace here is from Cai Shen, King’s Gambit and Pivotman; with Retrieve and Oceanway likely to be thereabouts.

Tentative Selection (each way): Landaman

2.35 Gordon Stakes (Group 3)

One of the pre-eminent St Leger trials, this three year old mile and a half Group 3 is generally a solid affair, with horses priced 4/1 or shorter winning eight of the last ten renewals.

Thirteen of the last fifteen winners were placed 1-2-3 on their last start.

Seven go to post here, and my first thought is to chuck out the three at double figure odds: Farhaan, Ed De Gas, and Minimise Risk. They will almost certainly not be good enough.

From the remaining quartet, the favourite – Michelangelo – is a likeable and progressive type, representing the same connections as last year’s St Leger winner, Masked Marvel: Johnny G and former Abba band member, Benny Nielsen.

Michelangelo was thrown in at the deep end on his debut, when a close third in a Listed event at Newmarket, behind Noble Mission, who also lines up here. Since then, he’s gone on to win his next two starts, firstly in a mile and three furlongs Listed race here, and then in a very valuable conditions race at Newmarket.

Having proven he acts on the track, and shown a really taking turn of pace to close from the back last time, Gosden’s horse looks hard to beat here.

The second favourite is the aforementioned Noble Mission, from Sir Henry’s revered yard. Like Michelangelo, a son of Galileo, Noble Mission has done most of his racing on turf with the word ‘soft’ somewhere in the going description, and the expected slightly faster ground may not be ideal.

Having said that, he does have higher Racing Post Ratings than Michelangelo, if not the same scope to improve.

Next in, and a very interesting contender from the Danedream Team of trainer Peter Schiergen and jockey Andrasch Starke, is Girolamo. The top German stayers are generally close to the top of the global staying tree, and Girolamo has high class form.

In fact, he has arguably the best form in the race, having finished third – beaten just a half length – in the Group 1 German Derby, a high class race always. He’s by Dai Jin, himself a German Derby winner, out of a Surumu mare, a pedigree which screams middle distances, and my one reservation is whether this hold up horse will have the gears to quicken past some smart opponents.

The final runner worthy of closer inspection – to my eye, at least – is Mahmood al Zarooni’s Encke. A progressive thrice-raced horse, he was last seen when winning a Class 3 handicap over ten furlongs at Sandown. Obviously, this is further and a much classier race but, on breeding at least, Encke should cope with the trip fine.

Whether he’s good enough is another question entirely and, against some equally progressive rivals, I’d be happy enough to let him beat me if he’s good enough.

So, and excuse the laboured Abba puns here, the winner takes it all. Can Michelangelo prevail, or will he meet his Waterloo? Personally, I think he’s a gimme (gimme gimme) in this field, and expect him to prevail.

Selection: Michelangelo

3.10 Lennox Stakes (Group 2)

A seven furlong Group 2 for 3yo+. Eight of the twelve winners were placed 1-2 last time; three to five year olds have won all twelve; ten winners had run between sixteen and sixty days ago; and ten winners came from the first three in the betting, though only two favourites.

Those trends push us squarely towards Chachamaidee, Foxtrot Romeo, and Libranno, though the only one to tick all boxes is Libranno.

From the uber-powerful Richard Hannon/Richard Hughes axis, Libranno is on a hat-trick and has three seven furlong wins to his name, including a Group 3 over this piste. He’s a horse I’ve always liked and he must be a player here, on ground he’ll like (all seven career wins with the word ‘good’ in the going description).

Against him, Foxtrot Romeo may be most interesting. Second in the Irish 2000 Guineas and a close up sixth in the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – both Group 1’s over a mile – this drop back in trip/down in grade should suit perfectly.

For all that he’s classy however, Foxtrot Romeo has only won one of his five races, and there is a definite doubt about the quality of the three year old Classic horses this term.

Chachamaidee, a game mare from the Sir Henry team, is a course and distance winner at this meeting. Her Oak Tree Stakes victory was against the girls, and I doubt she has quite the toe to see off the boys here, especially when she’ll be trying to give them a head start with her closing style.

Libranno is the one who goes from the front, and I think he’ll prove hard to pass. If any of the rest can do that, it’s most likely to be Foxtrot Romeo. But Hannon and Hughes look good at 9/2 or thereabouts.

Selection: Libranno
Main danger: Foxtrot Romeo

3.45 Molecomb Stakes (Group 3)

The first juvenile race of the week, over five furlongs, the Molecomb has been won by some speedy saplings indeed. The likes of Monsieur Chevalier and Fleeting Spirit in the last few years have gone on to take high rank in the senior division subsequently, and it’s possible that one of this collective will replicate their success.

