Glorious Goodwood, Thursday Preview
2:05 – Fairmont Stakes (Handicap) 1¼m
It’s a little galling to see Rainbow Rock in here as he was a horse I’d planned to follow blind in handicaps this summer, but while he clicked in style at Beverley last time, his chance isn’t obvious from out of the weights in a much stronger race, even with a penalty. He’ll prove up to this task in time, but I’d have preferred him to take more obvious stepping stones. Preference instead is for Amanda Perrett’s Astronereus, who improved from debut when runner-up over C&D in June, and took a marked step forward when storming away with a Newmarket maiden on his latest start. That came on softish ground, but it would be dangerous to attribute the improvement to the going, and he simply looks to be progressing rapidly with each run. The handicapper has not been at all harsh with an opening mark of 87. It’s worth noting that he’s a Sea The Stars half-brother to Prix du Jockey Club winner Le Havre, and still holds a classic entry in the St Leger.
2:35 – Qatar Bloodstock Richmond Stakes (Group 2) 6f
Ivawood looks the one to beat after blitzing his rivals in the July Stakes at Newmarket, but his odds are naturally cramped as a result, and it may need punters to nail the forecast to get much in the way of value. The obvious one for the exacta is Newmarket runner-up Jungle Cat, who many will pass over for win purposes given he’s so obviously held, but he won his maiden at this track, and has also been placed in the Coventry Stakes, so remains of interest at minor pattern level. With punters perhaps looking elsewhere for the value, the obvious forecast could well pay 4/1 or bigger, and that strikes me as a solid wager.
Selection: Ivawood/Jungle Cat Forecast
3:10 – Artemis Goodwood Cup (Group 2) 2m
The key to Estimate is a test of stamina and fast ground, as she’s shown when winning the Queen’s Vase and Gold Cup at Ascot in previous years. Her latest second in the latter contest is shrouded in controversy, but only a fool would suggest she wasn’t running strictly on her own merits, and she can beat Brown Panther provided this doesn’t become too tactical. Seamus Buckley will again water heavily, but incessant sun and warm temperatures soon see most of that moisture lost, and the ground will be pretty quick by the time of this contest. Brown Panther won this a year ago, and had Estimate behind when taking the Henry II Stakes earlier this season. The latter was using that as a prep, however, whereas Brown Panther was fresh from a win in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester. He found the trip beyond him at Ascot, and should be much closer to the Queen’s mare at this trip, but Estimate just shades the verdict. Cavalryman looked good when winning at Newmarket last time, but he benefited from the perfect ride given conditions there, and is opposable on balance.
3:45 – Sterling Insurance Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 3) 1¾m
The Lillie Langtry doesn’t look the strongest of races, and while Missunited is the clear pick on her huge run in the Ascot Gold Cup, she has nothing in hand on the balance of her form. Next best on official figures is the German mare Nymphea, who won a Group 1 there last season from the front, and will ensure Missunited doesn’t steal an easy lead. Nymphea didn’t handle soft ground at Ascot last autumn, but looked perfectly at ease on a firm surface when beaten just a head in a Group 2 at Haydock last June, with subsequent Pretty Polly (G1) winner Ambivalent behind in third. That form reads well here, and she has no penalty to carry in this weaker grade, so should be high on the list of potential winners if staying this longer trip.
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Photo PA Wire
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