A mammoth twenty eight runners are scheduled to go to post for the first of our TV races today and with no fewer than eight last time out winners it could prove to be the toughest race to try and find a winner.
We begin with Barnet Fair who won this race last year but has failed to make the frame in nine subsequent runs. His form prior to this race last year was less than inspiring but is only 1lbs higher for todays’ race and with Richard Hughes on board he has to enter calculations.
Another who should be respected is the William Haggas trained Mubtaghaa who drops back in to handicaps after finding it tough in a couple of recent higher grade races. He should be more at home at this level (his last win came in a class 2 handicap similar to todays’ race) but jockey Paul Hanagan has a less than impressive record here so cannot be backed with too much enthusiasm.
Jan Van Hoof has been a personal favourite of mine in recent months and arrives here having won his last three races. He takes another step up in grade today and also carries a 6lbs penalty but has so far never finished outside the top two in five career starts and although would need to improve again today he could still be capable of making the frame.
The favourite Direct Times would also have to improve again but has won three of his last four and looked like there was more to come when winning at Newmarket in June. He keeps talented young jockey Tom Marquand on board and should be capable of making the first five at the very least.
Direct Times (E/W if 9/2+)
Barnet Fair (E/W)
Jan Van Hoof (E/W)
Endless Time arrives here on the back of three straight wins, culminating in a ¾ length victory over Simple Verse at Goodwood in May, who has subsequently gone on to win a Group 3 contest at Goodwood last week. This was on good ground and with an eight length victory on soft ground prior, she should be right at home on the forecast good to soft ground today.
The main danger looks to be Sahrawi who makes the trip over from France and, despite only winning one from eight, has an impressive strike rate of 75% for top three finishes in listed company. She finished a close up second when last seen over todays’ trip and looks sure to run a strong race today providing the ground doesn’t dry out too much.
Both Spacelab and Strawberry Martini were winners last time out but will likely find today tougher, while Gretchen could also figure stepping down from Group company for todays’ race.
Endless Time (WIN)
We return to Goodwood for a class two handicap where over 50% of the field arrive on the back of a win last time out. Of these, the three that look most likely to follow up are Dartmouth, Barreesh and Senrima.
Dartmouth was a hugely impressive four length winner last time out and should be tough to beat if turning up in the same mood today, however with Sir Michael Stoute’s runners proving inconsistent so far this season he isn’t guaranteed to perform to the same level today.
Barreesh steps up to twelve furlongs after back-to-back wins over ten but shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the extra yardage considering how well he stayed for both recent wins. With only five races under his belt he is taken to continue improving and notch up his hat-trick today.
Senrima also aims for a hat-trick of wins and is proven over todays’ trip, although needed every yard to get up to win by a neck. He has also been successful over fourteen furlongs and looked more comfortable over the slightly longer distance so may have to settle for minor honours today.
Barreesh (E/W if 9/2+)
A fiercely competitive, large field Nursery is the fourth live race of the day. It doesn’t look like the type of race to be getting too involved in betting wise but there are a couple of runners who should go well.
Show Stealer has won two from three over six furlongs and although could only manage second last time out she was carrying a 6lbs penalty and was still eight lengths ahead of third. Improvement would be needed to take todays’ race but she has impressed me in her three runs so far and should have what it takes to bag a top four finish here.
Ediye is another who caught the eye when winning by over two lengths at Lingfield last time out, despite looking a little awkward and showing signs of greenness. She should benefit from that experience and with only two runs to date she is open to much more improvement.
Dutch Mist has won three from three over six furlongs and is another who looks like there is more to come as experience grows, while Tutu Nguru and Blossomtim are others that justify a mention, both arriving here on the back of respective wins last time out.
Show Stealer (E/W)
We return to Goodwood for the final two live races on channel 4. On paper this should be a straight fight between Diamondsandrubies and Legatissimo who occupied the first two places in the Pretty Polly at The Curragh in June. Both are top class fillies proven at Group 1 level and in truth it is difficult to try and split them.
Legatissimo has only failed to make the frame in two of her eight career runs. With three wins and three close seconds (two by a short head) she looks sure to run another big race.
Diamondsandrubies boasts a 50% career win rate and got first run on Legatissimo last time out but is yet to follow up on any of her previous wins.
If I had to make a choice between the two I would go for Legatissimo but given the current prices I am happy to take a chance on Star Of Seville (currently around 7/1). The Gosden yard are looking to win this for the fourth successive year and in Star Of Seville they have their own high class filly who has a 100% win record over this trip and boasts a 66% career win rate.
Star Of Seville (E/W if 9/2+)
The Qatar Stewards Cup is the final race shown live on Channel 4 and follows the theme of most of the other races on TV today – a fiendishly competitive looking, huge field race.
The early favourite is Magical Memory who has to race with a 6lbs penalty following a convincing win over todays’ trip at Newmarket last month but could still be well in as he is due to go up to a rating of 105 and races off 102 today. He is three from seven over todays’ trip but is yet to follow up on any previous win so best odds of 6/1 (at the time of writing) look a little on the short side for such a competitive looking race.
Top weight Tropics also deserves a mention after finishing a fantastic 25/1 second in the Darley July Cup last month. He has won seven from twenty two over six furlongs although the majority of these wins came earlier in his career and he has only won two of his last thirteen so may be playing for minor honours here today.
Preference, however, is for Huntsman’s Close who boasts a 60% strike rate for top three finishes and all four of his career wins have come over six furlongs. He arrives here in good form after two wins and three placed efforts from his last five runs and if continuing in the same mood he looks a good bet to finish in the first five at the very least.
Huntsman’s Close (E/W if 9/2+)