Glorious Goodwood 2013 Preview, Trends and Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Preview / Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Preview / Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Preview, Trends and Tips

It’s my favourite flat meeting of the year is Glorious Goodwood, hosted on one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world, and I’m disappointed that I’ll likely only get there one day this year.

But that won’t stop me from punting every day, and this idiosyncratic track has plenty of clues for the savvy wagerer. In this introductory piece, we’ll take a look at course constitution, running styles, any draw bias, and those handlers and riders that traditionally do well at Glorious Goodwood…

Then, all of Glorious Goodwood week, you’ll find full in-depth previews, trends, tips, and placepot selections for every day of the Glorious Goodwood festival. Let’s get started with the general ‘need to know’ information.

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Course Constitution

Goodwood Tips

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Preview, Trends, Tips: Course Constitution

Goodwood’s racecourse is situated atop the Sussex Downs, and so it makes sense that these are undulating pistes. There is a straight strip, on which all five and six furlong sprints are run; the remaining contests involve galloping around at least one very sharp turn.

Goodwood has two home bends, one each on its inner and outer loops, the sharper of which is on the inner loop. It generally takes quite a fairly agile horse to act on such a demanding course, and it’s not all horses will be suited by this up-and-down left-and-right track.

Glorious Goodwood 2013 Pace Analysis

Goodwood clearly favours a front-running run style. Proform, the brilliant form analysis software, tells me that horses who led there since 2006 won 16.67% of the time.  That’s exactly one in six horses that led in their races won.

For prominent racers, that strike rate drops to 10.26%, and those held up for a late run won just 7.43% of the time. This means that front runners win 62.5% more often than prominent racers, and two and a quarter times as often as hold up horses.

If you’re backing one that comes with a late rattle at Glorious Goodwood, get your prayer mat out! (Or, better still, try not to back closers).

From a betting angle, backing all horses which led in their races here since 2006 was worth £197.47 at SP, and a monstrous £458.12 at Betfair SP. This pace bias holds up in all field sizes and in handicaps and non-handicaps alike.

Of course, we don’t know for sure which horse will lead until the race is off, but there are some clear pointers in the form and it’s well worth taking the time to review them. The message is straightforward: favour front runners, and expect a boring night listening to sob stories if your mate insisted on backing hold-up types. 😉

Glorious Goodwood 2013 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 and like almost everywhere else, it is generally more important to be drawn close to the early pace in the race over such distances.

On the round course at up to a mile, there doesn’t seem to be the bias there once was. At nine furlongs, where they race around the tight inner bend, there is a pronounced bias towards high numbers.

In fact, in races of 14+ runners, horses drawn 10 or higher have won 55% of the races from just 43% of the runners. Again, though, it bears repeating that racing on or very close to the pace is beneficial. Combining a forward pace position with a high draw in races over nine furlongs is a good thing to do!

Goodwood Top Trainers

There are certain trainers who target this meeting with unerring accuracy. Top man is Mark Johnston, who since 2006 has bagged 26 Glorious Goodwood races, for a level stakes profit of 77.29 points at SP. Last year, he saddled an impressive seven winners (from 23 runners, 30% strike rate) for a huge 44.71 units profit at starting price. He’s THE man to take seriously here.

Less lucrative to follow, but still a winner of plenty of Glorious Goodwood races, is Richard Hannon. The problem with Hannon is that he throws a LOT of mud at the wall, and some of it sticks. In fact, last year, he ran 39 horses (!), with three winning. His 25 winners since 2006 have come from 203 runners.

Other trainers to note for both profitability and strike rate at the Glorious Goodwood meeting include Dandy Nicholls, Alan Jarvis, Ralph Beckett, William Haggas, William Knight, Chris Wall, Jeremy Noseda, and Team Cecil.

Glorious Goodwood Vidcast

Now then, if you fancy getting a few clues ahead of Glorious Goodwood, then how about tuning in to a special ‘vidcast’ (internet telly type thingie). The bad news is that I’m on there. The good news is that the excellent Dan Kelly, sometime Geegeez writer and form student; Cathryn Fry, multi-talented radio and print journalist; and the superb Rory Delargy, of timeform; are also on the panel.

It’s free to watch (of course), and is below.


Glorious Goodwood Day One (Tuesday) Preview, Tips

And so to Day One of the 2013 Glorious Goodwood meeting. For each day, I’ll be previewing the races; looking at any material trends; offering a tip or six; and suggesting some placepot plays. With that in mind, let’s jump straight into it, starting with the opening race on Tuesday, the handicap stakes.

1.55 BET365.COM STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 2)

As you’d expect, this is a competitive handicap. There are twenty runners and we’re looking for a horse that likes to race prominently. I’m especially interested in anything that Mark Johnston saddles, as he’s won this race three times in the last six years, and he’s had two fourths in the non-winning years as well.

He sends out Fennell Bay and Reset City this time, and Fennell Bay looks the pick of the pair from his berth in stall five. He’s a prominent racer and could sit handily and make his challenge two out. He was good enough to run fourth off a two pound higher mark in another ten furlong handicap at the Glorious meeting last year, and a true run mile and a quarter might be ideal for him these days.

Vasily looks set to lead them, and might be joined by either Labarinto and/or Fast Or Free. All three of these are drawn in double figures, so will have to expend some energy to get a position, a resource consumption which could compromise their chances at the other end of the race. The same comment applies to Tepmokea and Strictly Silver, making up a quintet of high drawn horses that normally race on the pace. This could make for some interesting manoeuvring in the early furlongs…

With so many of the probably pace setters seemingly inconvenienced by their draw, it might be that a hold up type runs over the top of them, as does often happen at this trip. High drawn horses, like Landaman last year, are best placed to employ this tactic; and of the hold up nags, Whispering Warrior may fare best.

He’s racing off a career high handicap mark, but that’s something he’s done five times in his last six starts already. A two length winning margin the last day, when coming from last to first, would suggest he’s still improving, and he’ll try to circumnavigate the lot of ’em to win. This is clearly a tougher race, but Whispering Warrior is on a very tidy upward curve.

The other Johnston runner, Reset City, is drawn in the middle, which might not be ideal, but if Franny (combined record 521621) can get her dropped out, and not have to go too wide for a run in the straight, she’s capable of making the frame. She’s taken a while to get the hang of things, and is off a light weight as a consequence. The one negative might be the ground, as she seems to like it very quick.

Blue Surf and Nabucco both have strong form claims if getting a run. Blue Surf has plenty of good form – including a win – here, and trainer Amanda Perrett has a very good record at the track. This fellow does seem to be collecting hard luck stories though, and they’re not generally my kind of wagering tipple.

Nabucco is on the up having had just the seven runs to date. He is stunningly well bred, being by Dansili out of Cape Verdi (won the 1000 Guineas, and was actually sent off favourite for the Derby despite being a filly!) He can also run pretty well, as two wins – both over ten furlongs – in those seven starts attests. He beat a number of his rivals here the last day, when holding on well, and he could just be a yard ahead of the handicapper.

Selection: Fennell Bay 14/1 bet365 BOG
Alternative: Whispering Warrior 9/1 bet365 BOG

Placepot Picks

A – 2, 9, 13

2.30 BET365 MOLECOMB STAKES (Group 3)

A tricky little two year old race that has thrown up some high class sprint handicappers in recent years, and some Group class sprinters too.

Molecomb Stakes Trends

8 of the last 16 winners won last time out; four more were second; and two more were third to fifth (including last year’s winner, Bungleinthejungle).

13/16 were returning to the track within 30 days of their previous start

10/16 had had four or five prior starts

All sixteen had previously won at the five furlong trip, but only two had won beyond that distance.

Trends shortlist: None!

Molecomb Stakes Preview

We’re looking for an out and out speedster here. Probably one that has already run in Listed class or better, and certainly one that has shown winning form at the minimum. In that context, Ambiance is a great place to start. This lad is 06 in his two runs beyond five furlongs, and is 141 in three goes at five-eighths.

Better yet, the 4 was in the Norfolk Stakes behind the beast, No Nay Never, and the subsequent 1 was in Listed class at Sandown. Two years ago, Zebedee used that Sandown race as a springboard (geddit?!) for this, and I think Ambiance is over-priced here.

Anticipated is another dropping back from six to five after failing to match his previous level of performance over the longer trip. He was a winner of his first two races, and then a good third to Extortionist in the Listed Windsor Castle. But Group 2 form is better than Listed form so I can’t see how this one is a shorter price than Ambiance.

Justice Day and Brown Sugar have both won over further, suggesting – a notion supported by recent history – that they won’t have the raw speed for this. This may well be Sleeper King’s trip – for now at least – but he doesn’t look good enough on the basis of his three runs to date, and has something to find with Ambiance on Windsor Castle running.

