The ground was described as soft with good to soft places at Goodwood after over 30mls of rain on Sunday ahead of their five-day Glorious meeting. A dry day was forecast for Monday but there is the likelihood of pockets of further rain on Tuesday. There is no rain forecast after Tuesday and the ground may well be good by the end of the week.
Maydanny has long been my fancy for the opening 10f handicap despite being 12lbs higher in the weights than when readily justifying 5/1 favouritism in the corresponding race 12 months ago. He ran a terrific race when runner up in a competitive handicap over a mile at Sandown last time and he can race from a mark 1lb lower today. He has an excellent draw in stall five, but his best form is, undoubtedly, on better ground.
Marginal preference goes to Migration (1.50) who went into many a notebook when a close fourth at Salisbury coming back from a 641 day lay-off. He was taken out of a recent race at Newmarket on account of the fast ground, but he has never raced on soft ground. He is drawn out on the wing in stall 14 but he is a hold up performer and is likely to make his challenge late under Oisin Murphy. The ew recommendation is 6s with Boylesports 5 places.
John Smith’s Cup winner Johnny Drama is only 5lbs higher than when scoring at York, but he would prefer a sounder surface and of those at bigger prices I feel Victory Chime – the outsider of the whole field at 25/1 with BetVictor – might be worth more than a second glance.
Space Blues (3.00) is one of my favourite horses in training and his record over 7f reads 11221111 – he is hard to oppose in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes a race he won 12 months ago. He was drawn in stall 10 last year and is out in stall 12 this afternoon, but he is likely to make his challenge out wide and should get an uninterrupted passage. He was 9/4 at the time of writing but is a best price of 2s with William Hill at the time of posting. He is the one to beat but I will be also backing one each way and in the market without the Godolphin runner.
Safe Voyage was beaten 3L in the corresponding race 12 months ago but that doesn’t tell the whole story as he was constantly denied a clear run. It would be no surprise if Jason Hart tried to dictate his own fractions from stall three having bounced back to his best form when making all at Chester last time. The forecast soft ground is a big plus for the northern raider. The 7s with William Hill 4 places looks an attractive alternative.
Stradivarius (3.35) got Frankie Dettori out of trouble on a couple of occasions last season, but their luck ran out in the Ascot Gold Cup last time with the Italian sitting too far out of his ground irrespective of meeting interference at a crucial stage of the race. The Italian owes the horse a good ride and he is taken to land a fifth Goodwood Cup.
The ground is likely to be softer than ideal for the selection but Goodwood soft/good to soft ground should not be as testing as Ascot soft when the selection was well beaten by Trueshan on Champions Day back in October.
The facile Gold Cup win of Stradivarius – albeit against a desperate field – in 2020 showed the 7-y-old copes well enough with soft ground. I don’t expect Dettori to be too far back on Stradivarius with his recent loss still fresh in the memory. The star stayer is 7/4 with BetVictor.
Good ground at Worcester for tonight’s jumping although they, too, have the prospect of further showers on raceday. Ellios D’Or (6.05) wouldn’t want too much rain but I was hugely impressed with his recent success and would be disappointed if a 7lbs higher mark prevented him from landing the hat-trick of wins over this evening’s C&D. Harry Cobden – who gave Storm Home such a fabulous ride at Uttoxeter on Sunday – was in the saddle last time and he keeps the ride. The 6/4 with William Hill looks fair.
Pillar Of Steel is another chasing a hat-trick, but I think the mare may have to give best to Dorking Rogue (8.35) who ran his best race yet when splitting the progressive pair Castel Gandolfo and Wasdell Dundalk here last month. The 5-y-old is open to further improvement having had just six career starts and just a couple for his current yard who I have plenty of time for.
At Perth Pardon Me is likely to be all the rage for the 2m 4f handicap chase but I’m still not convinced her jumping is all it could be over the larger obstacles, and I hope the 11-y-old Acdc (8.25) can run a big race from the front for Chris Grant who has yet to saddle a winner this current season albeit from just 17 runners.
I thought the selection jumped very well when trying to make all at Newcastle over the minimum trip when last seen back in March. He has run well following a break in the past and this intermediate 2m 4f distance looks ideal.