Glorious Goodwood 2019: Day 2 Preview, Tips
A cracking opening day produced a couple of winners for the preview, and some spectacular sport: Stradivarius doing what he does, and Pinatubo being epic.
Wednesday sees brings the Group 1 Sussex Stakes as well as a host of impenetrable handicap puzzles. Not a day for the wagering boots, but a few small interests might reward speculative players.
1.50 Unibet Goodwood Handicap (Class 2, 2m 4f 134 yds, 4yo+)
A loooong race to get us started and it was won by a looooong way last year as the super Lil Rockerfeller bolted up by no less than fifteen lengths! Sent to the front as the field raced away from the stands and up the track before taking the loop and skittling back down again, Silvestre de Sousa never saw another rival, a dose he’ll surely look to repeat this time.
The problem is that this time he has a 17lb higher rating. Still it might not stop him if he can get a soft lead as he did last year. The likes of Dubawi Fifty and perhaps Mancini and Paddys Motorbike may fancy going forwards as well meaning he’s less likely to get the run of things.
The Karen McLintock-trained Dubawi Fifty is interesting, with the jockey booking of Danny Tudhope catching the eye. Fourth in last year’s Chester Cup, he was then second in the 2018 Ascot Stakes before reappearing on the level this season in the Northumberland Plate where only a head denied him victory. He’s snuck up five pounds for those narrow reversals but still looks fairly treated and another bold effort is expected.
Rounding out the top three in the weights is this year’s Ascot Stakes winner, The Grand Visir. His trainer, Ian Williams, is one of the shrewdest in the business and won this two years ago with Cool Sky; money for the top weight – just five pounds higher than when winning at Ascot – would be material. Williams also won the race in 2008 and 2014.
He also runs Zubayr, who looked rejuvenated for the change of stable when winning a competitive little handicap hurdle over this trip last time. Off his lightweight, he’s the sort with which Williams could easily conjure another triumph in the day two opener.
Of those lower down the weights, Paddys Motorbike represents 2015 winning trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies. That year, Sands Of Fortune was another Goodwood Handicap winner to make all. As mentioned, there’s a fair chance the trainer will ask his jockey to go forwards again, and there’s also a fair chance of a contested lead early. Whoever wins that battle may win the race, if not guzzling too much benzine so to do.
Another worth a second look is the veteran Fun Mac: he will be saddled by Hughie Morrison, winner of this race in 2016. A hardy Cup horse in his prime, he’s still competitive in staying handicaps as witnessed by his fifth of 15 in the Chester Cup and fourth of 19 in the Ascot Stakes this term. Most of a stone below his rating this time last year, he’d be a popular winner.
Loads more with chances in an open renewal.
From a betting perspective, the pace in the race will be pivotal – like it generally is in any race! The problem here is that it’s unclear how things will pan out with any number of possible early leaders. My best guess is that SdS will kick Lil Rockerfeller on, with Dubawi Fifty and Paddys Motorbike snapping at his heels.
If that does happen, it could set up for a more patiently ridden entrant, and I’ll chance my arm with two at prices for trainers who know this gig well: Zubayr (16/1) and Fun Mac. The former is an Ian Williams inmate, a handler for whom it is often the supposed second choice who prevails on these occasions. Fun Mac (14/1) is reliable and consistent, as well as high class, and might just have another day left in him.
It’s just about 16/1 the pair, and the suggestion is each way with as many places as are available.
2.25 Unibet Handicap (Class 2, 1m 3f 218yds, 3yo)
Well this mile and a half three-year-old handicap really is towards the impossible end of the difficulty spectrum. Happily, the market has been a good guide in recent times with seven of the last nine (*convenient cutoff alert*) winners returning a single figure price.
Using the wisdom of the crowds to narrow things down is often a reasonable ploy – if you think your 20/1 fancy should be 6/4 it is an extreme likelihood that you are wrong – so let’s go with that.
Sir Ron Priestley sits atop the ante post market for the race. He’s won three of four this term, but all in small fields and his defeat was a heavy one in a bigger field at Royal Ascot. As a horse that likes to lead he’ll do well to repel all challengers in the final quarter mile for all that he’s clearly thriving on his racing and improving for it.
John Gosden and Frankie Dettori team up around the handicap debutant, Kosciuszko – easy for you to say! Google informs me the horse might be named after a Polish military leader or it might be named after an Australian mountain, which was in fact named in honour of the aforementioned soldier Pole. Given that he’s a son of Australia, I’m going with the mountain.
After all that, it remains difficult to peg his level of ability, a mark of 91 not obviously being a gimme. Gosden’s 19% hit rate with ‘cap deb’s is highly creditable but so is it highly unprofitable. Those up in trip for their cap deb win more often and lose less money but it is still not the way to play this race, I don’t think… not that I’m presenting myself as in any way expert on the matter, you understand.
Hughie runs the progressive hat-trick-seeking Le Don De Vie. Not only has the son of Leroidesanimaux been progressive in performance, he has also stepped up in trip on each of his last two starts, from nine furlongs to ten furlongs and here up to twelve. He was a facile near-five length winner at Epsom last time, but that wasn’t missed by the handicapper, who has whacked him ten pounds up the scale.