Supplicant is favoured and, again, I’m struggling to see how he can be a shorter price than Ambiance. Supplicant was beaten by Langavat, a horse that Ambiance beat easily (albeit favoured by the draw that day). Supplicant ran second in the Listed Windsor Castle. Ambiance ran fourth in the course record-smashing Group 2 Norfolk Stakes. Supplicant had the best of the draw in the Windsor Castle too.

Reroute is interesting in that she’s only had two runs, including a defeat of Royal Mezyan (himself then sixth in the Norfolk), and a close up run behind Rizeena in the Group 2 Queen Mary. The fillies have had a decent record in this over the years, with seven of the last sixteen winners being ladies.

In summary, I might be wrong, but I think the betting here is skew whiff. Ambiance and Reroute ought to be sharing favouritism in my book, and that makes them both value at 6/1 and 5/1 respectively. I especially like Ambiance at 6/1 each way with bet365 paying a quarter the odds.

Selection: Ambiance 6/1 bet365 BOG (NAP)
Alternative: Reroute 5/1 BetVictor

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you fear Supplicant (most likely), you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear Anticipated, you should bet with them.

Placepot Picks

A – 1, 9

3.05 BET365 LENNOX STAKES (Group 2)

I’ve been through this race in the video preview above, so will pick out salient points on a form basis, as well as the full trends view.

Lennox Stakes Trends

Nine of the thirteen winners finished first or second last time out.

All thirteen have been won by a horse aged three to five. All bar three places also claimed by that age range.

11/13 had run within sixty days

11/13 had won at the distance

Trends shortlist: Aljamaheer, Producer, Professor

Lennox Stakes Preview

The clear starting point is Aljamaheer, a Group 2 winner last time out over a mile. Prior to that he’d been placed in two Group 1 races, also over a mile. The big question with this chap is whether he’s as effective over a furlong shorter. Looking at his form profile reveals that he’s run twice at Listed level, winning once and finishing second to the useful Producer. He also finished third in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes last year, implying that he does act at this trip.

Aljamaheer has an obvious form chance, which is reflected in his price of 5/2.

Next in the betting is Producer, for the Hughes/Hannon team. He’s a Group 3 winner over course and distance, but the best horse in that race was rated 110. Here, he’ll face seven better-rated rivals. Although conditions like optimal, I doubt whether he’s quite good enough against these better horses.

The one I like is Caspar Netscher. He’s not run for 317 days but goes well fresh – a winner in both seasons to date – and he’s a triple Group 2 winner whose only run at seven furlongs resulted in a Group 3 win in the Greenham. Although he’s been off for quite a time – firing blanks at stud, so the story goes – he’ll be fit enough for this, based on his previous first time up efforts, and I think he’s a solid each way play, especially as he seems to act on any going.

Although Garswood doesn’t need it soft, it might help his chances. Seven furlongs looks to be his trip, and he has a bit more scope than some of the older horses, as well as getting five pounds from them. The booking of Ryan Moore is hardly a negative…

Professor has never won above Listed class, and has done most of his racing/winning over six furlongs. Although he clearly has the winning knack, it’s a leap of faith to believe he can translate that to Group 2 and seven furlongs, and 9/1 doesn’t excite me in that context.

Krypton Factor has bags of speed, as a Group 1 win at six furlongs (and a G1 3rd as recently as two starts back) demonstrates. He might be a toenail slower than he was, and he does stay seven furlongs. As such, he’s the pick of the outsiders here, with Kieren Fallon another eye-catching jockey booking.

Fencing strikes me as a horse that has been ultimately disappointing. His odds of 6/1 are not even close to tempting for me. Two wins in Listed class from nine career runs compare extremely unfavourably with the likes of Caspar and Aljamaheer, and he’s a lay to my eye. (Cue win on the bridle…)

Selection: Aljamaheer 5/2
Each way play: Caspar Netscher 11/1 (bet with BetVictor, and get money back on win part if second to the favourite)

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you fear Aljamaheer, you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear Producer, you should bet with them.

Placepot Picks

A – 1

3.40 BET365 SUMMER STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 2) 

A staying handicap which has tended to go to a higher weighted horse. Luca Cumani is the top trainer here historically, but he’s unrepresented this time, and Mark Johnston’s two winners were back in 2003 and 2005. Nine of the last ten winners were aged four or five.

Oriental Fox could be the one to put Johnston back in the winner’s enclosure from his pair of entries. The Fox has been raced in Germany and Switzerland prior to this year, when he’s been no better than second in five British starts. Two of those were in big fields over this sort of trip, including a short head defeat in the Northumberland Plate.

His usual pace-setting run style (not deployed in the Plate) sets him up to be shot at, but he’s clearly a tough little bugger, and in my opinion, Joe Fanning is a peerless rider from the front.

Clowance Estate is stepping up in trip and will need to settle better than when third of nine last time over a mile and a half. In a race like this, there’s a good chance he will settle better, and he could be a Group grade stayer in the making. If ridden more handily, I think he’ll run a career best.

Alan King won this back in 2009 with Manyriverstocross, and tries again with Ardlui, a horse just a pound higher than when winning over two miles in Class 2. This slightly shorter trip should be ok, and he’ll be close enough to the pace to deliver his challenge. You’ll at least get a run for your money if you back this one, and he might be the fellow to again break Oriental Fox’s heart.

Harris Tweed may ideally want it a bit softer these days, but he’s dropped ten pounds since this time last year and, though no spring chicken aged six, he’s hardly past it either. 16/1 is tempting.

Dangers abound, of course, but I’m happy siding with something close to the pace, weighted to win, that goes on the ground and will stay. The above trio tick most of those boxes at the very least.

Selection: Oriental Fox 9/2 BetVictor, Hills
Each way alternative: Clowance Estate 9/1 PP

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you fear Oriental Fox, you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear Duke Of Clarence, you should bet with them.

Placepot Picks

A – 6, 11, 13
B – 2, 5


A juvenile maiden run over six furlongs. No horse has won this first time out in the last decade, so I’m definitely siding with experience. Sacha Park brings Group level form to the table, but he had only a neck to spare on Mystique Rider in their Salisbury race, and the latter has much the better scope to improve. Of course, he’ll need to given then Sacha Park has himself performed to a six pound higher RPR since.

Brazos and Fiftyshadesofgrey have also run with merit in their races to date, and this is no ‘Sacha Park banker’ affair for me… though that one may well make the frame.

I won’t be betting in this race, because I don’t really have a clue, but hopefully it will be important for us to progress on the placepot.

Each way selection: Mystique Rider

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you fear Sacha Park, you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear Sacha Park, you might want to bet with them.

Placepot Picks

A – 11
B – 2, 3, 9

4.50 POKER AT BET365 STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 3) (3yo+ 0-90)

A big field mile handicap, and one where a low drawn prominent racer should be favoured. The two which best fit the bill are Mark Johnston’s Copperwood, and Hugo Palmer’s Ascription.

Copperwood is a good old boy, and has nothing left to hide from the handicapper. But his level of form is decent, and he’s been winning lately. Indeed, he’s won fourteen times – and been placed 39 times – in a 96 race career! He’s only ever raced once in this Class 3 grade, and finished a decent third of nine over a slightly inadequate seven furlongs.

Ascription is at the other end of the exposure spectrum, having had just eight runs. He’s only won one, a mile handicap on soft, but he’s backed that up with a couple of good placed bits of form. From stall one, he should go well with Buick aboard.

Bronze Prince is seven pounds lower than his last winning mark, and he’s got some decent efforts on this strip to his name. I was surprised to see he was 33/1 in a place. That’s too big, despite the car park draw for this front-running sort. And, right down the bottom, Kyllachy Star is another that hasn’t won for a long time but is very nicely handicapped. This return to a good ground mile handicap could be the key, and a low draw for the some time pace presser might also be optimal. 16/1 is tempting too in a race won by 16/1 shots in the last two years.

Albaqaa is a third veteran that could be well in, and he’s been running eye-catchingly of late too. A win and two seconds in his last six runs give him place prospects at least at around 18/1.

Uppercut beat Bancnuanaheireann in this last year, and both try again this time around. Both were better drawn last year, and of the two, I’d slightly favour Bancetcetc on this occasion.

Captain Cat and Desert Revolution could both be ahead of the game as very lightly raced individuals. It’s impossible to know how they’ll cope in a cauldron such as this, but they cannot be ignored in a wide open race where they bet just about 10/1 the field.

One other to mention is Country Western. He’s been running with merit in higher class races and, if he can skulk across to the rail from a fairly wide draw, could make the frame.

