Day four of Goodwood’s showcase meeting of the year gets underway with a bang with the ultra competitive Glorious Stakes over 1m4f.
This Group 3 contest will be slugged out by a number of powerful connections once again in a particularly strong looking renewal.
Godolphin send Elite Army here searching for more glory. The five year old gelding caught the eye when winning on his reappearance after a long absence earlier this season. He then built on that with an unlucky runner up berth at the Royal Meeting, but he disappointed last time which is an obvious concern. He would be a danger to all if returning to form of the previous run and the ground will be no problem for him, but he comes with too many risks at the moment.
Kings Fete has to have been one of the hard luck stories of Royal Ascot when a badly hampered third behind Elite Army in the Duke of Edinburgh, but while he will be confident of reverse the form with that re-opposing rival, there is no real cause to suggest he was getting to the winner, Kinema, who was well down the field in yesterday’s Goodwood Cup albeit in Group 2 company.
Therefore, the most solid candidate in the race looks like Roger Varian’s course specialist Mount Logan. Fourth in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot behind Dartmouth was a credible effort that day despite having unsettled build up to race. He returns to his favoured track looking to enhance his perfect record of three wins from three runs and can go well again with ground in his favour. Drop back into Group three company combined with that means he is a rock solid contender and gets the nod.
Mount Logan (WIN)
The Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes is a Group 3 contest over a mile and on ratings one of this 11 strong field is clear.
That horse is Godolphin’s Emotionless, who is 7lb clear of his nearest rival Buratino on ratings and with this off level weights it is easy to see why he is fancied. However he still has a question mark to his name after the injury he picked up in last season’s Dewhurst, which leaves you considering if he’s the same horse. He ran into fifth in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on ground which may not have been ideal. With conditions as they were yesterday the ground may soften up and go against him.
Jersey Stakes second Thikriyaat and third Forge are two that look likely to make their presences felt. That race was won by Ribchester, who we saw thunder home late to finish third in the Sussex Stakes to give that form some credence. In that race Sir Michael Stoute’s charge was given a little too much to do and finished the race strongly. If placed closely to the early speed it is difficult to see out of the frame considering he’ll handle the conditions.
Forge may have got caught in the soft ground at Royal Ascot, so connections will be hoping for it to remain on the quicker side. Cymric has stamina issues but the helping hands of James McDonald from the saddle and he’s a jockey riding out of his skin. From what we have seen he doesn’t look to stay, but he is a son of Kitten’s Joy, who did the majority of his winning at trips over a mile.
The Betfred Mile is always a competitive race and Godolphin looked to have a really interesting runner in this one in Carry On Deryck.
The four year old is lightly raced for his age and has some solid handicap form to his name thus far. Perhaps found out with the step up in trip recently so the return to 1m will definitely suit, but just like in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot, he looks to have been hampered by the draw once again today.
Another interesting contender is George Baker’s Belgian Bill. This is the third time the horse has had a shot at this race and was awarded the prize in the Steward’s room last year after the winner was disqualified for a banned substance. He can run a big race today given his single figure draw and the fact he can run off the exact same mark as 12 months ago. Concern however, is that he is well out of sorts this year and the yard now opt for second time blinkers so too risky a proposition at present.
Sir Mark Prescott’s Celestial Path is a horse who due to get his head in front again soon and he returned to form last time out when solid second at York. He is 3lb ahead of the handicapper here, so is entitled to run a big race, but desperately unlucky to get one of the widest draws and the may hamper his chances.
Michael Bell may just have the winner in his ranks with his runner Franklin D. The horse could not have been anymore impressive when storming to victory last time out in a handicap at Newmarket and he is still well treated with the handicapper after only a 3lb penalty for a wide margin win. Those chances are only enhanced by a plum low draw as well as the services of the Ryan Moore in the saddle and he is the confident selection.
Franklin D (WIN)
Time for the Group 2 King George Stakes over the minimum trip. If you blink you could miss this with Marsha being the speedster she is.