Durston has won over nearly two miles and then over a mile and a half on soft ground, both more exacting stamina tests than he’s likely to face here. He’s quite well fancied but isn’t for me this time.
Geegeez jockey, David Probert, is atop another hat-trick seeker in Tribal Craft. This lass won by twenty – yes, twenty – lengths last time at Pontefract. That was a three-horse race over this trip and she’d previously won by three lengths in a bigger field novice stakes at Salisbury. That novice win has worked out quite well and she’s at the right end of the handicap.
My heart says Tribal Craft (14/1), but my head screams no bet!
3.00 Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes (Group 3, 5f, 2yo)
Ah, the relative security of a juvenile Group 3 after the guess ups of the first two races!
The top of the market has a strong look to it as the unbeaten-in-two American raider, Maven, locks horns with John Quinn’s three-from-four Liberty Beach. It is the second named who is favourite in the early lists, her easy win in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown considered the pick of the form on offer. She’s a pure speedball, as she showed in that Esher romp, and she can back that effort up with not one but two further pieces of rock solid form. On her second career start she won the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley, an effort she followed up with an excellent fourth to Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
If there is one potential chink in Liberty Beach’s armour, it is that her form has come on stiff tracks; this easy five may not entirely play to her strengths. If that is true, then step forward the Wes wunner, Maven. A winner by a thin margin in an Aqueduct maiden special weight, he was forced to abandon his tilt at the Norfolk due to the softening ground. Whilst it is not entirely inconceivable the same fate may befall him on Wednesday, the likelihood is that he’ll line up. Since that Ascot absence he’s taken in a Chantilly Group 3 where he made all on good to soft ground, just hanging on.
The stage is set, then, for Maven to bid to make all and Liberty Beach to attempt to mow him down. As simple as that? Well, not quite. There are eleven other juvies in the line up, all of them varying degrees of unexposed.
Clive Cox’s Hand On My Heart might be the most interesting of them. The daughter of Iffraaj made all on her Windsor debut (5f, good to firm) and she is entitled to take a notable step forward on her second outing. Naturally she will have to in this rarefied company.
One at a price worth a second glance is Show Me Show Me. The Richard Fahey-trained son of Showcasing has been beaten in three runs since a debut success. But… he was held up in a Chester race that didn’t pan out for him, was likewise seemingly unsuited by the turn at Pontefract behind Monoski next time before, reverting to a straight track, he ran a blistering second in the Weatherby’s Super Sprint at Newbury.
At 20/1+, it is worth taking a small place punt that a fast run straight track five is what he needs.
A fascinating race is in store, with all of Maven, Hand On My Heart, Raahy, Dr Simpson and Wheels On Fire likely to vie for the lead. Wesley Ward runners normally prove to be the ‘speed of the speed’ and some of those others’ chances may wilt in the heat of that perceived pace contention. Waited with, Maven having perhaps been softened up, will be the likes of Liberty Beach and Show Me Show Me (25/1). The former is no sort of price though she ought to finish best of all, and I’ll take a tiny tickle of the Fahey flyer on the ‘straight track pick up the pieces’ angle.
3.35 Qatar Sussex Stakes (Group 1, 1m, 3yo+)
An intriguing rather than necessarily tip top Sussex Stakes and, with eight declared, we might just get three each way places if the win market doesn’t appeal. The field is split down the middle between three-year-olds and older horses in a race which historically perennially went to the young guns. Indeed between 1999 and 2016, 12 of 18 winners emerged from the Classic clan. But three of the last four have been older horses, the most recent pair aged seven!
Where does that leave us? Ignoring age as a factor most likely… That said, closer inspection reveals that the twelve three-year-old winners since 1997 came from just 72 runners, with another 15 placing. That compares with ten winners from 100 runners for older horses (another 17 placing). The young ones still have an edge but it is not a terminal blow for mature horses.
One snippet is that all of those last 22 winners finished in the top three on their prior UK/Irish start. That’s a knock for the Irish 2000 Guineas winner, Phoenix Of Spain. He could fare no better than sixth in the St James’s Palace Stakes last time, behind both Circus Maximus and Too Darn Hot. Before that he’d been three lengths too good for Too Darn Hot at the Curragh so he may be better judged on that prior effort.
Circus Maximus is an improver. He ran an apparently middling race in the Derby, an effort that was sandwiched between victories in the Dee Stakes (1m2f) and at Royal Ascot. That most recent performance was at today’s mile trip with the promise of more to come. There is little between Circus and Phoenix on both Ascot and Doncaster (Vertem Futurity) running, with the verdict 1-1 going into the Sussex.
Too Darn Hot also falls into the collateral form mix, via all of the St James’s Palace, Irish 2000, and last year’s Champagne Stakes. He has something to prove this season and I remain unconvinced by a colt whose ‘redemption’ thus far consists of little more than a hollow victory in France. There he beat the (Group 3) Jersey Stakes runner-up and the seventh from the St James’s Palace. He beat them well, but he beat them over seven furlongs. Again, the stride boys have it that he’s not a strong stayer so, while this is an easy enough mile, he’s terribly short to beat horses who have beaten him earlier this term.
