One of the season’s most exciting race meet is set to begin at “Glorious Goodwood” tomorrow.  The racetrack is renowned as a graveyard for favourites so punters will have to walk very carefully indeed for the next 5 days.  The sprint course is downhill all the way and the fastest in the Country.  Any hesitation at the start is usually disastrous.

The track itself is a switchback right handed mirror image of Epsom with a most uncomfortable downhill turn into the straight.  The straight six furlong sprint course forms the base for a triangular right-handed loop circuit.  Essentially, Goodwood is a sharp track favouring the handy, active, fluent moving horse rather than the big far striding sort.  A peculiar quirk of the track however is that it appears that many more winners seem to come from off the pace than up with it which is strange for such a sharp track with such a premium on speed.  The going is likely to be GOOD.

Trainers to note include PETER CHAPPLE-HYAM with 4 winners from 13 juvenile entries over the past 10 years.  In the Listed/Pattern races, Mark Johnston and Sir Michael Stoute have very good strike rates.  Among the jockeys, young RYAN MOORE came into his own here last year and is a cracking bet to be the Meeting’s Champion Jockey.

Remember, leave the favourites severely alone this week.


Tuesday’s feature is the Gordon Stakes, a Group 3 event for 3yos over 12 furlongs.  Epsom Derby third Masterofthehorse will be a warm order at the betting windows here but he was since sold privately out of the Aidan O’Brien yard; now trained by Debbie Mountain; and flopped in the Irish Derby when 16 lengths 4th to Fame and Glory.  A lot will depend on whether he’s in the same form as at Epsom and, at a short price around a weird circuit like this, he is to be given a huge swerve.

The two improvers in the race include Sir Michael Stoute’s Harbinger who stepped up on his debut promise by winning a 10f maiden at Chester impressively.  However, he has suffered a pulled muscle since and is coming to Goodwood very inexperienced indeed for all that he has won at another sharp, quirky track (albeit a left handed one) like Chester.  He has been very patiently brought around by his great trainer and cannot be ignored but, coming from the Big Stable, his price is likely to be shorter than it deserves to be so I am confidently expecting the winner to be Richard Fahey trained FIREBET, who has often looked like a Group Horse in waiting in winning his last three races (second other two) of five run this season.  He could not have been more impressive on last, powering through final furlong to win a valuable event at Newmarket by over a length from another potential Group Horse in Roman Republic with yet another Pattern performer in waiting, Class is Class (trained by Sir Michael Stoute) in third.  He has won at Chester as a two year old and finished a close second At Ripon (right handed, sharp track) this year so he should have no problem with Goodwood.

Take FIREBET as the value bet of the race.

In the Group 2 Lennox Stakes (Betfair Cup) for 3yo+ over 7f, the 4yo Main Aim from the Stoute camp will be all the rage but he has been burdened with a very poor draw over a course where the draw is vital (high numbers much the best) and has always given me the strong impression that he wants cut in the ground.  The going will be good but there is no rain about and it will be a fastish good rather than a softish good.  He did not seem inconvenienced by top of the ground when finishing a good second in the Group 1 July Cup (tried to make all) at Newmarket but I for one was not entirely convinced.

This is just the sort of favourite that regularly bites the dust at Glorious Good wood and is my LAY OF THE DAY.

The South African entry, 5yo J. J’s Jet Plane has also come in for some hype as he was a close third in the July Cup, sticking on inside the last as if wanting a step up in trip.  He has won at 7f in the past but then his excellent Trainer returned him to 6f and has kept him to sprints for two seasons now.  Everything in his form suggests that he is best at 5f/6f and he has also been handed a very bad draw.  He’s no value with all these queries surrounding his name.

The two to concentrate on are both 3yos and drawn best of all.  They are the Jersey Stakes winner Ouqba (very strong in the finish in that race) and my idea of the winner, FINJAAN (nap) who will be perfectly suited by this track (a leggy, close-coupled colt with a quick action who won the Molecomb Stakes here as a 2yo); who is the freshest in the field with only one start this year (9th in the 2000 Guineas) and whose stable, after a quiet spell, has shown signs of a revival only yesterday winning a Pattern Race in Germany.  FINJAAN has twice raced against Ouqba, first as 2yos in the Group 1 Dewhurst (FINJAAN, 3rd by two noses; Ouqba, 9th by 8 lengths) and then in the 2000 Guineas (FINJAAN, suspect at the trip, 8½ lengths 9th; Ouqba, better suited by a mile and supplemented for the race, 10 ¾ lengths 11th).  The progress showed by Ouqba in coming back to win the Group 3 Jersey just shows what we can expect from FINJAAN today.  Get in early and often!!!


The Day 2 Feature is the Group 1 Sussex Stakes (3:25) over 1 mile for 3yo+.  The favourite has won the last two renewals and 3 of the last four but, previously, the favourite won one of six and had lost five in a row.  Be careful here!  The 1000 Guineas winner, Ghanaati, will be long odds-on and she has won two from two this year both Group 1s (the Coronation Stakes being the other) but both were fillies only races.  Only Soviet Song as a filly has won this race in the last ten years and she was a four year old.  This price is just not right and she will be trying the odd undulations of Goodwood for the first time.  The obvious alternative is Rip Van Winkle but he seems to be taking forever to learn his trade and is probably best at 10f.  However, he will have several teammates to ensure a strong gallop.  The one I like is PACO BOY who removed all doubt that he was a top class miler at Royal Ascot winning the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and finished a creditable fourth in the July Stakes brought back to sprinting.  He is the solid proven Group 1 winner with everything in his favour and he will be the longest priced of the three principals.  Why not PACO BOY?

My p;ersonal favourite race of the entire meet is the Group 2 Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes (used to be the Lanson Champagne Stakes when I fell in love with it) for 2yos over 7f and, this year, my cash will be on the BANKER BET OF THE MEETING, Godolphin’s CHAPERNO who got off the mark in great style at York on last when getting faster ground.  He could have been called the winner a long way out and the manner of his victory suggests that this step up in Grade will not be a bother.


Saturday’s Feature is the Group 1 Nassau Stakes for 3yo+ fillies and mares over 10f (3:10 p.m.)

The Oaks form is represented by Midday (second) but she is not a good thing to relish this step back in trip over this unique track so this is a golden opportunity for the so-far disappointing RAINBOW VIEW to open her seasonal account over an ideal trip.

Good Luck!



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