Glorious Goodwood 2017: Day One Preview, Tips

Glorious Goodwood is upon us once more and, in spite of it now being officially called the Qatar Goodwood Festival, that’s the last you’ll hear of the Emirati empire-builder’s monicker here. So yes, Glorious Goodwood. And, oh boy is this a glorious week of racing.

The setting, betwixt rolling downs and the sea, is spectacular: perhaps the best in the land. The racing is generally high class and competitive. Winners are unsurprisingly to be cherished, by punters almost as much as owners. Over five days, we will be offered 35 wagering puzzles, starting with a septet of head-scratchers on Tuesday, day one.

Some trends for Day One of Glorious Goodwood can be found here. Current expectation for day one is that the ground will be drying out from good to soft towards good.

1.50 Handicap (1m2f, Class 2)

The customary big-field opener – eighteen runners scheduled to face the starter – and incredibly Mark Johnston, winner of this six times this century, does not saddle any of them. Struggling as I am to acknowledge the new sponsor, it would be remiss not to think that horses running in Qatari silks this week will be expected to perform well.

In that context, Abdon, whose last run was a sighter over course and distance in higher grade, should be considered. Dropping down into handicap company for the first time since a class and distance victory on fast ground at Haydock, he’s trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Trip and ground look ideal for Roger Varian’s Uae Prince, too, with this son of Sea The Stars racing off the same mark from which he was a length fourth in the John Smith’s Cup at York a fortnight ago. As a prominent racer generally, a draw in 15 is not ideal, but no doubt Andrea Atzeni will do what is needed to either tack across or take back.

Garcia was only just behing Uae Prince in that York contest and was running on eye-catchingly. But this easier track may not be what Richard Fahey’s fellow wants so he may again be finishing too late. Ryan Moore keeps the ride.

A place and a length behind Garcia was Eddystone Rock. John Best’s five-year-old got a little tight for room at one point and has racked up a consistent string of efforts in competitive handicaps. He’s a bit of value at around 16/1 (bet365), and UAE PRINCE (7/1) looks quite likely to run well.

Skybet are MONEY BACK AS A FREE BET IF YOU LOSE on the 1.50 (max stake £20). Click here for this offer.

Paddy are 1/5 FIVE places.


2.25 Vintage Stakes Preview, Tips (7f, 2yo, Group 2)

The first Group race of the week is a test of speed and stamina for two-year-olds. Having not had much to crow about from nine runners up to 2008, Aidan O’Brien began to patronise this heat again in 2014. His two runners in the last three years have both won, and included the tough and smart Highland Reel. The bid for a recent hat-trick rests with Seahenge for ‘the lads’.

One of just three (from 39) Ballydoyle juveniles to win on debut this year – the other pair included Chesham Stakes winner, September – that offers a clue as to Seahenge’s precocity. He was, like most of his peers, held up and given something of an education that day, yet still had enough to come through under hands and heels. It’s likely he didn’t beat a whole lot but he will improve plenty for that experience and should relish the extra furlong.

That quiet opening run approach has long been the modus operandi of Sir Michael Stoute, and he saddles his only juvenile debut winner of 2017 – from just nine juvies to race this year – in the shape of Expert Eye. The well beaten third and fourth from that seven furlong Newmarket maiden have both won their only starts since, giving the form a solid look.

Mark Johnston runs two-from-two Mildenberger, who won his most recent start by five lengths. But Johnston has saddled eleven losers since his back-to-back victories with the smart pair, Lucky Story and Shamardal.

French raider, Cold Stare, was a Listed winner over this trip last time out, and is an interesting runner; but I expect SEAHENGE (5/2) to take a lot of beating.

bet365 are paying A QUARTER THE ODDS 1-2-3


3.00 Lennox Stakes Preview, Tips (7f, Group 2)

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The same grade and trip, this time for older horses, and a field of fifteen which includes four Godolphin runners for four different trainers.

The market is co-headed by LIMATO, a dual Group 1 winner, including over seven furlongs. Although still searching for a first win of the campaign, Henry Candy’s five-year-old has made the frame in his last two starts, both in Group 1’s at the shorter six furlong range. He has looked like the step up might be what he needs now, and Limato appeals as a win bet at 4/1 (bet365), looking very likely be on the premises. [NB Now top priced 10/3, which is about right in my view.]

Librisa Breeze is the other joint-favourite: he is a dual winner over seven furlongs, both at Ascot, and has also won over further. This lesser test of stamina is not expected to suit and he will probably be running on late – too late – at the finish.

From the Godolphin quartet, the most interesting pair may be Home Of The Brave and Dutch Connection. The former is unbeaten in two starts this term, and steps up again after wins in Listed and Group 3 company. Stall one will aid his front-running style, but he’s never won above G3 level, however, and this looks a hot contest for a Group 2.

Dutch Connection is a seven furlong specialist. His record at the distance reads 1131216, a string which includes a win and a second in this in the last years. He was below par at the Curragh last time but that mooted as a prep for his Lennox defence, and I like his chance, each way, especially at a tasty 12/1 (Ladbrokes).

Skybet, Betfred, Paddy, tote, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfair are all paying AFIFTH THE ODDS 1-2-3-4


3.35 Goodwood Cup Preview, Tips (2m, Group 1)

A big field of sixteen for the Group 1 centre piece of day one, the Goodwood Cup, run over the marathon trip of two miles. Despite the large field, BIG ORANGE is a shade of odds on in the absence of recent foe, Order Of St George. Michael Bell’s six-year-old son of Duke Of Marmalade has continued to blossom this term winning both the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown and the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in an epic tussle.