The one with the best form chance is probably Morawij. Winner of two of his three starts to date, his sole defeat was when fourth behind the precocious Reckless Abandon. The latter is unbeaten in three now and, since learning not to veer across the track, has managed to beat up a good group of juvies in a Maisons Lafitte Group 2.

Second there was Richard Hannon’s Sir Prancealot, so he has a strong barometer of the form here. Hannon saddles two, Lyric Ace and Dominate, and – whilst it might be reckless abandon to write off anything aged two from his stable – they don’t look quite up to winning this.

Eleven of the fourteen winners had finished first or second last time, so favour a strong recent finish. There have been six winning favourites, and thirteen of the fourteen winners were from the top six in the market.

Interestingly, perhaps, ten of the fourteen winners had had at least four runs prior to bagging the Molecomb; and eleven winners had run within thirty days of lining up here.

If you can forgive Hototo his lacklustre effort on heavy ground last time – and that is easy enough on the balance of his form – then he must have a decent chance on his previous Windsor Castle win. The second that day, Alhebayeb, franked the form when winning the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, and the third and fourth from the Windsor Castle look to have plenty on to reverse form.

One who ticks a lot of boxes at a huge price is Alan Brown’s Lady Ibrox. I’m not suggesting she can win, but she might run close and has been in the frame mainly over five furlongs in all five of her starts since her debut.

Selection: Morawij
Next Best: Hototo
Interesting outsider: Lady Ibrox

4.15 Maiden

A six furlong maiden, and not an especially good one historically, either. Another race where placepot survival is my personal imperative, and one which revolves around the five-handed Hannon entry.

Hannon, despite winning last year, has a poor record in the race. He has, though, peppered the places in previous years, so it’s difficult to write his squad off. And probably foolish too.

The problem is in trying to assuage which are the favoured runners: a problem which is not especially exacerbated by jockey bookings. Stable first choice jockey, Richard Hughes, is the top man at the track and he has been handed the job of steering and urging Millers Wharf, not obviously the form pick of the Hannon battalion.

Hannon has employed Ryan Moore to push and shove atop the unraced Raging Bear; Neil Callan to cajole and harass Bold Prediction; and stable support riders, Sean Levey and Pat Dobbs, to bob and weave on Keep Calm and World Record respectively.

Quite where all that leaves us I don’t know. I surmise that Millers Wharf may be showing most at home; and that Raging Bear may be considered useful; and that Callan has been requested by one of his guv’nor Roger Varian’s main patrons, Clipper Logistics, to ride Bold Prediction.

Consequently, I will be most interested in Millers Wharf, in a race which hasn’t been won by a newcomer in the last ten years.

For the placepot, I will be going three or four deep, and Saint Jerome will definitely make that squad. Once raced, when an encouraging sixth in a much better maiden than this, Saint Jerome comes from the Marcus Tregoning yard. Tregoning may be struggling overall just now, but he adores a Glorious Goodwood winner, and this fellow has the pace to lie handy, and will be sticking on when others have had enough.

Token offering: Millers Wharf, Saint Jerome

4.50 Handicap (Class 3)

Twenty runners over a mile, and I’m drawn (if you’ll pardon the pun) to those berthed low with a preference for making or tracking the pace.

Step forward, the perennial pacemaker, April Fool, from his trap five position. Absolutely certain to make the running, this fifteen-time winner has conditions in his favour. My one reservation – and it’s quite a big one – is that he’s never won in a field bigger than twelve. It’s possible he can go uncontested from the front, but fairly likely that something else will at least bustle him up in the early exchanges.

Askaud could fit the bill, and goes very well here, as she showed when winning a seventeen runner handicap at the Glorious meeting last year. She came back to form with a fine second at York last time, and from box two can get a handy position ready to make a challenge.

This is a race where run style and/or draw counts meaningfully against a number of the runners, and I think Askaud might run a big race.

As ever, I’m not prepared to delve deeply into the form book of all twenty protagonists, because I don’t consider it a good use of my writing time and your reading time (these races are not my forte). I’d far rather find one horse at a price which ticks a lot of boxes and take my chances that way. Feel free to look elsewhere if this strikes you as lazy! (It isn’t, it’s just a case of using time optimally).

Each way selection: Askaud

5.25 Handicap (Class 3)

A 26 runner (!) five furlong sprint is the ‘get out stakes’ on day one, and the very best of luck to you if you insist on attempting to escape from any position of negative equity on this one. You’re going to need it.

