The Festival got off to a good start yesterday, remarkably unhindered by its new monicker of the ‘Qatar Goodwood Festival’ as part of a whopping £4.5m 10-year sponsorship deal.
The blog got two things right and many more things wrong. In my favour, the weather held up nicely and the winning times suggested the ground was near enough good going; and secondly, with copper-bottomed reliability, Mark Johnston’s stable landed the big handicap. On the other hand, I backed his other one in that race who remains unsighted still; and then the one race in which I had very little faith turned up my only winner.
So a small profit of +4 points from 7 points staked. Inland Sea at a backed price of 10/1 accounts entirely for the profit. Had the SP of 4/1 been taken I would be looking at a small loss.
Ibn Malik ran with great credit for 2nd in the Vintage Stakes, without ever getting to the winner. Volunteer Point was a bit unlucky in running. The rest disappeared with out a trace.
Star of the day was Toormore, who made up for his odds-on defeat last year with a commanding performance. He won the Vintage Stakes here two years ago when ridden by Richard Hughes. Now owned by Godolphin and ridden by James Doyle, it leaves Hughes searching for another Goodwood winner before he departs the saddle forever at the end of this meeting.
Wednesday’s card is one of the best of the week. Surely I can grasp a few straws and turn this into a more substantial profit. Surely.
2.00 – 2m5f Goodwood Stakes handicap
A puzzle of a staying handicap to kick off day 2. The market is headed by the upwardly mobile profiles of Air Squadron, Wordiness, William Of Orange and Gavlar who are all unproven at this marathon trip. Sticking with a simple approach, and eschewing my usual instincts to go with the progressives, I’m going to war with Teak, who is a course and distance winner, has run well this season (despite an odd mid-season return to hurdles) and will like the drying ground. 12/1.
2.35 – 1m4f Gordon Stakes
The stand out piece of form is Highland Reel’s 2nd behind New Bay in Chantilly. But that was over a shorter trip and it is the best this beast has produced by some way. So I’m happy to resist the 2/1 on offer for the Ballydoyle hope. Disegno is looking for a step up in trip and was better than his 4th in the Tercentenary at Ascot last month when baulked at least three times. Ground needs to dry up a fraction more for him to be at his best, but I’m happy with 6/1.
3.10 – 1m Sussex Stakes
Becomes the 6th million pound race in the British flat calendar, following the cash injection by Qatar. I hope the deal was more transparent that the awarding of the 2022 World Cup. The market looks transparent here with only short odds available about Solow after his handsome win in the Queen Anne at Ascot. The latest in a string of top notch results. I won’t be taking that skinny offering though, on principal. Arod also looked quality at Ascot. That was in a Group 2, but he’s still improving and at 7/1 I’ll take him in case Solow has an off-day.
3.45 – 5f Molcomb Stakes
In terms of a betting heat, this is a little like the Sussex Stakes. King Of Rooks deserves to be a short priced favourite after his Sandown debut win. However, though he was undoubtedly made too much use of at Ascot, the suspicion remains that he folded a fraction too quickly. Ridden with more restraint he could be hard to beat, but I’m taking a chance with Lathom from the Richard Fahey yard. The horse is on the upgrade (if the Windsor Castle form is discarded where he was swamped) and 15/2 is good enough for me.
4.20 – 6f maiden fillies stakes
Very little to go on. Tentative support for Love On The Rocks, saddled by Charles Hills who remains in good form. This one ran well on debut and is now tried in a hood to elicit a bit more concentration. 10/1.
4.55 – 1m1f Veuve Cliquot Fillies Stakes handicap
Edge Of Heaven is 3 from 3 this season at around this trip. All ground seems to come alike and at 10/1 has a good chance of being in the mix in an open heat.
5.30 – 7f Nat West Stakes handicap
Amanda Perrett is trying everything with Saucy Minx: blinkers, hood and jockey claiming 5lb. But it may be the return to Goodwood that has most effect. 3 from 7 here, but much less effective elsewhere. Likes this trip and ground should be no problem. 16/1 e-w.