BeforeTheOff – Goodwood Prestige Stakes
The daughter of Teofilo was an impressive winner on her debut at Catterick in May where she beat Glenrowan Rose, who’s proved to be a tough filly in her own right. Despite having had just one previous run, Fireglow went to Royal Ascot for the Group 3 Albany Stakes. She showed her inexperience that day but still ran a very respectable five-length fourth to Illuminate.
The two-year-old was soon back in the winner’s enclosure next time out in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown Park in July and showed a rapid turn of foot to romp to victory by two-and-a-quarter lengths under William Buick. Fireglow’s last start came in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month and she travelled smoothly that day but had to play bridesmaid to the Brian Meehan-trained Blue Bayou, who is currently a 20/1 shot for next year’s 1000 Guineas. Franny Norton takes the reins on Fireglow and the Liverpool-born jockey knows his way around Goodwood as he boasts a 16% strike-rate at the course, better than any other jockey in the race.
Mick Channon trained Malabar to victory in this race last season and the former England international footballer saddles EPSOM ICON as he bids to land back-to-back Prestiges. The daughter of Sixties Icon finished a modest ninth on her racecourse debut at Newbury but displayed vast improvement to win on her next start at Epsom. Channon’s filly subsequently ran in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury two weeks ago and, despite being the biggest price horse in the betting, Graham Lee gave the filly a masterful ride to win the race by a length. Epsom Icon is clearly a filly on an upward curve and she has to be respected.
Hugo Palmer has had a highly successful season, topped by Covert Love’s Irish Oaks victory, and HAWKSMOOR looks to have a decent chance. The daughter of Dutch Art made her debut at Kempton last month and broke her duck with the minimal amount of fuss.
Hawksmoor was bumped at the start that day and that can often take effect on young horses but she showed a resilient attitude to bounce back from the incident before displaying a very smart turn of foot to win easily by three-and-a-half lengths. She finished sixth of seven in the Sweet Solera on just her second start behind Fireglow; however, she was just one-and-a-half lengths behind Johnston’s runner. Given she’s had another run, there’s no doubt that Hawksmoor should again improve.
Pat Dobbs takes the ride on BELVOIR BAY for the Richard Hannon yard which suggests that she has a better chance than LIGHT UP OUR WORLD. Belvoir Bay has had four runs and she looks a decent sort. The daughter of Equiano cruised to victory at the second time of asking at Windsor and then ran a fair three-length sixth in the Super Sprint at Newbury in July. Belvoir Bay has a distinct advantage over her rivals having won a nursery at Goodwood last time out and that course experience could prove key.
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