Sir Mark Prescott’s filly ran away with a Listed race at Ayr before being delivered at the right time to win at York when last seen after missing the break. This downhill track should suit her and if able to get out in front with Luke Morris she may be hard to peg back, as she has looked a progressive type.
Drawn in the stall next to Marsha is another front runner in the shape of Cotai Glory, who won the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes here as a two year old. Charlie Hills’ runner can be forgiven a poor showing in the Commonwealth Cup, over a furlong further, so the return to this track and trip could see him getting involved plus George Baker is back in the saddle.
Muthmir (2015) and Take Cover (2014) are the last two winners of this race. The former will want this ground very quick to help his chances and his recent form reads well enough from a place perspective. He’ll need to be able to reverse York form with Marsha and given his draw in stall ten he should get a nice tow into the race. Take Cover is an admirable nine year old and won the Achilles Stakes beating Cotai Glory. He’s another pace angle into the race, so there is plenty of speed drawn low to middle and that is where my focus will be.
Cotai Glory (E/W)
Mark Johnston is synonymous with success at this meeting and he looks to have yet another exciting two year old to attack with in this race so he could well be headed back to the winner’s enclosure here with Rusumaat.
The speedy Juvenile was well beaten on unfavoured soft ground in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but either side of that was impressive with wins in lesser races. He is the choice of Paul Hanagan from the Hamdan al Maktoum pair which is another plus, but the biggest advantage in this sprint contest will be his plum draw which gives the perfect platform to get out and away to leave his rivals trailing and he will take some stopping so gets the nod.
Dangers are a plenty with a number of unexposed rivals the aforementioned Naafer is the connections other runner for William Haggas and he could be anything after only three runs where he is yet to be out of the first two, but his high draw makes life tough.
The main danger to the selection will likely come from Godolphin’s Final Reckoning. He is another lightly raced colt who has featured in the shake up in all three starts and a confidence boosting win gives him a big chance here.
One horse dominates the early market for the Oak Tree Stakes and that is Always Smile for Saeed Bin Suroor. She was a winner on her return at York in the Listed Hambleton Stakes and following that success she was upped in grade where she has run creditable races to fill the placings.
However the pick of her form comes over a mile and this seven furlong trip on an undulating downhill track may prove too sharp for her and with that in mind this daughter of Cape Cross may look a bit short. That said she sets a high standard in this race.
Besharah has been tried over a range of trips this season without being set on one. She was fourth in the French 1,000 Guineas and a mile does seem to be her maximum trip. That effort came on the back of her reappearance when behind Marenko at Chelmsford over this trip. She’s very reliable and consistent; if able to run somewhere near her Lowther win last year she’ll be in the mix.
A chance is taken on the improving three year old Mise En Rose. She won at Newmarket when last seen in a handicap, so is stepping up in class but the way she put that race to bed suggested she was worth another try in pattern company. James McDonald remains in the saddle and he’s having a good time of things, so she looks likely to outrun her odds. Namroodah won at Ascot over a mile last week but was demoted due to interference. She has plenty of speed, so shouldn’t be too easily dismissed.
Mise En Rose (E/W)
The Day Four finale is tricky looking handicap over 1m3f. The Mark Johnston team could easily take another hand here with three year old Isharah. The lightly raced horse has improved with each outing this term and would not be a major shock to see him find further progress at the trainer’s favoured track, but he has disappointed as favourite last two outings and so maybe best watched today.
The William Haggas team send exciting three year old gelding Al Neksh into this one in search of a hat trick and he has to come into the reckoning here for the Al Shaqab Racing team. Frankie Dettori is in the saddle for the horse that won over 1m2f at Chester last time out. Gelded since, but he should have more improvement in him over the extra furlong today and he looks a rock solid each way selection.
The main danger to the selection will undoubtedly come from Sir Michael Stoute’s Poet’s Word. The horse is an unexposed type that the stable normally do well with, and won his maiden well at Yarmouth back in May before being beaten some five lengths in a first time handicap last time out. He is upped in trip here again so may improve for that, but will have to if he is to challenge the selection.
Al Neksh (E/W)