Tentative each way two against the field: Kyllachy Star 16/1 bet365, Copperwood 12/1 general

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you want another on your side, you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear Democretes, you should bet with them.

Placepot Picks

A – 7, 16, 18, 20

5.25 MOBILE AT BET365 STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 3) (4yo+ 0-90)

And we close with a really tough sprint handicap, for small stakes only. Course and distance winners, Blanc De Chine and Lady Gibraltar, both have strong form chances, though they might be drawn on the wrong side. Specifically, there seems to be a lot of pace in the high numbers, with Fair Value, Hopes N Dreams, Mata Hari Blue, Cadeaux Pearl and Whitecrest all happiest when getting on with it.

If things pan out in that way, it could set up for a high drawn closer, and two that potentially fit the bill are Waseem Faris and Cruise Tothelimit. The former is interesting on a number of slices of his CV and, though he doesn’t win very often, he’s rarely beaten far. This looks tailor made for him and, at around 25/1 I’ll take my medicine if he again gets stopped in his run.

Cruise Tothelimit was actually fifth in this race last year off a pound higher rating, and ought to go well again at around 14/1.

It’s not a race to take too seriously, and those two will do for me, small interest stakes only.

Two interests against the field: Waseem Faris 25/1 bet365 (five places), Cruise Tothelimit 14/1 bet365 (five places)

BetVictor will return your stake as a free bet if the SP favourite wins, so if you want another on your side, you might want to bet with them.

Racebets will return your stake as a free bet if Richard Hughes wins, so if you fear B Fifty Two, you should bet with them.

Placepot perm

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Glorious Goodwood placepot

Glorious Goodwood placepot

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Glorious Goodwood Day Two (Wednesday) Preview, Tips

To Wednesday, and the Duel on the Downs, amongst many other mouth-watering contests. we start with a marathon handicap.

1.55 UBS GOODWOOD STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+ 0-95)

This has been won by National Hunt or dual purpose trainers in five of the last eight years. Messrs Hendo and Johnston have claimed a brace apiece in the past decade. That duo are responsible for all of Lieutenant Miller, Courtesy Call, Broxbourne and Good Morning Star.

Lieutenant Miller stays this sort of trip well enough on the flat, as he showed when third in the Ascot Stakes, a race the same trainer’s Ghimaar was fourth in before winning this in 2010. He’s progressive, and has a verdict over Broxbourne recently too.

Courtesy Call didn’t quite get home in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over 2m6f last time, and he might just need it to be like a road. The recent rain means that’s less likely, and on balance I’d be looking elsewhere.

Broxbourne won a good little Ascot handicap the other day, where he was very much suited by the run of the race. He’s been tremendously game and consistent though, and is hard to leave off placepot tickets at least.

Good Morning Star gets an entry here despite having shown little since her good fifth in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at this meeting last year. She did produce a fair effort when sixth in the Chester Cup, beaten just over three lengths, and that form wouldn’t leave her too much to find off a rating of 91. But she’s pretty in and out, and wouldn’t be a reliable proposition.

Those at the top of the weights have done well in this in recent years, and Gassin Gulf is an interesting contender. Formerly with Sir Mark Prescott, he was sold for 130,000 Guineas last October, and not done an awful lot since then to justify the price. He has finished second on both completed starts, either side of a Triumph Hurdle flop, and a stiff stamina test here might be perfect. The trainer has booked Mickael Barzalona, and he should give a good account.

Beyond runs for David Pipe’s stable (second in 2010), and this chap will likely track the pace and stay on. His trip over hurdles is three miles, so there won’t be any stamina doubts and, with his run style and proven stamina, he might be able to improve on last year’s fourth place.

Seaside Sizzler was second in this in 2011 and sixth last year, and is weighted to again run well. A third place in the Queen Alexandra Stakes will have put him spot on and he deserves to find an elusive second turf win.

There is one at the bottom that is super-interesting, but may be ‘gone’. Ermyn Lodge was good enough to finish second in the 2011 Cesarewitch, but has been stuffed out of sight ever since. Wily connections might have been managing this fellow’s handicap mark and, if they have, they’ll be delighted that the handicapper has dropped him down to a three year low of 79. He stays this trip, and has the game to contend IF he’s ‘off’ and not ‘gone’…

Selection: Lieutenant Miller
Each way alternative: Gassin Gulf

Best Bookie Offers: Both SkyBet and RaceBets are paying 1/4 odds on the first FIVE places. Paddy and Boyles are offering money back as cash if your horse finishes second. BetVictor will refund losing bets as a free bet if you’re second.

Placepot Picks

A – 1, 5, 6
B – 4, 8, 12


Seven runners go to post for this traditional trial for the St Leger, and they’re headed by Charlie Appleby’s Irish Derby fourth, Cap O’Rushes. Appleby is the new boss at Moulton Paddocks, former home of Mahmood al Zarooni, and he’ll be keen to put his own stamp on things with a few decent winners in these early days. Indeed, he recorded his first winner on Sunday on only his second day sending out runners, so he’s off the mark already. Let’s have a quick look at the trends first though.

Gordon Stakes Trends

15 of the last 17 (dead heat back in 1998) winners were placed 1-2-3 last time out

10 of the 13 winners to have a rating in that time were scored at least 102, and as high as 118

14 of the last 17 winners ran between 16 and 60 days ago

Trends shortlist: Excess Knowledge

Gordon Stakes Preview

Cap O’Rushes is the highest rated in the field, and has been staying on in his races suggesting he wants further than this mile and a half trip. I think he might be a St Leger sort but I’m not convinced this race will set up to his strengths.

Elkaayed is one of three colts rated four pounds behind Cap O’Rushes on 106. He was outpaced a little over a mile and a quarter last time, and I’d be far from certain on breeding that this extra two poles is what he wants. Excess Knowledge on the other hand looks made for middle to staying distances, being by Monsun out of a Dansili mare.

This will be only his fifth start, and he was screaming for further last time. This could well be Johnny G’s Leger colt, and his record in that race is excellent (three winners in the last six years). He’s a 16/1 shot for the St Leger currently, and that is sure to halve if he wins here. I’ve had a little nibble as I think he’s the most likely winner of the Gordon. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

The third 106 musketeer is the other Godolphin runner, Secret Number, trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Let the blue brigade battle begin! Secret Number looks like a step up in trip will suit, but it could be that he’s just not quite good enough to win at Group level. Three comrehensive defeats would imply that squarely enough, in my view. Not for me.

The same comment is probably true of Havana Beat, though he was a little unlucky not to win last time over a furlong further. Again, I don’t think this trip will show him in his best light and, while he might win a staying Group race, it’s unlikely to be the St Leger.

Testudo is well regarded in the Meehan stable, and he’s a very progressive horse. He was fractions behind Havana Beat in the Bahrain Trophy last time, and there shouldn’t be too much between them again. If anything, Testudo might have slightly more scope to progress, and he ought not to mind a drop of rain either. If there were eight runners, he’d have been a reasonable each way play. But there aren’t. So he’s not!

Selection: Excess Knowledge

Best Bookie Offers: Money back as a free bet with BetVictor if your horse finishes second

Placepot Picks

Your first 30 days for just £1

A – 3


And so to the Duel On The Downs. Part Two. Except that, with Declaration Of War joining Toronado and Dawn Approach here, it might have more accurately been called the… erm… Menage a Trois on the Wedneday… or something.

Sussex Stakes Trends

All of the last sixteen winners placed first or second last time out (eleven winners, five second places)

Nine of those sixteen were 3yo’s; four were 4yo’s; and, two were aged five. Four year old’s have the weakest win and place percentage within this range.

Trends shortlist: Dawn Approach, Toronado, Declaration Of War

Sussex Stakes Form Preview

This is a very good race, as you’d expect. Dawn Approach shades favouritism, after recording two verdicts over Toronado. The first of those verdicts was clear cut, in the 2000 Guineas; the second was marginal, in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Given Toronado’s home reputation, his Guineas run was too bad to be true, in the same way that Dawn Approach’s Derby run was. Forgive a horse a bad run, the old adage goes, and both of these have justified punters’ absolution by running hum-dingers to be separated by a short head that last day.

Of the pair, Toronado arguably has more progression, with just six runs to his name, versus nine for Dawn Approach. But Dawn Approach showed a serious winning attitude when refusing to be beaten at Ascot. This one can be over-thought: the fact is there won’t be much between them if they both bring their A games and, as such, if a bet must be struck, it must be struck on the bigger priced of the pair.