I’m first looking to understand which part of the track is likely to have the most early pace. Unhelpfully perhaps – or maybe reinforcing the ‘no bet’ status of the race – there seems to be a fairly even split of pace right across the track.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Bertoliver could be what our American cousins call ‘the speed of the speed’ and his rail draw in 26 might aid a bold trap to line bid. He’s yet to win this term, but has won in each of his last six seasons, and has two Class 2 victories, one of which was in a big field of nineteen over Epsom’s equally licketty-split helter-skelter flying five.

I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting I have a strong view on this race, and again I’m happy enough to roll with a nag for whom conditions are plum: that chap is Bertoliver.

The ‘oody’s, Harmoody and R Woody, both like it here and are both trained by renowned sprint trainers (David Nicholls and Robert Cowell respectively). They might go close at working men’s prices.

And that’s Day One of Glorious Goodwood. A relatively low key start, before the fireworks of Frankel’s procession on Wednesday, and the  rest of the five day fiesta. Don’t blow your stack early and, if you’re lucky and/or smart enough to navigate the Tuesday card profitably, be prudent on day two, as it’s a very long way home from there!

I’ll be back on Wednesday morning with a full preview of the Day Two action. Good luck! And feel free to share your fancies in the comments below. 🙂

Glorious Goodwood Day Two Preview and Tips

2.00 – 2m5f Handicap (Class 2)

The opener on day two is a marathon handicap, which I think is the second or third longest in the flat racing calendar. Although it’s a race for three-year-olds and up, no winner aged three has won in the last ten years, and none are entered this time either. Quite simply, this is too much of a test of stamina at this stage of their careers.

Seven of the last ten winners were aged four or five, and no winner has been older than seven. I’ll be focusing on four and five year old horses, of which there are eight.

Many of the usual staying handicap suspects lock horns again here for the first time since Royal Ascot, and a number of the National Hunt trainers are represented. And it is one of these fellows who has the horse of most interest to me here.

David Pipe is a man caste in his father’s ilk, and he loves a tilt at the big flat handicaps. This time he tries with a horse called Beyond, who has won three of his last four starts on the level.

The sole defeat in that sequence was in his last flat run, when seventh of 33 in the Cesarewitch, a far deeper contest than this. Pipe has switched his Willie’s in the saddle, with Buick replaced by the seven pound-claiming Twiston-Davies for this venture. Ground won’t be a problem, and the prominent running style ensures he ought to have every chance, a comment which won’t necessarily apply universally.

As ever in the big field handicaps, I don’t look to eliminate, but rather to find a horse which seems well suited by conditions and take my chances (for instance, yesterday’s 12/1 winner, Landaman), and that’s the case here too.

Tentative each way selection: Beyond

2.35 – Vintage Stakes (Group 2)

A 2yo seven furlong contest, won by some pretty good horses down the years, notably Sir Percy, the 2006 Epsom Derby winner. Whether there’s a Derby candidate on display here, only time will tell, but those are big enough horseshoes to fill.

Eleven of the last fourteen winners were placed first or second last time out, and all bar one of the last fourteen winners were in the top four in the betting. So don’t expect a shock here.

Ten of those fourteen had run within the last month, with two competing less than a fortnight ago. All fourteen winners had had between one and three prior starts.

On trends, we have a shortlist of Ghurair, Olympic Glory, Birdman and Tha’ir, and on form it looks much the same.

Ghurair won as expected on debut at the July meeting, quickening well up the stands rail. That was on soft ground and it remains to be seen how he handles this quicker surface. Despite that, he is sure to come on for the run, and Johnny G’s juvies have been buzzing so far this season.

Olympic Glory is clearly the most aptly named runner in the field – and perhaps of the week – but that alone will not get him home in front here. Lucky for him, then, that he also has strong form claims, especially his last time out win in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes, again at Newmarket’s July meeting. That performance was achieved on heavy ground, with just a head back to the re-opposing Birdman, and it would be difficult to split that pair on this considerably quicker turf.

Olympic Glory is a Richard Hannon two year old and is likely to be very well backed – perhaps over-bet – on the basis of his name and his connections. As such, I’m happy to let him beat me, as he’s unlikely to represent value in the context of this race.

Birdman, the aforementioned marginally vanquished runner up in the Superlative Stakes, has less scope for improvement than many, having already run four times. He’s a very good horse, but I’d be surprised if he was the pick of these.

