Good ground for today’s feature card at Goodwood and the racecourse has seen fit to water with the prospect of another dry day in Sussex.
The 7f handicap is a terrific contest and Aratus (2.25) did us a big favour at Doncaster last time and I hope to see him continue his progression for Clive Cox. David Egan takes over in the saddle with regular pilot Adam Kirby unable to do 8st 7lbs – his minimum weight this year is 9st – and the three-year-old colt receives a valuable 5lbs weight-for-age from his elders. The selection – 11/4 with Boylesports – has the seemingly plum draw in stall one, but he may need luck in running as he is a hold up performer and this is a step up in grade from his fluent recent successes.
Cox also saddles Dance Fever but a bigger danger to the selection might come from Al Rufaa who makes a belated seasonal reappearance and has been gelded since his last start.
Benbatl (3.35) is a seven-year-old entire making his seasonal reappearance, but he has a good record fresh, and, in his pomp, he was a different class to the rest of the field in the Gp 2 Celebration Mile. The 5/2 on Friday evening looks fair.
I appreciate this trip is slightly short of his best, but Oisin Murphy is likely to make it a true test although he does not have to lead and Mutasaabeq and Pogo have led in the past. Chindit receives 6lbs from the selection and is considered the main danger dropping in grade having contested Group 1 races in his last three starts.
General Lee (4.10) has been dropped a pound for finishing third on ground softer than ideal at Windsor last time and he can return to winning ways back on a sound surface. He beat a subsequent winner when landing his maiden on his penultimate start and it should be noted that was the only time he has raced beyond a mile on decent ground.
Today’s extended 9f should be ideal and we know he handles the track as he only went down by a nose here back in May. I thought the 5/1 available on Friday morning with William Hill was too big and the 7/2 with 10Bet is about right,
Dancing Harry – runs 4.00 Newmarket – landed the weekend nap three weeks ago and he first came to my attention when he beat Snowalot (4.45) at Sandown last month. The latter can return to winning ways despite being 3lbs higher in the weights today.
The selection – 2s from 5/2 with MansionBet – was slowly away last time and cannot afford such a luxury this afternoon, but he looked an unlucky loser at the Esher track when he was denied a run two out and had to make his challenge out wide. I hope to see Daniel Muscott get James Ferguson’s 4-y-old into a decent early position from a good draw in stall three.
I am surprised Richard Hannon has declared Fancy Man for Windsor’s feature the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes as I am convinced he needs plenty of cut to be seen at his best. Bangkok is penalised 5lbs for his win in the York Stakes last time and Solid Stone is fitted with cheekpieces as he steps back up in trip.
The outsider of the four-runner field is Harrovian (6.30), but I was impressed with his second at Doncaster last time in a very good handicap giving 10lbs to Good Birthday who had won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar earlier in the season – a race that has worked out very well albeit in handicap company. There was a double figure price earlier in the week vut the 13/2 at MansionBet is fair.
At Newmarket I am sweet on the chance of Bague D’Or (4.30) who got going too late over 10f when runner up at Doncaster last time giving every indication, he would appreciate a step up to 12f. The winner and third in that race in south Yorkshire have franked the form and Chris Wall has booked Andrea Atzeni for the ride with regular pilot Jack Mitchell on duty at Goodwood. The 9/4 with 10Bet is fair.
Atzeni also takes the mount on Cambridgeshire (5.05) who looked ready for a step up in trip when third over a mile on her handicap debut for Martyn Meade. There is plenty of speed on the distaff side of her pedigree, but she is a daughter of Galileo and looked ready for a step up to ten furlongs at Nottingham. The recommendation is 4s with Boylesports.