But that ignores the big blue elephant in the room. Declaration Of War is a very good miler. He won the Queen Anne Stakes over that trip the day before Dawn and Toro locked hooves at Royal Ascot. I wasn’t convinced he truly stayed a mile and a quarter in Group 1 company last time, and I thought he ‘hung tough’ in the circumstances to get placed.

Back at his optimal – at least, what I perceive to be his optimal – he has very little to find on the book. Yes, he’s giving his youngers eight pounds here. But if you subscribe to the weight-for-age scale, which has been shown to be generally accurate down the years, then that’s fair enough. That would give DoW three pounds to find. He’s only had nine career starts himself, so is hardly incapable of further development. And we know he won’t mind what the ground is, a comment which doesn’t apply equally to his key market rivals.

Again, if there were eight of them, he’d be an each way bet to nothing. But there aren’t. So he’s not!

This is a race to watch, rather than wager.

Selection: no bet

Best Bookie Offers: Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second to Toronado with totesport

Placepot Picks

A – 5
B – 7


A seven furlong Group 2 for juveniles, this has been won by Richard Hannon for the last three years, and he is two-handed in the bid for a four-timer.

Vintage Stakes Trends

Twelve of the last sixteen winners also won last time out. Three more were second last time

All sixteen winners had had one, two or three prior starts

Trends shortlist: Expert, Outstrip, Parbold, Toormore

Vintage Stakes Form Preview

Toormore is a short price here on the basis of his neck defeat of Ertijaal on debut. There have been plenty of winners from that race so far, including second placed Ertijaal, and that form is solid. The one slight worry is that Toormore has been off the track for 64 days, which implies he might have had an issue. Nevertheless, he comes here unbeaten and the pick of Richard Hughes, who could also have ridden Expert.

Expert is a thrice-raced son of Mastercraftsman, and he’s already won over this seven furlong trip, taking a nice Newmarket maiden just last Saturday. I’m not sure if this race might come a bit quick for him, or even if he’d be good enough, but he will stay and – judging by the breeding on the dam side – he ought to be effective with any cut in the ground too.

Parbold is the market rival of Toormore, after a clear second best performance behind the dazzling War Command in the Coventry. That’s the standout piece of form on offer here, and he can improve markedly from second to third start. On breeding at least, the trip might be far enough for now, though of course it’s better to let a horse demonstrate it can or cannot cope with further before writing it off.

Outstrip, like Toormore, is a once-raced winner, and he bagged a Newmarket maiden from True Story, subsequent conqueror of Expert, over seven. Outstrip was slowly away that day, and was doing plenty of good stuff at the business end. He’ll be a fair bit sharper here, and I think he’s fairly priced at around 5/1. At the prices, he might be the best value, though I’m unlikely to get involved in this race.

Lanark is more experienced than most here, with five starts already to his name, including wins at six and seven furlongs, and on good to firm and good to soft ground. Although six lengths behind Parbold in the Coventry, he’s improved a bit since then. But he doesn’t have the scope of some of these, and it would be a little disappointing if he was able to see them all off, despite his toughness.

Recanted was extremely disappointing the last day, albeit in a Group 2, and it is far from impossible that he could bounce back. If he did, he’d be a danger. Fairly big ‘if’ though.

Value selection: Outstrip

Best bookie offer: Money back as a free bet with BetVictor if your horse finishes second

Placepot Picks

A – 4
B – 3


A six furlong fillies’ maiden changes the tempo somewhat, and it hasn’t been a race to catch the eye in previous years especially. Brian Meehan has had two winners since 2007, and he’s got the unraced Fashion Fund this time. Unlike in Tuesday’s maiden, four winners in the past decade were unraced, so Fashion Fund might be worthy of a market check at the very least.

Those with experience are headed up by the Hannon/Hughes rep, Autumn Surprise. She again ran second – and again ran with great promise – in a Newbury maiden twelve days ago. But Hannon hasn’t won this in the last ten years, and his losing tally is at fourteen during that time. Autumn Surprise was beaten that last day by J Wonder, an unraced filly from the same owner/trainer as Fashion Fund, so the team will know what they need to do here, and the market should guide.

Valonia was a huge price when just failing on her first run three weeks ago. She’ll not be showing at such generous odds this time, but is a serious player granted normal improvement.

Aqlaam Vision and Much Promise may also go close, but the other one to catch my eye is Jeremy Noseda’s Merletta. This lass was slowly away, and green as purest green, on her first run. Like many Noseda horses, she can be expected to leave that form well behind on this second start, and that might be enough to win. Alas, she’s now a non-runner.

It’s not a race to bet in especially, but I’ll be interested in a market scan of Merletta (non-runner) and Fashion Fund, both of which might be nice fillies.

Tentative selection: Fashion Fund

Best Bookie Offer: Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second (BetVictor)

Placepot Picks

A – 3, 14
B – 6, 9


The sixth leg of the placepot is a nine furlong handicap, where it might pay to be close to – but not on – the pace and low drawn. Jabhaat might have been an ideal candidate were it not for the splish splash splosh of a billion raindrops across the course in the last 48 hours, meaning her predilection for tarmac-like conditions is unlikely to be sated.

The one which looks like being best suited by conditions might be Eastern Destiny. She’s run two very nice races on good to soft recently, both of them in higher class than this. She races close to the pace, and while stall nine isn’t perfect, it’s not terrible either; and she’s pretty consistent. George Challoner takes five pounds off which mitigates to some degree the nine pounds weight for age she concedes to the three year olds. She’s won off 81, has improved since then and is effectively racing off 84 here. Definite chance.

Great Timing for the Charlie Appleby yard may also race close to the pace from trap seven, behind likely leader, Saucy Minx. Great Timing has raced only on a sound surface so far, and breeding doesn’t give that much hope that softer will suit. But she’s yet to disappoint on such turf, so she can’t be discounted. Saucy Minx herself has won here over seven good to soft furlongs, and she’s bred to be suited by both soggy underfoot and a longer trip. With plenty floundering on the ground, she might make a bold bid from the front, if she get across from stall eleven.

Selection: Eastern Destiny
Alternative: Great Timing

Best Bookie Offer: Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second (BetVictor)

Placepot Picks

A – 3, 4


Another impossible handicap to close the card, this time over seven furlongs. A low draw is again a useful attribute, and luck in running will obviously also play its part in a field of twenty.

My Kingdom sneaks in here off near bottom weight, and he’s back to something close to his best just now. Barzalona has been booked, and a prominent showing from his trap six draw looks on the cards. He’s got loads of track form, including two wins at this trip and, though he wouldn’t want it too soft, good to soft will be just dandy.

The horse with the best – indeed, pretty much the only – soft ground form in the field is Esprit de Midas, for the hot Dean Ivory yard. This chap is well drawn in box three as well and, though he’ll need luck in running, will be favoured by conditions if it pelts down again. Of course, if it doesn’t, he probably has no chance!

In a race where getting too financially involved is a reasonable indicator that you’ve been at the Pimm’s all afternoon, I’ll take those two for pennies against the field.

Pennies against the field: My Kingdom, Esprit De Midas

Best Bookie Offer: Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second (BetVictor, totesport)


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Glorious Goodwood Picks

Glorious Goodwood Picks

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Glorious Goodwood Day Three (Thursday) Preview, Tips

It’s the middle day of Glorious Goodwood’s five day fiesta, and that means it’s Goodwood Cup day. That showpiece shares the card with six other good races, starting with the…

2.15 GORDON´S STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 2) 

This is a ten furlong three-year-old only handicap, and it’s been an excellent race for punters, with five favourites winning and all ten winners returning 9/1 or shorter. John Gosden has won three of those ten but is unrepresented this year, but Mark Johnston does saddle runners as he bids to match Johnny G’s triple in the race.

His brace – Broughton and Mushaakis – are both seriously match fit, with five and six seasonal runs respectively. They’ll both race off the same mark here too – 86 – which is lower than any runner in the last decade has won this with. Indeed, all ten winners were rated 91-99, so that’s probably a sensible range in which to focus.

Red Avenger looks to have a strong chance if the ground is good or better. He beat Broughton in a three runner affair the time before last, and found only the Group class (I suspect) Maputo too good last time. True, he was beaten six lengths by that fellow, but he was given a fairly exaggerated waiting ride, and the bird had well and truly migrated for sunnier climes by the time the Avenger got going.

I imagine Red Avenger will get more prominent support from Ryan Moore this time, and I think he’ll make the frame. At least, I hope he will.

Code Of Honor is also in the right part of the handicap and improved a fair whack when upped to this trip last time. He’s won on soft before, though I’m not sure he’d want it that way, and he’s a big player on the evidence of that three length duffing up of Mushaakis, especially given they race on the same weight terms here.