Which leaves Tha’ir, Godolphin’s apparent first string. This son of slick-starting sire, New Approach, has won both starts since his debut, in taking style. Indeed, after a four-and-a-half length verdict over Bircham at Ripon, he followed up by more than two lengths in Listed company last time.

That level of form leaves him something to find with the likes of Olympic Glory and Birdman, but this race will be about who improves the most from what they’ve achieved thus far. With that in mind, the fact that he’s by a miler out of a miler’s daughter, and has already won on good ground, gives him prospects at a fair price.

Maxentius was stepping up enormously on what he’d previously achieved when a well-backed third in Olympic Glory’s race last time out. The level of support implied he was expected to be better on the slower surface, and I’d be loathe to back him to prevail here. That said, he has won twice on good or faster ground, albeit in Class 5 and 6 company (!)

One who just might get his own way in front at a huge price, and hang on for a place is Luhaif. The Channon stable is in great form, as evidenced by their two year old Group 3 winner yesterday. The heavy ground was almost certainly against him last time, and this will be far more suitable.

Selection: Tha’Ir
Main Danger: Olympic Glory
Possible big-priced outsider: Luhaif

3.10 Sussex Stakes (Group 1)

This is a huge anti-climax of a contest. Frankel will win, Farrh will be second, and who cares about the rest.

It teaches us nothing about Frankel, and will be little more than a schooling affair for the champ. Whilst I don’t blame the horse for beating up inferior horses, nor especially the connections for sticking to what they know, there is little of sporting interest here.

I sincerely hope we see Frankel take on some decent ten furlong horses at some point. As it stands, he’s destined to be called the best miler ever, but has only a limited claim in my view to be considered the best horse ever, due to the distance inflexibility of his race record.

That’s not his fault of course, and therein lies the real shame of it, from my uninvested perspective. Like I say, I don’t blame connections. I just wish they were even more sporting than they already have been. Yes, I’m greedy. But when you’re offered so much of such a good thing, what can you do?!

(Obvious) selection: Frankel
(Equally obvious) forecast: Frankel to beat Farrh

3.45 1m4f Handicap (Class 2)

An extremely trappy sixteen runner three-year-old handicap over a mile and a half here. Sir Michael Stoute and Amanda Perrett have both won this twice in the last ten years, and are both represented here. They were responsible for the second (Stoute), third and fourth (both Perrett) last year; winner (Stoute) and fourth (Perrett) in 2010; winner (Perrett) in 2009; winner (Stoute) and second (Perrett) in 2007; and so on.

What I’m trying to say is that Mawaqeet and Trend Is My Friend, representing Stoute and Perrett respectively, and both priced at 16/1 are both over-priced purely on their trainer’s records.

Clearly, this race is stronger than two deep: winners of twenty races this season alone between them, and all bar three having already scored this year.

This is a race which will see a veritable cavalry charge of late finishers clambering like ants over each other to get to the front. As such, luck will play a big part, and I’m going to side with a closer in this case, as I think they’re more likely to have an untroubled (wide) passage than some.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t narrow it down hugely, as there are around nine likely closers.

One very interesting horse, who is going to be a longer price today than he has all season, is Trader Jack. This fellow is clearly well regarded by connections – and when connections include master Glorious Goodwood handicap trainer, Roger Charlton, it pays to look twice – and he can be forgiven a lacklustre run two starts back in a field of 29.

Excluding that, his form is strong in this context. He has a seven pound pull for three and a half lengths with Newmarket conqueror, Stature, and that run was arguably his best of the season. This is another quarter mile, and Trader Jack is not obviously bred for such a trip, but was staying on over ten furlongs in that last race.

Dangers are everywhere in a race where it’s hard to discount even a single runner, and win machines Scatter Dice and Rule Book represent top Goodwood handlers. But I’m happy enough to look a little further down the lists and ask for some jam on my (small slice of) bread, in the form of a trio of 16/1 shots.

Each way selections: Mawaqeet, Trend Is My Friend, Trader Jack

4.20 6f Fillies Maiden (Class 2)

Two wins apiece in the last ten years for Messrs. Meehan, Jarvis (M), Dunlop (J), and Hills (B). With Michael Jarvis’ former yard now being run by Roger Varian, and Barry Hills’ by son Charles, there are new names to look out for, but the same desire to win this contest.

To that end, Charles Hills saddles Avanzare, and Brian Meehan has Flywheel, both of which are 20/1. Again, this may prove to be on the generous side, given the recent race history.

That said, eight of the last ten winners were at odds of 11/2 or shorter, so the top of the market may be the place to retain primary focus.