The older horses are represented by the last two winners of the Queen Anne Stakes, Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent. AA blotted his copybook last time when refusing to leave the stalls and, in spite of form credentials, that’s the sort of horse that simply cannot be wagered next time out unless you have access to in-running facilities and wait to see whether he jumps or not.
While there was no fluke about Lord Glitters‘ win last month, he got the perfect storm there: a quick pace over a straight mile and a field collapsing into his lap. This race is likely to be significantly more measured in tempo and I believe it will take a horse that can accelerate rather than stay on.
The most attractive of the older horses could be Zabeel Prince. Yes, he’s been duffed up in his last two starts – the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse – but prior to that he showed good form to win the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan over a mile at Longchamp. So, yes, that was another probably sub-standard French Group 1, but you need to be able to quicken to win them. It is his price that makes him reasonably appealing each way: 16/1 at his peak would be generous, but we have to buy into this setup enabling that peak performance.
Pace wise, it might be that one or both of Circus Maximus and Phoenix Of Spain look to go on. The likes of Too Darn Hot, Happy Power and Zabeel Prince will be in the stalking positions, with Lord Glitters, Accidental Agent and I Can Fly probably played late. In Jamie Spencer and Ryan Moore we have two jockeys who will not go bananas at the head of the peloton, so it may not pay to be too far back.
There is very little value to be had as far as I can see: the bookmakers know plenty about these guys and have priced it up accordingly. Even though I think Too Darn Hot is too darn short, he has his chance if seeing out the trip (he maybe just shaped like a non-stayer when not going through with his run in the St J P). I can see why Phoenix Of Spain is taking – presumably each way – support, as he looks like he’ll get first run; and Circus Maximus likewise will have a chance to back up his Ascot success. But the latter pair are about the right price.
Almost by default, I want to look at the ‘without’ market and back Zabeel Prince each way without either Phoenix or Circus. After all that, it’s going to be a no bet race, though, I fear.
4.10 Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (Class 2, 5f, 2yo)
A new race for two-year-old fillies, and one where most bring exposed form to the table. The pick of that form is Flippa The Strippa‘s Listed National Stakes win on her penultimate start. Since then she’s run respectably when eighth of 25, beaten just four lengths, in the Queen Mary. This easy five is ideal for her and she’ll handle ground either side of good.
Half a length in front of Flippa at Ascot was Mighty Spirit, a filly who has placed twice since including when she ought to have won at Beverley. She’s got plenty of ability but is now a five race maiden with resolution doubts for me.
Mrs Bouquet is appealing. She has a bit to find on the two mentioned previously but has won her last two, in handicap company, and is progressing nicely. She’s what might be termed the ‘now filly’, and has a bit more meat on her odds bone as well.
Archie Watson’s Electric Ladyland was very fast in early season but others seem to have progressed past her now. She’s not for me, while Daughter In Law has to bounce back from a flop in the Queen Mary. That’s possible of course and 9/1 is reasonable if you think she can do that and step forward half a stride. I remain unconvinced.
And give a little cheer for another geegeez jockey, Mitch Godwin, who rides Glamorous Anna here. Mitch has had a very tough time, battling depression last year, but has turned a corner in 2019 with a new role at Harry Dunlop’s and becoming a father last month. This filly, trained by Carl Mason, may not be quite up to the grade, but I’m thrilled to see Mitch on the big stage. He’s a good lad and a decent rider when given the opportunity.
Overall, it’ll be no surprise to see Flippa The Strippa revert to winning ways: she ran well at Ascot and is a Pattern race winner over five already. But at almost twice the price, MRS BOUQUET (4/1) is worth a go. On the hat-trick here, she represents Mark Johnston whose love for Goodwood is well known. It could just be a winning combination.
4.45 British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap (Class 2, 1m 1f 197yds, 3yo+)
Sorry, too difficult. Lots of unexposed fillies, and I don’t have a close enough handle on the speed figures to differentiate between them. I’ll be cheering David Probert and 8/1 Ocala, but I don’t know if she’s the best or even the best value filly in the field.
5.55 New & Lingwood Handicap (Class 3, 7f, 3yo+)
The IV3 chart and draw/pace heat map below tell plenty about where to focus – or rather where not to focus – in this twenty runner dust up.
Quite simply, it is VERY difficult to win in bumper fields from a high draw, regardless of run style. Even making the frame can be considered success, as can be seen from the red bar above. Low to middle and front rank, or low with any run style, offers the best chance of a placed effort.
Dirty Rascal (16/1) has stall one, a prominent racing style, a light weight and consistent form in the grade and at the trip. The Hannon/Marquand axis is a potent one, too, and this fellow ought to be thereabouts again, though he does find winning difficult.
Frankie Dettori may be able to steer Lyndon B (6/1) into contention: he’s drawn four, has decent maiden form in big fields, is a last time out winner (on handicap debut), and can go forward.
Another dozen or so more with chances, but in a race not obviously awash with pace, the above two against the field is how I’m rolling.
It’s a day when I don’t have a strong opinion so let’s hope we’re lucky as well as maybe a bit good…!