Cruck Realta was good enough to win a Listed race over this trip three starts back, and she’s been in the frame on nine of her twelve career starts, testament to her consistency. But she may have just slipped off the boil a tad in her last two runs where she’s only managed to beat one of twelve rivals home. True, one of those races was a Group 1, but the other was ‘only’ Listed class. I’d expect her to run well enough without winning.

Alan Jarvis is a trainer for whom I have a lot of respect, and chooses his Glorious Goodwood runners selectively. It is of note then that King George River gets the call up in this handicap, having run with a degree of merit in Listed and Group 2 class in his prior two starts. Although that Group 2 run was below the level of his previously progressive profile, it’s perfectly plausible that he was simply ‘worried out of it’ by much better nags that day. On his second to French Derby winner, Intello – with 2000 Guineas second, Glory Awaits, behind – he’d have an exceptional chance.

Of course, it’d be dangerous to take that piece of form too literally, but it certainly puts him in the picture for this Class 2 handicap, despite the lead he’ll inevitably have to lug. Kieren Fallon is an eye-catching booking too.

Right up at the top of the handicap, Tha’ir might have a lot to do after taking his time to pass Sennockian Star (himself a winner before and since).

Selection: Red Avenger
Each way alternative: King George River

Placepot Picks

A – 2, 3, 4


This is a very good race, won by the likes of Dick Turpin and Libranno in recent years. Both of those two were trained by Richard Hannon, and only Mark Johnston’s Heavy Metal stopped Hannon from notching an incredible five-timer in the Richmond last year.

The trends for the race are inconclusive in the main, but one which does stand out is that six of the last sixteen winners had yet to win at six furlongs, but no winner had won more than one race at a shorter trip.

Hannon runs what is presumably one of his best juveniles here in the shape of Thunder Strike. This fellow had been impressive in rattling in a four week hat-trick, culminating in a Listed success in the Woodcate Stakes at Epsom. He then ran up to par when fourth in the Coventry, but his last effort – an eight length clunker behind Miracle Of Medinah – is hard to explain.

Forgive a horse one bad run goes the cliché and I’m happy enough to do that, given Hannon’s phenomenal record in this race. Thunder Strike has shown that undulating tracks hold no fears with that Woodcote win, and on either of his previous two runs he’d have a sound chance. He has, though, won twice at five furlongs, suggesting he might not quite see this six out as well as some of his rivals.

Miracle Of Medinah may represent unfashionable connections, but Mark Usher’s Milk It Mick colt didn’t fluke that Rose Bowl Stakes win, and was completing a hat-trick in the process. He’s shown a bit more in each of his five starts, and who is to say that he has no more improvement to come?

Of the more lightly raced entries, Figure Of Speech is a contender based on a neck second in the Group 2 July Stakes on only his second career start. He had Jallota just behind that day, but is capable of far more progression than the third there. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t confirm that form. Brown Sugar was further back still – probably didn’t give his running – and he won the Group 3 Molecomb on Tuesday.

Of the bigger priced horses, Andhesontherun looks mildly interesting. He’d looked in need of this extra furlong when getting a bit outpaced in the both the Listed National and Windsor Castle Stakes over five. Upped to six for the first time the last day, he was galloping away from his three rivals at the line. I’m not saying he’ll win this, but he could give a run for small money at a big price.

Selection: Figure Of Speech
Each way speculative: Andhesontherun

Placepot Picks

A – 5


The big race of the day and, for some traditionalists, the week. It’s a Group 2 run over two miles.

Goodwood Cup Trends

13 of the last 16 winners finished 1-2-3 last time out

Winners have been spread from four to ten years old

11 of the 13 with an official rating were rated 109+. Nine were rated 114+

Eight favourites and three second favourites have won in the last sixteen years

12 of the last 16 winners ran 31-60 days ago

[thanks to for the above]

Trends shortlist: Brown Panther

Goodwood Cup Form Preview

Godolphin, Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien have each won this twice in the last eight years and, this year, only Godolphin is represented. Indeed, the boys in blue are triple-handed, with Ahzeemah, Cavalryman and Colour Vision.

Let’s start with Colour Vision, third in this last year. Good enough to win the Gold Cup at Ascot last year – and finish fourth in it this year – he’s got a strong chance on the form book as long as the word ‘good’ appears somewhere in the going description. He should be ridden positively, and Silvestre de Sousa is his regular pilot (since Frankie’s departure at least).

Cavalryman is the old servant in the trio, and this is his trip, class and ground. 10/1 or thereabouts seems fair in that context, especially given he’s the second highest rated horse in the field.

Ahzeemah is a very consistent type, having been placed first or second in his last eight starts. That sequence includes two Group 3’s and a Group 2, as well as a run over this two mile trip, when second to Cavalryman at Meydan. He’s never been out of the first four in fifteen career starts and that run could be extended here without him being quite able enough to beat all.

The highest rated is the enigmatic (read, hard to predict/unreliable/expensive) Mount Athos. You may detect a hint of disdain in my tone there, and you’d be right. In a nutshell, I always get him wrong. He’s won plenty – eight in fact – including two Group 3’s at 1m5f. Not only that, but he was fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year over this trip.

He is clearly a capable animal, and the balance of his form – in fairness – is good enough to win this. But he hasn’t won over this far, despite running well at similar distances multiple times; and he hasn’t won in this grade, despite a couple of decent efforts in similar class.

And that, I think, is the rub. He’s just a bit over-rated. Sure, he might win this. But for my money there are a number of others with similar – perhaps more – compelling cases, and at multiples of his circa 7/2 odds.

Two of them, both rated 113, are Brown Panther and Glen’s Diamond. The latter has been under-rated, given that he’s won a Group 3 and a Group 2. He has had a couple of cracks at two miles in pattern class and fallen a drop short both times, which is a concern, and he might just be better at a quarter mile shorter.

Brown Panther on the other hand looks to have a good chance. The sole trends pick, the Panther seems effective on all ground; and has run some good races in Group 1 company at shorter. But he was disappointing on his only previous try at the trip, albeit on heavy ground in France.

He’s definitely worth another try at sixteen furlongs, but I do have a reservation about his stamina. That aside, he looks to have a decent squeak.

One which has no such trip tribulations is Caucus for Johnny G. This chap has done well since stepping up to Cup races and has won a couple of Listed contests in recent runs. The problem for him, though, is the grade, which is a couple of notches above what he’s been winning in. He has been progressing gradually, but it would take a slightly lacklustre effort from four or five of his rivals to see this one prevail. That seems unlikely.

The conundrum is Saddler’s Rock. He won this last year, to conclude a fine run of form that included an Ascot Gold Cup third, and a Doncaster Cup success. But… he’s been out of form pretty much ever since. That’s a run of seven races without making the frame, and it’s just too much of a leap of faith to expect him to come right back to his best.

More interesting than him is the German raider, Altano, who flew for fifth in the Gold Cup when given way too much to do. Presumably his rider will have learned something from that, and based on four Group 3 wins at the distance, all on good ground, he will have a decent chance at around 12/1.

In summary, there are quite a lot in here that don’t look quite good enough for one reason or another. The ones on my shortlist are Colour Vision, Cavalryman, and Altano and, at the prices, I think I’ll side with the last named.

Value pick: Altano
Dangers: Colour Vision, Cavalryman

Placepot Picks

A – 2, 6, 7

3.45 Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 3)

A newish race, established in 2003, and with a couple of strong trends to perhaps help to highlight a winning chance.

Lillie Langtry Stakes Trends

Nine of the ten winners to date finished first or second last time out. 19 of the 26 win and place positions were also claimed by horses finishing 1-2 last time out.

Four and five year olds have the best record, with eight wins from 56 runs (14%). Three year olds have two wins from 27 runs (7%)

Nine of the ten winners had yet to win at the distance, though they comprised the majority of the runners too. Indeed, eight of the fifteen runners to have at least one distance win claimed at least a place in this.

Trends shortlist: Miss Cap Estel, Souviens Toi, Wild Coco

Lillie Langtry Stakes Form Preview

The obvious starting point is with Wild Coco, last year’s winner. She hasn’t run for 322 days, which in normal circumstances might be considered a negative. In Wild Coco’s case, however, she was absent for 349 days before winning last year! She is effective on any ground with the word ‘good’ in the going description and, as a lightly raced 5yo, she must have every chance again. She’s a fairly short price to do that, but she deserves to be, as there are no concerns about conditions and she’s rated eight pounds-plus superior to everything else in the contest.

The filly she beat into second last year, Jehannedarc, re-opposes here, and she again has place prospects. The problem with her is that she’s hard to win with. Indeed, just two victories from 17 starts is hardly Group class form. Her frailties are brought into stark clarity when we note that she has been second twice and third no less than five times in that string of runs.