Pearl Sea sets a decent standard on both time and form, having been second to the decent Certify at the July meeting at Newmarket last time. That was on soft ground, but she was third on debut on good ground. With the turf here likely to be somewhere between those two descriptions today, she has a lot in her favour, and she looks placepot banker material, with the help of a few pacey horses drawn around her.

Selection: Pearl Sea
Interesting outsider: Avanzare

4.55 1m1f Fillies’ Handicap (Class 3)

Despite the apparent depth of this full field fillies’ handicap, all of the last ten renewals have been won by a horse priced at 12/1 or shorter, including 5.5 favourites (one joint).

So the obvious place to start is with the likely favourite, Sir Michael Stoute’s Keene Dancer. She will probably be near the pace, and is obviously still on the upgrade, having had just four runs and won the last two, both over a mile but on very different ground.

Keene Dancer has a great chance.

Trail blazers have fared well enough over this course and distance historically, so let’s consider Ariyfa and Chigun, who are likely to boss the race early.

The first named is trained by Noel Quinlan and, in seven runs, she hasn’t been out of the first three. Her run style is such that she tends to give her all and then get mugged for the gold late in her races. Most recently she was running over a mile and this race’s extra furlong is mitigated somewhat by the slightly easier track.

Chigun comes from the hot barn of Sir Henry Cecil, and will be bidding for a double for that yard in all likelihood, after Frankel’s processional victory earlier in the afternoon. Chigun broke her maiden at the fourth time of asking in a Class 5 event at Salisbury.

Although that was a far lower grade race, she did win by… ten lengths! Chigun is out of a Nashwan mare, so the trip should be fine, and she has more scope for improvement than Ariyfa perhaps. As such, I expect her to lead and try to fend off all-comers.

This is a race which may be deeper in numbers than in realistic contenders, and I’m happy enough to side for small stakes with the the first two in the market, boring as that may be.

Selection: Keene Dancer
Next best: Chigun

5.30 7f Handicap (Class 3)

Another trappy big field handicap to close, and I’d normally be looking for a low drawn pace presser here. Interestingly, the five most prominent racers (was six before the withdrawal of White Frost) all have double figure draws, which could lead to a lot of runners cutting across the field. It could also lead to a late-running horse bagging the spoils.

The sole low drawn pace presser may well be John Bridger’s course and distance winner, Shifting Star. Ridden by Willie Twiston-Davies, who is superb value for his seven pound claim, this 28/1 poke ought to be capable of out-running those odds. Whether he’s capable of winning is another question, of course, but he makes the shortlist at a price.

Another interesting runner is Henry Candy’s The Confessor. Ridden by Hayley Turner, who has had memorable rides from the front here in the past (like Boom And Bust in the Goodwood Mile last year), The Confessor could also get a prominent pitch from his eight draw.

The most interesting pair in the race are Dubawi Sound and Common Touch. The former is a very short price (2/1 in a field of eighteen), after a six length win in a seven furlong fast ground handicap at York last time.

Whilst that was an excellent run, 2/1 is a price I’m generally happy to pass up in a race like this. He is quite possibly the best horse in the field, but has top weight as a consequence. He also has a usual hold up run style (although he did race more prominently when dotting up lasr time). Trap four is a plus, but with the amount of pace in here, prominent – not trail blazing – runners could get boxed in, so he’ll need luck in running.

As I say, he’s a perfectly plausible winner, but 2/1 leaves very little margin for error.

Common Sound is dropping in trip, and has a record over seven furlongs of 42112, a fact which is masked to the public somewhat by recent runs over a mile giving form figures of 02807 (the ‘2’ being in a seven furlong race).

Obviously a non-stayer at a mile, he was beaten less than a length in second over this course and distance at last year’s Glorious Goodwood meeting, and you can bet your boots this was the plan. He raced off 95 last time he was here, and now has a mark of just 90.

As a hold up horse in a race which appears to have plenty of pace, this could make for a very exciting finish..!

Selection: Common Touch
Each way from the front: Shifting Star, The Confessor

Glorious Goodwood Day Three Preview and Tips

It was a live blog for Day Three at Glorious Goodwood, and you can see how that went (quite well!) here.

Glorious Goodwood Day Four Preview and Tips

Arguably the best day’s racing from the Sussex track, despite the absence of a Group 1 on the card. Instead, we have three Group 3’s and a Group 2, as well as the feature of the day, the Betfred Mile.

