Kicking off the action today sees us take in the first race at Goodwood in a race where only professional National Hunt jockeys can ride. As it currently stands sixteen runners are set to line up and as such I hope E/W value is there to be found.
The current price of 4/1 about Fitzwilly seems a tad too short despite the fact it’s the only horse in the race to have a course and distance victory within its form figures.
The two bigger priced dangers I fear most are Mister Fizz, who has won at Goodwood before, and Kodicil who is pretty lightly raced this year and may have a bit of room to progress compared to most of its rivals.
The one I am going for however hasn’t run on the flat since May 2014 but a close third placed finish behind Vent De Force looks like a pretty decent effort. The four year old should have improvement within them and the booking of promising youngster Gavin Sheehan is a shrewd move. It put in a couple of decent performances over hurdles recently and fitness won’t be a concern either, worth a punt at an each way price.
The final selection from Goodwood and our last visit to the flat comes in a seven furlong nursery handicap where both Goodwood Zodiac and course and distance winner Inn The Bull are close at the head of the market.
William Knight’s Goodwood Zodiac is looking for a hat-trick after two successful outings at Brighton and Epsom respectively. It certainly has a better than average chance of staking a claim for victory in this but I fear off top weight and in a more competitive race it may find a couple too good.
I feel the course and distance form of Inn The Bull is something that is bound to pay dividend in a race of this nature, the horse is lightly raced in comparison to its rivals and its liking of the conditions a certain bonus. Alan King has his yard in top form and the owner and trainer combination scooped the big prize yesterday in the Cesarewitch. It looks like the one to beat but I’m hoping I have unearthed a bit of value.
The value horse has been gelded since its last race in which it finished third of nine. Brian Meehan has been relatively quiet for the most part this season but still has a decent strike rate for the year. The booking of Paul Hanagan is an obvious plus and if the recent operation has done the trick it could be the making of Alabaaly.
We end todays three selections with a trip over to Limerick and the sixteen runner Munster National.
This three mile contest is very open (as most National’s are) and the trio that seem to currently be vying for favouritism are course and distance winner and top weight Shanpallas, the Willie Mullins trained Urano and the AP Heskin ridden Perfect Promise.
The JP McManus owned runner Shanpallas has a great chance of regaining its crown from last year and after a decent effort in the Galway Plate it should be in great form but a six pound rise in the weights might see this one come unstuck today.
Willie Mullins obviously has to be respected with any runner he has and Urano is very consistent, my only negative however is the lack of recent victories it has. You are bound to get a decent run for your money but how likely it is to get its head in front is questionable.
The final horse of the aforementioned trio Perfect Promise has ran well in its last three outings and comes into this race with a great chance but without a win over the trip I couldn’t be overly confident.
There are another three course and distance winners in the field and two of them have a great chance. Both The Job Is Right and Ravished could give the main protagonists a run for their money and have the ability to sneak a place at decent prices.
The one I’m plumping for is an English raider that hails from Harry Fry’s stable and Opening Batsman looks set to give a great account of itself. The distance won’t be an issue and two previous victories back in February and April were by far its best outings to date. The yard are currently in a rich vein of form with a 50% strike rate and could go close with a runner who won’t have been sent all this way just for a day trip.
Opening Batsman (E/W)