The opening mile-and-a-half handicap at Goodwood on Day 2 for three-year-olds is a cracker and Secret State is 7lbs higher than when winning the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Charlie Appleby-trained colt has won three of his four starts and the only horse to beat him is the unbeaten Francesco Clemente who is one of the most exciting horses in training.
He is a worthy market leader, well drawn but he is a top price, at the time of writing, of just 9/4 and that looks a bit skinny despite his progressive profile. His entries in the Gt Voltigeur at York next month and the St Leger the following month suggest he is highly regarded by connections.
Inverness is 9lbs better off with Secret State for the 4lbs he was behind that rival at Royal Ascot when posted wide and he appeared not to stay an additional quarter of a mile last time. He has a ground saving draw in stall 1 today and he was impressive when winning his maiden here over a mile back in September. The 20/1 with Bet365 and William Hill looks big
SOULCOMBE was not overly impressive at Ascot last time but that run was only 8 days after a visually smart performance when dotting up in first time blinkers at Haydock at the end of June. He has been raised 13lbs for those two wins and I remember the glint in Tom Marquand’s eye when interviewed on Racing TV after that initial success.
Marquand can’t do 8st 4lbs and Cieren Fallon – who was in the plate at Ascot – keeps the ride. He gets the each way nod in receipt of 19lbs from Secret State.
Recommendation: Soulcombe EW at 11/2 with Boylesports
The PLATINUM QUEEN has won two of her three career starts and I think connections have found another excellent opportunity to land the hat-trick in the 5f Conditions event.
Richard Fahey’s filly is well drawn near the stands’ rail for one who likes to race prominently, and I thought she looked smart when scoring under a penalty at York last time despite being a tad keen in the early part of the race. If she can get to the stands’ rail, then I will be disappointed if she is pegged back over this sharp five furlongs.
The once-raced Cruise finished fourth at Newmarket over 6f and she might improve for the drop back to the minimum distance having pulled too hard on debut.
Recommendation: The Platinum Queen at 6/4 with William Hill
The last British winner of the Galway Plate was the Paul Nicholls’ trained Oslot in the famous colours of the late Andy Stewart back in 2008. There is just the one British challenger in the 20-strong field this evening, but I do expect to see a big run from EXELERATOR EXPRESS who is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time.
The each way selection was always on the back foot after a mid-air collision at the first at Perth in their Gold Cup last time and he is 2lbs lower tonight. He stays further than this extended 2m 6f trip which will suit as it looks sure to be a searching gallop. I would not want Sam Twiston-Davies to get too far back on the selection who has finished in the first three in ten of his fourteen chase starts. At 33/1 across the board, he gets the each way nod.
Of the more fancied runners I have always thought there was a big race in Gabynako, and I was impressed with the Kilbeggan Midlands National win of Hurricane Georgie last time although a 12lbs rise looks overzealous given it may not have been the most competitive of heats.
Recommendation: Exelerator Express EW at 33/1 with 10Bet 6 places
Patrick Mullins showed once again that he is peerless in the amateur jockeys’ ranks when he steered Echoes In Rain home from the worst of the draw in the valuable two-mile handicap at Ballybrit on Monday.
He has once again been given a poor draw to overcome on HALLOWED STAR in this evening’s 12f maiden – a race in has a tremendous record in – but I think the combination will be up to the task. One would imagine Mullins would have had a difficult decision to make given he is likely to have been offered the ride on market rival Merlin Giant and Thousand Tears for Uncle Emmet, but he has plumped for Shark Hanlon’s 7-year-old who won a handicap hurdle at the corresponding meeting last year.
The selection was slowly into stride when runner up on his last start over 1of and today’s step up in trip will suit as will the forecast soft ground.
The fancied runners all appear to be drawn out wide, but I hope to see Mullins gain a sixth successive win in the race and an eighth success in the last eleven years of this prestigious maiden.
Recommendation: Hallowed Star at 3/1 with Boylesports
Mercurius Power carries a 5lbs penalty for scoring over C&D last week but that is negated by the claim of leading conditional Callum Hutchinson for Andrew Balding. That race may not have been the strongest ever staged at the track with the front runners cutting each others throat.
The vote goes to ALDHAJA who may not have got home over an additional couple of furlongs here last time but travelled well to the distance and also ran well when second to Vee Star – runs tomorrow – over nine furlongs on his penultimate start. The return to a mile will suit and he is likely to go forward from stall one although City Runner also likes to race prominently, and I wouldn’t want Kieran Shoemark to get embroiled in a battle for the lead.
Recommendation: Aldhaja at 5/2 with William Hill
Andrea Atzenigoes from Goodwood on Tuesday to take three rides at Redcar this afternoon two for his retained owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. The other is Pont Lynas who is market leader for themile handicap forEd Bethell, but I hope he helps set the race up for MILLION THANKS who should have the race run to suit.
The selection failed to get home at Carlisle over an additional furlong last time, but he travelled like the best horse in the race, and he is taken to swoop fast and late. He has a high head carriage and may not be the heartiest of battlers, but he remains potentially well handicapped. If he wants to remain a colt, I suggest he puts his best hoof forward this afternoon.
Recommendation: Million Thanks at 9/2 with William Hill