2.00 Glorious Stakes (Group 3) 1m4f

Three wins apiece for ‘filthy’ Luca Cumani and Mark ‘Always Trying’ Johnston in this race over the last fifteen years. Cumani has Quest For Peace here, though Johnston – winner of the opener on the first two days – is unrepresented.

Only four winners during that time won on their previous start, so we may need to look beyond the seemingly obvious here. Apart from that, I couldn’t any other material trends.

I think this is between the Cumani runner, Quest For Peace; James Fanshawe’s Dandino; and the progressive Gatewood.

The former has won over 12f on good ground in a Group 3 last back-end, races prominently, and will have the robust support of Kieren Fallon from the cockpit.

That’s a few more positives than I can muster for most of his rivals, though Dandino is arguably the class of the race, having won a Group 2 last year, and run with credit in the Group 1 Coronation Cup. He’s looked slightly below his best this term, but won’t have many better chances to add to his Group race tally than this.

Gatewood is the pretender here, having been impressive in winning back-to-back hot handicaps, the latter a Listed affair. He’s up in trip again this time, and up in class again too. Whilst he might have the ability to answer both these sterner questions, he’s unlikely to be a value price due to connections and the string of 1’s by his name.

Of the rest, Berling, Midsummer Sun and Songcraft have a lot to do based on past performance, and are overlooked by this punter at least.

Selection: Quest For Peace
Obvious Danger: Gatewood
Next Best: Dandino

2.35 RSA Thoroughbred Stakes (Group 3) 1m

A mile Group 3, and a race where the draw has played its part over the years. To that end, all bar one of the last fourteen winners were drawn seven or lower.

All bar two of the last fourteen winners were priced at 7/1 or shorter, and ten of them were placed in the top five last time. For all of that, only two horses have won as favourite.

All except two winners were officially rated 105 or higher.

On those bases, the trends shortlist would be Aljamaaheer, Stipulate, and Tales Of Grimm.

What about form? Well, a number of these ran in the 2000 Guineas back in May, something no horse since Where Or When back in 2002 has managed to do.

But Trumpet Major may just be able to shine at this level. He’s a well drawn in three, and ought to be close to the running, as he was when winning the Group 3 Craven Stakes over a mile in April, by fully five lengths.

Since then he finished an excellent fourth in the 2000 Guineas, the best form here, before a last of ten in the Irish equivalent.

Given that he’s been off since then, it’s fair to assume he picked up an injury there and, as we know he goes well fresh (won Craven on debut this season) he might go close with run style looking to suit.

The likes of Gregorian, Coupe De Ville, and Archbishop (amongst others) ought to make a race of it too, and it’s a really tricky race in which to wager.

I have to say that I’ve struggled to get a handle on the three-year-old mile form all season, and this contest merely underlines my cluelessness.

In the circumstances, I’m going to side extremely tentatively with Trumpet Major, though Tales of Grimm might be reasonable value against the field.

Tentative selection: Trumpet Major
Value alternative: Tales Of Grimm

3.10 Betfred Mile Handicap, 1m (Class 2)

A strange race, and a favourite of mine, especially since we all backed Boom And Bust here on Geegeez at 22/1 last year!

Basically, you want a horse who races close to the pace, and who is drawn low. Curiously, perhaps, this is one of the strongest draw bias races in the calendar, despite being run over a mile. Eleven of the last fifteen winners have been drawn five or lower, in what is usually a full field twenty runner handicap!

Low drawn and a front runner, Xilerator, is worth a second look on those points alone. But he doesn’t have much form to recommend him, and might well be better at seven furlongs than a mile. He’s in no form at all either, so whilst I might be tempted into a pound win, I’m very unlikely to have two pounds win.

Of much more interest is the tough as Tyson, Fulbright, from the ‘Always Trying’ yard. Fulbright has won his last two, both over six furlongs and both at Newmarket.

A mile at Goodwood is not obviously what this chap needs then, but who’d doubt Mark Johnston here? In fairness, Fulbright had a ‘sighter’ when running four lengths behind today’s jolly, Trade Commissioner, at Sandown on good to soft.

With a hint less juice in the turf here, and an easier course, Fulbright might just see it out, and he’s a danger to all if he does. I backed him earlier in the week at 14’s, win only, so I imagine he’ll probably finish second..!

Next, let’s talk about the aforementioned Trade Commissioner. He hails from the all-conquering (this season) Johnny G barn, and has the form to go very close here. But. But… he’s drawn in stall 21 of 22.