Although Jehannedarc has been second on both her runs at this track, in Listed and Group 3 class, I’m going to look for something else to take silver this time.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Elik is the second market choice, but this lass is a three-year-old and I’m not certain she needs this step up in trip yet. She does have a course win here, over ten furlongs, so we know she’ll handle the track, but she may not be best suited by ground on the soft side of good. On balance, those are enough reasons to look elsewhere, especially when 5/2 is about the pick of the available prices.

Former Italian race mare, Souviens Toi, makes more appeal. Although she’s yet to win in three UK starts, she’s been close up over a mile and a half behind proven pattern class older horses, Khione, Moment In Time, and Brown Panther. In her case, I think a bit further looks ideal, and she will go very close to the places in my view. The fact that she doesn’t mind how the ground plays, as long as it’s not firm, is another plus.

Of the bigger prices, trends shortlist filly, Miss Cap Estel is stepping up out of handicap class for the first time. It’s worth noting that four of the ten winners of this race ran in handicap company last time out, and three winners – like Miss Cap Estel – were rated in the mid-80’s. We’ll see worse 33/1 shots this week. I’ve had a nibble each way.

Selection: Wild Coco 5/4
Big priced each way tickle: Miss Cap Estel 33/1

Placepot Picks

A – 6


I obviously don’t have much of an idea in here, with fourteen of the nineteen runners yet to have performed in public. Of those with form, Amazing Maria sets the standard, but it’s debatable whether that standard is good enough to win, or even place, here.

Ejadah pulled too hard on her debut over this seven furlong trip at Newmarket, and was slightly impeded in her run too. It was a decent first spin, and she gets the hood applied for the first time here. That combination of beneficial headgear and experience, allied to the prospect of a slightly better pace in this big field, gives her a squeak.

With so many unraced contenders, there’s a decent chance that we see the first debut winner since 2003 and, if that’s to be the case, then the usual suspects will be in pole position.

Richard Hannon saddles both Remember (Hughes) and Angleterre (Dobbs), and both are bred to be above average. And Cayman Cry represents Brian Meehan, who is having a terrific season. And Sir Michael Stoute introduces Radiator, who could run hot or cold (geddit?!).

A market check is required here, and that will be factored into my placepot picks.

Selection: no bet

Placepot Picks

A – 2, 7, 15
B – 3, 5, 13

4.50 TATLER STAKES (Handicap) (CLASS 2)

Like the mag whose name it takes, this is a high class handicap, over seven furlongs. Andrew Balding has won this twice in the last five years with horses sneaking in towards the bottom of the handicap, and he looks to be planning a similar assault this time with the unexposed Melvin The Grate.

This fellow had been running well at seven furlongs in his first four starts. In fact, a debut second was followed by two wins on the all weather, and a third place when running way too freely. Then, stepped up to a mile and back on turf for the first time since his debut, he ran a clunker. He’s been off since that run – in mid-May – and, if that which was ailing him has been resolved, he has the look of a bit of a plot. A draw in 13 is less than ideal, however.

A couple with much more obvious form claims, and more weight as a consequence, are Pythagorean and Homage.

The former, trained by Roger Charlton, has yet to finish out of the first four (seven of eight runs in the first three) and he was unlucky not to win over this range the last day. All eight of his runs have been at seven furlongs, including a second place here last September, on soft ground. He seems sure to give his running once more.

Homage is improving fast, and ran his best race when just touched off behind Ashaadd at Sandown last time. He’s been given time off since then and can be expected to have improved during that intermission. On the downside, he too may be compromised by a very wide draw.

Regal Dan is another compromised by the draw, but otherwise is interesting with Ryan Moore booked. Better drawn, in six, and with the pace to take advantage of it, is Shafaani. This lass ran in the nursery here last year and, though only seventh there, was beaten just a length and a quarter in a blanket finish. She’s likely to make a bold bid from the front and, at a price, could be worth a small interest.

Czech It Out, from stall four, is also drawn to run on the pace, and this thrice raced son of Oratorio has the best man for the job – Joe Fanning – on board. Amanda Perrett loves a winner here and she has a chance in this.

And Kyllachy Rise has been well managed since winning his maiden. A fine run in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot was followed by a decent effort at Sandown behind a couple of these last time. But he’s now back down to a mark of 82, and Jimmy Quinn will give him every chance if he’s close/good enough.

As you can tell, it’s wide open. If pushed to bet – and I won’t be! – I’d side with those drawn low, and would be most interested in Czech It Out and Kyllachy Rise.

Token selection: Kyllachy Rise

Placepot Picks

A – 4, 13, 14
B – 5, 10, 15


We close with a big field apprentice handicap over nine furlongs. Ideally, we’re looking for a (relatively) experienced jockey, who sit close to the pace, and quicken from the two pole. Oh, and a horse that will allow him/her to do that!

Maverik may be the answer in that context. Patrick Hills is one of the leading apprentices, and isn’t able to claim here. He’s drawn three which will suit the pace-pressing style of his mount. Granted sensible fractions, he could go close. As a bonus, he’s won over this specialist nine furlong track, and that at Epsom, a similarly undulating and quirky course.

Copperwood runs again for Mark Johnston, after failing to get close to the pace on Wednesday. This time, he should get on the speed, and his jockey – Michael J M Murphy – is one of the better pilots (won this for Johnston last year). He too is a former Epsom nine furlong winner.

At the other end of the spectrum, Benzanno is drawn 18 and is a hold up type. Should they go too fast early – and there’s a pretty good chance of that – he’ll get the perfect tow into the race, and will be flying down the outside under the excellent Thomas Brown. Andrew Balding’s horses have been just under-performing a little compared to their normal high summer zip, and that could change at any moment.

Finally, I have to mention Shelly Birkett, daughter of Julia Feilden, who is riding brilliantly this season. She’s atop the difficult Silver Alliance, and has already won on him three times this year. A victory here would be something for all the family to savour, and would be a welcome fillip for part-owner and long-time supporter of Julia, Dick Creese. Get well soon, Dick.

I won’t be getting too carried away here, but at least some of those four should get into the mix.

A couple each way against the field: Maverik, Benzanno


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Glorious Goodwood Friday Placepot

Glorious Goodwood Friday Placepot

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Glorious Goodwood Day Four (Friday) Preview, Tips

I will be arriving in France as they jump off for the first race on Day Four of Glorious Goodwood, so this is written in advance (as will be Saturday’s preview). Should the rain come down, or the sun bake the track, please keep that in mind as these comments are based on a good to soft track. We start with a glorious race…

1.55 GLORIOUS STAKES (Group 3)

This mile and a half Group 3 is for older horses only, and has been a race in which Luca Cumani has enjoyed particular success. Alas, he’s not represented this time, so we’ll need to dig deeper than merely the trainer column on the race card (as if we’d ever base an opinion on such a flimsy case!!!)

Glorious Stakes Trends

Although five last time out winners have taken this in the last sixteen years, that means that eleven horses were beaten the last day. Indeed, eight were not even in the first three.

Six year olds have the best wins to runs ratio in that time, claiming five wins from just twenty runners, and another three places to boot. Four year olds have the best record in number of winner terms, with a haul of nine wins and 25 places, albeit from the lion’s share of the runners. For some reason, and I suspect it’s a statistical anomaly, five year olds have a weak record. No horse older than six has even placed since 1997.

Fifteen of the last sixteen winners had run within two months of turning up here, something which two notable members of the field this time cannot boast.

Trends shortlist: Lost In The Moment

Glorious Stakes Form Preview

Lost In The Moment, the trends pick, is a reasonable place to start. He’s found it hard to win since his first full season – just two wins since, on the first run of his second full season, and last time out – and that’s a bit of a worry. That last time out win was in Listed class over this trip in a field of four. It’s hard to be confident of him repeating the feat here, and in any case, his trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s record in this race has been lamentable since Mamool took the spoils in 2005.

But what of the oppo? Well, we have the eight year old, Forgotten Voice, so impressive at Royal Ascot when running away with the Wolferton Handicap. That was over ten furlongs, and he’s won good races over hurdles too, but will he stay this trip on the flat against Group-class rivals? I don’t know, is the honest answer, and at eight years young, I’m not especially disposed to put my cash down to find out.

Mijhaar is the sole entry for the Five Year Old Club and, if you ignore a sub-par run last time, he has a chance. It’s fairly easy to excuse that run, which was over further and on faster than he’s ever raced before. He probably didn’t stay and he probably didn’t like the ground.

Back to a mile and a half on a fairly easy surface, he’ll try to make all, I think. And in a race where there are knocks against most, he’s got a chance to do that.

