Glorious Goodwood is one of the highlights of the flat season and the five-day meeting begins on ground that was described as good – good to soft in places – on Monday morning. There was the possibility of light rain on Monday evening but that is the last of the forecast rain with temperatures set to soar later in the week.
The classic generation have won the four renewals of the opening fillies’ handicap over a mile and my two against the field are both three-year-olds Wasaayef and Tomorrow’s Dream (1.10) with marginal preference for the William Haggas-trained filly who has been raised 3lbs for finishing runner up at Newbury last time. I felt she would have won with a clear passage on that occasion and Tom Marquand, who was in the saddle when she scored at Chepstow on her penultimate outing, takes over in the plate. The selection has not been overlooked in the market and is 3/1 with William Hill who are betting each way 4 places.
Wasaayef just failed to give 6lbs to Queen Daenerys at Newmarket on her final start as a juvenile and that filly is now rated 103. With that in mind John Gosden’s filly, who makes a belated seasonal reappearance today, could be well treated although she may will get another couple of furlongs in time.
I hate to desert Cape Cavalli in the following 10f handicap but a draw in stall 17 is likely to make things very difficult for Simon Crisford’s progressive four-year-old who was so impressive at York last time from an 8lbs lower mark. The excellent Cieren Fallon takes off a valuable 3lbs but that draw is a big concern.
My two against the field however are top-weight Walkinthesand – 16/1 with William Hill 6 places – and Fifth Position (1.45) with preference for the latter who is blinkered for the first time having finished third in the John Smith’s Cup last time at York. His draw in stall 10 is moderate but I have thought he was potentially group class since he beat Space Blues at Nottingham on his second start last year. The ew selection is 11/1 with bet365 and that looks too big.
The Lennox Stakes (2.45) is a tremendous race and the form of the aforementioned Space Blues recent Longchamp win was given a boost by the runner up stablemate D’bai who was a ready winner at Haydock earlier in the month and he opposes today. Space Blues must go close but a draw in stall 10 – of 13 – is a concern and I hope to see duel winner of the race Sir Dancealot (2.45) land the hat-trick for David Elsworth.
This is, arguably, a better renewal of this prestigious Group 2 contest than the last couple of years, but Sir Dancealot clearly loves the track, is well drawn and the drying ground is in his favour. He was posted out wide with no cover in the July Cup last time, but this is his track and trip. The ew selection is 13/2 with Unibet.
Stradivarius was visually very impressive in the Ascot Gold Cup last time but I’m not convinced the champion stayer beat a great deal – second favourite suffered a career ending injury – and I think he will do well to give 15lbs and a beating to the recent Irish Derby winner Santiago (3.20) in the feature Group 1 Goodwood Cup. Nayef Road will appreciate this better ground over two miles, but it is hard to see him reverse Gold Cup form with Stradivarius.
Stradivarius has won this corresponding race for the last three years and was the last three-year-old to win this contest, but Santiago was an impressive winner of the Queen’s Vase prior to his classic success and I think he can serve it up to the brilliant Stradivarius at the weights. The 11/4 with bet365 on Monday morning looked generous for the Ballydoyle colt and it will be interesting to see if “the lads” get involved in the 5/2 currently on offer with Boylesports.
I like backing three-year-olds against their elders at this time of the year and at Yarmouth I hope to see Kimberley (5.00) make a winning handicap debut for James Fanshawe. The selection was no match for Godolphin’s First Winter at Windsor last time on her first start at 10f, but I felt she ran a very promising race and may even get further than a mile-and-a-quarter in time. The 11/2 with bet365 looks a very fair ew price. The favourite Awesomedude is the one to beat but he has to prove as effective on turf as he is on polytrack.
Dermot Weld’s love affair with Galway is widely documented and I hope to see Mostaqqer (5.15) make it third time lucky in this evening’s 7f maiden. The selection finished runner up at Roscommon last time and might have been an unlucky loser as the gap never opened in time for Oisin Orr.
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