The ground had dried out to good to soft in places at Goodwood ahead of Wednesday’s card and there is no rain forecast for today although much the same was said on Monday before they had an overnight deluge. I am basing my thoughts for Thursday on good to soft ground.
The opening 10f handicap for three-year-olds used to be one of my favourite handicaps of the year and only two winners in the last decade have carried more than 9st 1lb.
King Frankel will appreciate this terrain more than Newmarket’s rattling fast July course and he wouldn’t be the first Mark Johnston horse to go from last to first in two starts. He is closely matched with Patient Dream (1.50) on Epsom running from Derby Day, but I hope to see the Ralph Beckett horse reverse the form. The 13/2 with William Hill 4 places looks a fair each way price.
The stable had a double here on Tuesday and connections have booked excellent apprentice Ray Dawson although it is possible, he may have to put up a couple of pounds of overweight given the jockey’s lowest weight in the last 12 months is 7st 13lbs. The selection is due to shoulder just 8st minus Dawson’s 3lbs claim. Alfaadhel was bitterly disappointing at Royal Ascot last time, but the drying ground is a plus and he represents a big danger.
Alan King saddled his first Gp 1 winner courtesy of Trueshan on Tuesday and I would be disappointed if Asymmetric (2.25) did not land the 6f Group 2 Richmond Stakes for two-year-olds having lost nothing in defeat when going down by just a head in the July Stakes at Newmarket earlier in the month. The recommendation is 5/2 with 10Bet.
The selection is drawn in stall seven – of 7 – next to the stands’ rail and that is a slight concern given he was held up out the back by Martin Harley on the July course before switching into the middle of the track which we now know may have been an advantage. Harley must decide whether he takes his son of Showcasing back or whether he stays on the rail and waits for the gaps to appear. The unbeaten Gubass looks the main danger although he steps up to 6f for the first time having landed a gamble in the Super Sprint at Newbury last time.
We haven’t seen Third Realm (3.00) since he finished fifth to the brilliant Adayar in the Derby at the beginning of June and the prospect of easier ground today is a positive given he had finished in front of the classic winner in the Lingfield Derby trial previously on good to soft ground. The selection – 9/4 from 4s with BetVictor – was briefly short of room and done for a turn of foot two out at Epsom but stayed on all the way to the line and comes here fresher than most.
Wordsworth has had to play second fiddle to Godolphin runners in his last three starts but he has looked more of a stayer to me. The final classic of the season at Doncaster in September is surely what Aidan O’Brien is working back from.
The classic generation have won seven of the last nine renewals of the Group 1 Nassau Stakes and I feel the Prix de Diane winner Joan Of Arc (3.35) can give Aidan O’Brien a third winner in the race in the last six years. The classic generation receive 9lbs weight-for-age from their elders and O’Brien should know where he stands with market leader Audarya who finished second to Ballydoyle’s Love at Royal Ascot last month. That form has taken a couple of knocks subsequently and the selection improved for the step up to 10f last time. The selection is 5/2 with Boylesports.
Lady Bowthorpe – whose owner Emma Banks is the darling of the racing media because she is a music agent – looked ready for a step up to this trip when finishing with a rare old rattle in the Falmouth Stakes over a mile last time. By Nathaniel she is certainly worth a try at the trip, but I just favour the French Oaks winner.
At Nottingham I hope to see Dartington (3.45) more amenable to restraint than was the case at Leicester on his reappearance when he pulled too hard but was still beaten less than 2L by a progressive 3-y-old who is now rated 7lbs higher in the weights. The 4-y-old – who was gelded over the winter – would like a strongly run race but that is not guaranteed given there is no confirmed front runner in the field. If there is no pace I wonder if Jason Watson will go forward from a good draw. The selection is 3s with Mansion Bet.
The Bees Knees (1.00) is not yet the most fluent of jumpers, but I thought he would have gone very close but for one serious error at Newton Abbot last time and he can go one better dropped slightly in trip from a 2lbs lower mark in the Stratford opener. The 3s with Boylesports looks attractive.
My two against the field in the Galway Hurdle are Winner Takes Itall and Belfast Banter (6.15) with the each way vote going to the County Hurdle/Aintree Grade 1 winning novice from the spring. The selection finished runner up in a Novice Hurdle over 2m 4f at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago but has improved in leaps and bounds since. This has been the plan since Aintree and the 8s with BetVictor 5 places looks fair.