The four year olds are up against it on ratings, ostensibly at least, but that hasn’t stopped five of the last sixteen renewals being claimed by a horse rated 105 or less. Sheikhzayedroad has progressed well this term, and was a bit unlucky not to catch Forgotten Voice the last day. Before that, over this distance, he was way too good for a field of decent handicappers at Epsom, and he’ll be swooping late again here.

Montaser likes small fields but is surely better over further these days. I’d be surprised if at least a couple of these didn’t have too much speed for him. If it was to become attritional then his stamina would kick in, but with just Mijhaar likely to go on, I don’t see that happening.

And then we have the long-time absentees, Masterstroke and Aiken. They’re the top rated pair in the field, and both have Group 2 wins to their name. But they’ve been off the track for a long time. Why? Masterstroke was actually third in the Arc last year, a piece of form which would make him head and shoulders above these if he’d had a run this term. It’s quite possible he’s being readied for an Autumn – or perhaps even winter – campaign in Europe and then Asia. If that’s the case, he’ll come on plenty for this seasonal bow, and I hope he’s well backed because he’ll make the market for anything else we fancy.

Aiken was tried at Cup distances at the end of last year, which implies he might be short of a bit of pace. He’s a likable sort, with a winning habit, but he too may just be sharper after this run than during it.

A trappy old race, and I’ll take a chance with Mijhaar, who should get the run of things up front, and could stay there. Sheikhzayedroad might make the jump to Group class and is a danger, amongst many dangers.

Selection: Mijhaar
Danger: Sheikhzayedroad

Placepot Picks

A – 5, 7
B – 1, 4


The Thoroughbred Stakes is next, a mile Group 3. There are absolutely no meaningful trends here, expect to note that Messrs. Hannon, Meehan and Johnston have each won it twice in the last nine years. Johnston is unrepresented, but Hannon has two – Baltic Knight and Montiridge – and Meehan has one, Whipper’s Boy.

Montiridge offers the best form, courtesy of his head second in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. While that was over seven furlongs, he’s got plenty of winning form at a mile and is bred for the trip too. Without revealing my hand too soon, I think he’ll win.

The top rated is Glory Awaits, the horse closest to Dawn Approach when he duffed up all-comers in the 2000 Guineas, beaten five lengths there. Although that looked a fluke at the time – he was a 150/1 chance after all – he has since run to within five and three quarter lengths of the same horse at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes. Those are both good efforts, but Montiridge should have too many guns for him.

Most of the rest of this field have had a goodly number of goes already, and thus have limited to scope to improve dramatically, an act which in many cases their rating suggests they’d need to do. Baltic Knight has at least been maturing well, and the form of his last day Listed win has worked out reasonably well. Trip and ground should be fine and Ryan Moore has a first crack at this chap.

Tawhid also ran in the Jersey last time, finishing a length and a half behind Montiridge there. They’ve both skipped between seven and eight furlongs, but Tawhid doesn’t seem to have progressed this year from a fine win in the Group 3 Horris Hill at the end of last season. I’d be a bit disappointed if he was good enough to nab this.

That leaves the lighest raced of these, Whipper’s Boy. I’d not spend too long looking through his form if it wasn’t for the fact that his trainer has a fine record in the race, his two winners coming from just four runners. This lad hasn’t been seen since under-achieving in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last year. That’s a long time to be off, though he’d previously comfortably accounted for Zanetto, now rated 107. If he’s fit, he might run well at a decent price.

Selection: Montiridge
Interesting at a price: Whipper’s Boy

Placepot Picks

A – 4

3.05 BETFRED MILE (Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2)

A big field mile handicap, where draw and trends are strong. Allow me to evidence that…

Betfred Mile Trends

Eleven of the last sixteen winners have been drawn within five stalls of the rail; 14 were drawn nine or less boxes from the rail.

Thirteen of the last sixteen winners finished in the top five last time out, with four winning last time, and four more finishing second.

Fifteen of the last sixteen winners were aged three to five. Six year olds plus have won just once from 78 runners.

Trends shortlist: Cap Peron, Fire Ship

Betfred Mile Form Preview

Regular readers will know that in big handicaps, I’m normally happy to roll with the trends as far as possible, on the basis that wading through the form chance of 22 nags for a likelihood of no return is not my thing.

In that spirit, Fire Ship looks like a belting bet, and I’ve backed him at 16/1 already. Drawn seven, he likes to race prominently, and a mile on the soft side of good is perfect. Winning a Listed race five days beforehand is hardly a negative (three of the last sixteen winners had raced in the previous week), and he is a box-ticker among box-tickers.

Fire Ship has been in the frame in thirteen of his seventeen turf races, and trainer William Knight has an excellent record at the track.

The other trends horse, Cape Peron, is clearly very good. He is also unexposed, and could be a Group class colt. But… he’ll need a minor miracle to get a run with his hold up style out of trap five. A similar comment applies to the talented Dance And Dance, who has the best of the draw, but doesn’t have a run style to avail of it. The same comment applies to the well touted Stirring Ballad, good enough to win the Tatler Stakes at the meeting last year. She will need luck, and plenty of it.

Windhoek has been slightly disappointing since a win in the Listed Newmarket Stakes, albeit that he was contesting Group races for two of those three efforts. He’s a prominent racer, and could easily return to form here for last year’s winning connections.

The thing with so many hold up horses drawn low is that it does open the door ever so slightly to a higher drawn nag with tactical speed. If that holds true come race time, then Asatir comes into it from box eleven (assuming he doesn’t fluff the start, as he can do). He might be one to bet in running after a furlong, even if you’re taking a couple of points shorter. If he misses the break, save your shekels.

Even Johnny Murtagh won’t be able to get Es Que Love home from stall 22. Pity, as he has a decent chance on the form book.

Selection: Fire Ship
Alternatives: Windhoek, Asatir

Placepot Picks

A – 9, 12, 14
B – 13, 18, 19


This is a big field five furlong Group 2 sprint, and it promises to be a cracking spectacle. The trends are fairly strong, as we’ll see.

King George Stakes Trends

121 horses have been sent off 14/1 or bigger in the last sixteen years, and none have won. Just six made the frame from a possible 48 place positions.

3-6yo’s have won fourteen of the last sixteen renewals, with the older two year bracket having the best wins to runs ratio.

Ten of the last sixteen winners finished 1-2-3-4 last time out.

Thirteen of the last sixteen winners ran in Listed class or better last time out.

Trends shortlist: Ladies Are Forever, Tickled Pink, Bettolle, Jwala, Bungle Inthejungle

King George Stakes Form Preview

Not a race that has provided many shocks down the years, in fact no winner has returned bigger than 11/1 since at least 1987 (couldn’t find records before that!). I’m looking for a horse that is a confirmed speedball for this fast five furlong fling. And ideally, I want them to have winning form on both good and good to soft ground.

Those which fit the bill are Bungle Inthejungle, Jwala, Masamah, Moviesta, Smoothtalkinraskal, and Spirit Quartz.

Bungle Inthejungle and Jwala actually both fit the trends profile too, and I’m especially drawn to Bungle. He won the Molecomb here over the same distance at last year’s Glorious Goodwood meeting, and closed out his juvenile season by beating Garswood in a soft ground Group 3. He’s found life harder this term, but was only five lengths behind Sole Power in the Group 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, and again ran fairly well in the Coral Charge behind Tickled Pink, Kingsgate Native and Mince.

He had Duke Of Firenze and Spirit Quartz behind him that day, and a return to Goodwood might see a return to top form, although a draw in fifteen might need them to come down the middle rather than along the far rail.

Jwala dead heated in the closing sprint on this card last year, and she’s improved a stone since then. Indeed, she followed up two second places in Listed dashes with a deserved win in the same class the last day. She’s won on all goings with the word ‘good’ in them and will not be beaten by the ground. Her draw in six is a mild positive too, and she ought to run well.

Masamah is a speedball, and proved it by winning this two years ago. He has a very good draw in four to try to lead all the way and, though he’s not getting any younger, he was good enough to outpace a big field of experienced handicappers last time. You’ll get a great run for your money if you back this fellow. Neil Callan takes over from Jamie Spencer, who is claimed by his retained owner, Qatar Racing.

He’s claimed for Spirit Quartz, like Jwala (and Kingsgate Native) trained by Robert Cowell, a man who specializes in sprinters. Spirit Quartz has run two clunkers in his last two runs, but prior to that had won a Group 2 – same grade as this – over in France. A draw in twelve is somewhat in no man’s land, and on balance I’d be looking elsewhere.

The three-year-olds Moviesta and Smoothtalkinraskal are both stepping up from handicap company. The latter is drawn 18 and might be a horse destined to be ‘unlucky’, due to a combination of tough draws and a hold up style. He was beaten far enough in two tries at pattern company last year, but does deserve another try. It will be exciting to watch this one try to thread a path if you back him, but he’s not for me.