He is also the reigning champion in this event, having won it for the last two years, thus he attempts to match the record of the great Double Trigger in winning a third Goodwood Cup.

While I’m unexcited by his price, it is not the wrong price. He has elevated to a career high perch of 121 with the official handicapper, comes here in terrific form, and is known to relish conditions. If there is a fly in the ointment, and a reason not to pile in at 10/11, it is the prospect of a contested pace. Big Orange likes to lead. In this field, so too do High Jinx, and Oriental Fox. It probably won’t stop Frankie Dettori, back from injury and reacquainting himself after James Doyle deputised the last day, from controlling the fractions, nor from winning the race.

Nearer the time there may be ‘without the favourite’ betting and here I’d be somewhat interested in the price of US Army Ranger. He was waited with to get the trip in the 2m6f Queen Alexandra Stakes at the Royal meeting, and stayed on well to take third there. He’s been a hard horse with which to win – losing run stretches to eight races now – but the first of those was when runner up in last year’s Derby: he clearly has class.

In truth, it’s a shallow looking affair. Apart from the above pair, perhaps the most interesting of the remainder may be the three-year-old Stradivarius. Andrea Atzeni got a great tune out of him (groan) in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and he looks nicely progressive. With the near stone in weight for age he receives from all bar fellow 3yo Desert Skyline and the mare Sweet Selection, he could continue his upward trajectory and demonstrate he stays this far by making the frame.

bet365 are paying A QUARTER THE ODDS 1-2-3


4.10 Maiden (6f, 2yo, Class 2)

Tea break.

More helpfully, perhaps, I can tell you that in the last five years, Richard Hannon Jr. has saddled five two-year-old maiden winners here in July and August from 43 starters. He’s notched a 30% place rate which is reasonable, though as you see he does fire a lot of bullets: in this race his gun is loaded with three.

For the sponsors, Frankie rides Algam, who was second on his only start in an Epsom maiden over seven furlongs. He steps back an eighth here and will probably encounter slightly quicker ground. The similarities of Epsom’s chaotic camber to Goodwood’s own helter-skelter mean that initial outing will have clued the son of Kodiac up to what he’ll encounter on the Downs. Nothing from the Epsom race has run since so it’s tricky to peg the form.

But the one I’m betting is REBEL STREAK, under geegeez-sponsored jockey, David Probert. He was murdered in a Class 3 Ascot novice last time out, coming between converging horses and would surely have won if not for taking back alarmingly as a result of the incident. That form looks good with both the fifth and seventh winning their sole starts since, from only three horses to run again. He’s 11/2 on the opening show with Paddy and Betfair Sports, if you can get on with them. Sadly I can’t so will have to see what else manifests.

bet365 are paying A QUARTER THE ODDS 1-2-3


4.45 Handicap (5f, 4yo+, Class 2)

The first cavarly charge of the week. Exposed handicappers comprise the field – no runners younger than four – and there could be a bias towards low drawn waited with types in a field this size. That would bring in last year’s winner, Boom The Groom, who has slipped back to a mark of 102. He won off 98 twelve months ago and followed up in a similar race at York from the same figure as he contests this. Conditions clearly suit and he is tempting at odds of 9/1.

The one they will probably have to catch is Amomentofmadness. Charlie Hills’ runner is consistent and should lead into the final furlong before perhaps giving best. He ought at least to offer a run for your money.

And what of the remarkable Pettochside? Ten runs at Goodwood have yielded nine placed finishes, three of them wins. That trio of triumphs were all recorded on soft turf, however, making the drying ground a concern; and they were all over six furlongs. John Bridger’s season ticker holder should again trouble the judge.

One trainer who loves getting winners at this meeting is Amanda Perrett. Based locally at Pulborough, she runs the ex-Johnny Murtagh-trained Kasbah, narrowly denied at Sandown last time out and now five pounds below his last winning mark. He’d prefer to hear his hooves rattle, however, and may have to wait a tad longer before returning to the winners’ enclosure.

Vibrant Chords, who beat Amomentofmadness over course and distance two starts back, and Dark Shot, third in that race, are others to consider in a typically open sprint handicap.

Skybet, Betfred, Paddy, tote, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfair are all paying AFIFTH THE ODDS 1-2-3-4


5.15 Fillies’ Handicap (1m, 3yo+, Class 3)

A low draw and a prominent run style usually gets you in the mix in big field handicaps over a mile and that’s the approach I’m taking with this one. Two fillies fit the bill, Lincoln Rocks and Darkroom Angel.

The former, as the only four-year-old on the field gets to carry plenty of weight. But she’s fast from the stalls, is drawn in trap three, and had held her form very well including when claiming a Listed contest two runs back. Although vulnerable to a more lightly-weighted, less exposed filly, she will give backers a run at least at around 16/1.

Darkroom Angel, meanwhile, has the inside post and has won over these undulations earlier in the year. That was over ten furlongs on quicker turf, but if she can travel off the slighter faster tempo she won’t want for stamina at the business end. She’s 40/1 which suggests she’s probably out of her depth.

Roger Varian’s Shenanigans (12/1) splits the trailblazers in stall two. Her prominent running style should mean she can slipstream the above pair and challenge in the closing stages if good enough. Unexposed on turf – just two placed runs to date – she can continue Varian’s excellent recent form (24% winners, 57% placed, in July).

Skybet are paying AFIFTH THE ODDS 1-2-3-4


And that’s Tuesday. A tricky card, but a few playable at the prices. Good luck whatever you fancy. Even if you’re winner-free on day one, there will be 28 further chances to put that right before the week is out!


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