Two winners have come from as high as box 15, but this is another six traps wider, and is an awfully big ask. I’d be very surprised if Trade Commissioner is able to overcome both second top weight and that draw to win here, notwithstanding the fact that he remains a horse of huge promise irrespective of his show today. [Stop press: since I wrote this, Trade Commissioner has been withdrawn, supposedly due to ‘not eating up’…]

Eleven of the last fourteen winners finished in the top five last time, with six of them finishing first or second. Horses aged three (three wins), four (six) and five (four) have won thirteen of the fourteen, with six-year-olds and up being one win from seventy runners.

The one with the right combination of trends and form may prove to be Charles Hills’ Captain Bertie. A four year old, drawn six, who likes to race close to the pace, Captain Bertie has won twice in his career, both over a mile, and both on ground the soft side of good.

What’s more, he also won in a big field at Newbury, which bodes well for dealing with this sizeable herd. A second place in the Bunbury Cup on heavy ground last time showed he’s in great heart, and he must be thereabouts.

Last year’s winner, Boom And Bust, deserves another mention, if only because he did us such a favour then. But being the only horse drawn wider than Trade Commissioner gives him little hope of a reprisal here.

There are of course many other candidates, and I do of course reserve my usual right to not comb through all two dozen or so runners.

Each way two against the field: Fulbright, Captain Bertie

3.45 King George Stakes (Group 2) 5f

A decent Group 2 sprint, and this renewal looks well up to par, with the field spearheaded by crack Aussie, Ortensia, and Prix de l’Abbaye winner, Tangerine Trees.

All of the past fifteen winners have been priced at 11/1 or shorter. Curiously, only four finished in the first two last time, and only three favourites won in that time to, so look beyond the most obvious.

Winners have been evenly spread between three to six year olds, as follows: 3 – 3; 4 – 4; 5 – 3; 6 – 3. Older horses have won just once from 35 starts.

Three winners were unrated coming into this, and of the remaining eleven races in the historical sample all but two were won by a horse officially rated 106 or higher.

Much of the early pace here seems to be middle to high, which leaves probably early leader, Tangerine Trees, marooned somewhat from his starting gate of three. TT is a very fast horse, as he showed when winning the Abbaye (Group 1) last October, but things went his way there from a favourable draw.

He’s hard to discount entirely, but it might just be that the race pans out on the other side of the track this time.

Those bidding for leadership on the near side will be Noble Storm, Beyond Desire, Excelette, and Hamish McGonagall; and they may well give Ortensia a nice tow into this. But the Aussie mare has yet to really fire in three runs over here, and I wonder how many times she wil have encountered a contoured runway like Goodwood in her distinguished career.

More appealing to me from the fairer sex is Angels Will Fall, a three year old filly, who was won three of her seven races, and been placed on another two occasions. She looks an out and out five furlong horse, but was good enough for third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.

A winner last time out, she will get a pull into the race from Tangerine Trees, and may be able to use that to slingshot herself to glory.

There are plenty of familiar names in the field, including last year’s winner, Masamah; Amour Propre, from the in-form Henry Candy squad; and Brian Meehan’s Elusivity, who has never really justified his lofty reputation on the big stages.

Amour Propre is a five furlong specialist, with all five career wins over the minimum. He’s won on all going conditions, and this undulating piste will cause few consternations for Candy’s cavalier. He was second in this last year, and might go one better this time, despite getting a little long in the tooth now.

Yes, this is another ferociously difficult race on what will be a ‘social day’ at the track for me (read, I will be drunk). Small stakes will be accordingly wagered thus:

Each way selection: Angels Will Fall
Alternative: Amour Propre

4.20 2yo Handicap (Class 2) 7f

A seven furlong nursery and not one in which I’ve ever managed to find the winner!

Richard Hannon has won it three times, and plenty of the usual suspects also have a mark on the board in the last ten years: Amanda Perrett, Andrew Balding, Mark Johnston. All bar Perrett are represented again this time around.

Four of the last five winners have carried more than 9-02, and one of the top four in the weight has almost won or been placed in the last ten years.

Seven of the last ten winners had had three runs or less prior to winning this, and six of the ten had already won at least once. The material point of that second stat is that, from far fewer entries, four of ten had not yet won.

Bircham got stuck in the mud behind Hasopop last time at Newmarket (heavy), and deserves another chance to prove himself. He’d looked quite useful previously when accounting for Deepest Blue in a Ripon maiden by five lengths, and was sent off at 1-4 when turned over last time out.

Janoub Nibras has been sent off market leader in all four starts, winning the last two on the all weather at odds on. He acts fine on turf, however, and may well be favourite again here. As a Richard Hannon juvenile, he’s respected despite top weight.