Moviesta is rated 104, and has gone up 21 pounds so far this year. He’s still upwardly mobile and with a nice low draw here, he should get involved.

One I haven’t directly mentioned because I’m not sure the ground will be quick enough for him, or if he’s young enough to win this, is Kingsgate Native. This old boy – eight now – has been a high class equine all right. He can boast two Group 1 wins, two Group 2 wins, and a Group 3 win on his CV, and his last Group 2 was as recently as May of this year. That was on firm ground, and if it dries out, he’s going to have a fine chance again. He won this back in 2009, and was second in the Molecomb way back in 2007!

Selection: Masamah

Placepot Picks

A – 1, 8
B – 2, 12, 14


The murder scene for many a placepot of mine over the years, there’s every chance that this year will be no different! You see, normally this race has ten or twelve or a maximum of fourteen runners. But, for some reason, this year there are 22 entries. TWENTY-TWO. Juvenile handicappers! I have never seen anything like it.

Since 2008, there have only been four 20+ runner 2yo handicaps, and the winning SP’s were 28/1, 20/1, 16/1, 7/1. I don’t know how to profile this and it’s an absolute crap shoot as far as I’m concerned. Somehow, ideally without taking 19 picks, we have to get through the placepot too.

I’ve had a look at the 21 such races since 2003, and come up with a couple of things which may or may not help.

1. 15 of the 21 winners were returning to the track within 25 days

2. 14 of the 21 winners were in the top five last time out

3. 57% of the winners and 58% of the placed horses came from the top ten in the weights, a slight top heavy bias

4. Six of the last nine winners in such races had already finished top six in a field of 15+. Two more had placed in a field of fourteen.

So, in the absence of anything at all really, I’m looking for a recently raced, top ten in the weights, who was placed top five last time and has big field experience.

That gives me a shortlist of two: Yorkshire Relish and Major Crispies (though the latter has been off the track four days longer than ideal).

Yorkshire Relish actually looks a cracking sort for a race like this. He’s won in a field of fourteen (albeit a very valuable Class 3 seller), and then he got mugged in his run over an inadequate five furlongs on the Weatherby’s Super Sprint at Newbury. He was still good enough to claim seventh of 24 there and, back up to six furlongs and with Jamie Spencer on, he must have a chance in what will clearly be an open race.

Major Crispies ran behind Toormore on his debut – that one won the Vintage Stakes here on Wednesday – and then finished within half a length of the winner on both his subsequent starts, the first of which was a Class 2 maiden. This guaranteed fast pace will play to his strengths and he’s a chance at a price no doubt.

Kevin Ryan, trainer of Yorkshire Relish, also runs Belayer, a debut winner who needed all of Beverley’s stiff five to get up, and who looks sure to enjoy the extra yardage here. Richard Hannon has won this twice, and presumably Hughes is on the pick of them, Speed The Plough. He defaults into the placepot perm.

If he’s a price, I might have talked myself into a little bet on Yorkshire Relish here!

Strangely confident each way selection: Yorkshire Relish

Placepot Picks

A – 7, 8, 10, 19
B – 11, 15

4.50 OAK TREE STAKES (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

A very strong trends and draw race is the Oak Tree Stakes, so we’ll start there…

Oak Tree Stakes Trends

Ten of the last sixteen winners were drawn in the two stalls closest to the rails. Given that this is virtually always a double digit field, that looks material. No winner has won from more than ten stalls from the rail.

The place story is similar, with 26 of the 46 available places (57%) being claimed by horses within four boxes of the rails. 32 of the 46 placed horses were within six boxes of the rails (70%). A low draw is important.

Fourteen of the last sixteen winners were in the first five home last time out.

3yo’s have won eleven of the last sixteen runners, but from most of the runners. The best wins-to-runs ratio is provided by four and five-year-olds.

Fourteen of the last sixteen winners were either top rated officially (two) or within ten pounds of top (ten).

Fourteen of the last sixteen winners were either unrated (two) or rated 98+ (twelve).

Trends shortlist: Winning Express

Oak Tree Stakes Form Preview

The shortlist is short! Let’s start with Winning Express, fourth in the 1000 Guineas, and then an easy winner of a Listed race at Warwick. Basically, she’s a seven furlong filly who ran to a very high level of form in both the Nell Gwyn (7f, third) and the Guineas (a mile, faded in the last half furlong, fourth). She showed her true colours when beating an admittedly weak field the last day with disdain.

This is her trip, she has shown Group 2 form in the Guineas, she is well drawn (especially given her prominent run style), and I think she’ll win.

There is one higher rated horse – Shuruq – and one on the same mark of 107, Nargys. Shuruq is hard to weigh up in the context of a race like this, because her rating was achieved on the tapeta surface at Meydan in a Group 3 there, the UAE Oaks. Whilst tapeta is not a completely incomparable surface to turf, she has little grass form to weigh up. Indeed, she has just her debut effort in a very good six furlong Newmarket maiden, where she finished third. That was on soft, this likely won’t be. It’s just too much of a guess to back her, even from stall four and with her being a pace presser.

Nargys has been a bit in and out, but she was very much ‘in’ when fourth in the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. She then flopped next time, when she was ‘out’, and frankly where my wallet’s concerned, I’d not be wanting to shake it all about in support of her. (Please yourselves!)

But here’s the thing with her: it’s entirely possible her best trip is seven furlongs. She’s run over that range four times, finishing second in good races thrice and disappointing when second choice in the Nell Gwyn. Just one win in eight starts, and trap nine to boot, mean she’s not for me.

Agent Allison returns to seven furlongs, a trip she was good enough to run up to Maureen in the Fred Darling on her seasonal debut. Since then she’s weakened badly twice at a mile. Back in trip here, and very well drawn, she could cruise into this with her hold up style. Jim Crowley does the steering here, and it’s not hard to see a resurgence of form bringing her close to the frame. It is quite hard for me to see her beating Winning Express, though.

Pavlosk can be forgiven her fading effort behind Sky Lantern in the Coronation Stakes, a Group 1, last time; and she is still improving after just three runs. It says something of her level of ability that Sir Michael Stoute was happy enough to run her in such esteemed company so early in her racing life, and she’ll almost certainly have more to offer during the rest of the season. But from stall eleven, she has it to do here.

The rest don’t look good enough and/or are badly drawn.

Selection: Winning Express (NAP)

Placepot Picks

A – 13


we close Friday, as we close every day, with a nigh on impossible handicap (though not, in truth, as difficult as that nursery). This time it’s a furlong shy of a mile and a half, and there are fifteen three-year-olds. At least each way punters know they’ll not get paid on fourth without having to wait for the obligatory non-runner!

In eight runnings, it’s been claimed by horses priced at 14/1, 16/1, and 25/1 twice, so I won’t be screaming for a bet here. But we ought at least to have a gander…

Northern Meeting may be an unoriginal starting point, but he’s likely to end up being a lot better than 77-rated. That’s the mark he’s been allotted after winning a Class 5 Carlisle maiden by five lengths last time. That run has already worked out better than the first race in which he ran, where no fewer than thirty starts have been accrued by runners there subsequently, and only Northern Meeting has managed to win!

Clearly, he needs to step up on what he’s done. Equally clearly, he will. With a couple of exceptions, his rivals look somewhere between moderate and exposed, and he must go close with peerless Ryan Moore (I think I’ll coin that as his new nickname on here) managing his resources.

Mark Johnston has a twice-raced last time out winner in here too, as does Lady Cecil. The Johnston colt is called Statutory, and he’s having his third start in 24 days: a typical Middleham baptism of fire. It’s impossible to know what to make of him, but connections are some of the best in the Glorious Goodwood business and the fact that he was their pick here – from a vast battalion – tells us something.

Lady Cecil runs the temptingly-named Retirement Plan, and she ran in one of the hottest maidens of the year at Newbury, behind Remote, Dare To Achieve, Bantam, Testudo, Asbaab and Aficionado (all winners since). She then won a much softer race, and one which hasn’t worked out nearly so well. But she’s (stunningly) bred to perhaps enjoy slightly easier ground than the good to firm there – by Monsun out of the excellent race mare, Passage Of Time – and she also may prove significantly better than her current mark of 88.

In its short tenure, this race has thrown up good winners like Eastern Aria and Sanbuch, and it’s possible that either Retirement Plan or Northern Meeting can emulate them.

Selection: Northern Meeting
Alternative: Retirement Plan

Glorious Goodwood Friday Placepot perm

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Glorious Goodwood Friday Placepot Picks

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