Sir Mark Prescott runs Oasis Cannes, a colt who has been in the first two on each of his last four starts, though only won once. The trip is fine – all of that quartet of runs were over seven furlongs – but he may just have less improvement than some of these.

One which catches my eye further down the betting lists is Andrew Balding’s Zanetto. Owned by the same connections as last year’s winner, Goldoni, Zanetto has had a similar preparation, with three winless runs. With today being the day – first time in a handicap as well – I’d hope that he’ll threaten the places at least.

As they usually do in nurseries, dangers abound, and it’s entirely possible I’ve failed to mention the winner.

Each way selection: Zanetto
Dangers: Bircham, Janoub Nibras

4.50 Oak Tree Stakes (Group 3) 7f

A race for fillies only, which has historically had a bizarre draw bias towards low (formerly high, before the stall numbers were all aligned). Indeed, in the last fifteen years, ten of the winners were drawn within one box of the rail (i.e. 1 or 2). Moreover, another three were drawn 6 or lower.

All bar one winner in that time finished in the top five last time out, and all except one were aged three (ten) or four (four). The other was a five year old.

The race revolves around Gamilati, Godolphin’s 2011 Cherry Hinton winner. She started out this term winning two valuable races in Dubai, impressively on both occasions.

But that was back in February, so presumably she’s had problems. She has also drawn a very wide stall in fourteen and, quite simply, that’s far too much to tempt me into a bet at 6/4. If she wins, fair play to her, but she’s no value whatsoever given the draw and the absence.

Appealing is the filly who has pulled the plum one box. She’s a three year old, who looked progressive before finishing only fourth in a soft ground Listed contest over this trip. If you’re prepared to put that run down to the ground, then Appealing has a chance here at a big price.

In trap two is an even bigger priced mare, Moretta Blanche, from the Ralph Beckett stable. Again, we’re asked to forgive a weaker last run but this time it’s harder to overlook, and I’m afraid I can’t.

Sunday Nectar races from the three berth, and this French-trained, Italian-owned 4yo has a chance. She won a Listed contest at San Siro last time, and has form on all surfaces. Her racing style is usually to be close to the pace, and she looks to have a lot in her favour.

The next two in the betting, after Gamilati, are both German. Perhaps buoyed by their King George success with Danedream, the Germans have two promising fillies here in the shapes of Gracia Directa and Survey.

The former has won her last three races, including a Group 3 6f sprint at York last time. She was at the end of her tether by the jam stick there, and though she’s won over seven twice in lower grade, this daughter of Kyllachy may not quite see it out here, from her draw in twelve.

Survey is a likely type here. She’s been running from the front in mile races – Group 2 and Group 3 class too – and she’s won a Group 3 already this season, as well being second in one last time out.

Drawn in six and with stamina and tactical position assured, she might be the one they all have to get to.

Selection: Survey
Obvious danger: Gamilati
Each way options: Sunday Nectar, Appealing

5.25 Handicap (Class 3) 5f

We close Friday’s card with a three-year-old five furlong sprint handicap, and it’s another case of ‘The Usual Suspects’.

Brian Meehan and Ed McMahon have both won it twice, though neither are represented this time.

Aside from 50/1 bomb Obe One in 2003, all of the other nine winners were priced at 16/1 or shorter, and the last five have been 17/2 or shorter.

Jwala has the speed to lead all here, and has won at similarly quirky Bath. She’s on a hat-trick, and should lead for a long way.

There is pace around Jwala, and this could bring horses like Signifer and Beau Mistral into the thick of it at the sharp end.

Place In My Heart also has decent prospects, after back to back second places, including behind Jwala. She has top weight here, and is six pounds worse off with Jwala, so it’s hard to see why the latter is at shorter odds, especially given that he is a pure five furlong horse. She herself may be better over six.

Lots in with chances here, and this is not a race I’ll be piling into. Not one bit, in fact. But I will have a small each way on Jwala, as he’ll go out in front and may stay out in front.

Each way: Jwala
Dangers: aplenty

And that’s it. Three days of previews, plus one day of live blogging, means I’m taking tomorrow off. In actual fact, I’m on my way to the track as you read this, and will be there today (Friday) and tomorrow.

Just a couple of notes for you on the Stewards Cup.

Look for a horse with a top four finish last time out; aged four or five; having had a run in the past month; and officially rated in the 90’s.

Shortlist as follows: Alben Star, Victoire De Lyphar, Shropshire, Whaileyy, Elusive Prince

Good luck!



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