It will be glorious
Gary McKenzie looks at five days of glorious racing
Even though my visits to Goodwood have borne little fruit financially I still think it is one of the best places to watch racing. The views of the Sussex Downs are breathtaking and on a sunny day there are few better places to be.
Racing at Goodwood started in 1802 and the midsummer meeting became part of “The Season” (Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta etc) in the mid nineteenth century with the press labelling it Glorious Goodwood soon after.
It is less formal than Royal Ascot with top hats replaced by Panama hats and, although only three Group One races (although the Group Two King George Stakes does have a champion in the field), there is top class racing throughout.
The first Group One is The Goodwood Cup. It has only been a Group One since 2017 so Stradivarius, going for his fourth consecutive win in the race, is the only top level winner of the race.
His first win was as a three year old where he got a stone from the legend that was Big Orange. This week Stradivarius is the one giving weight away.
Santiago won the Queens Vase at the Royal meeting before following up in the Irish Derby. This is a step up in trip but he wasn’t stopping at Ascot.
This should be some race but the way STRADIVARIUS won his third Gold Cup makes him the one to beat. What a way to start the meeting.
Racing of the week
Wednesday surely gives us the race of the week.
The Sussex Stakes features the first and second from both the Newmarket and Curragh 2000 Guineas, the first and second of the Summer Mile, and the winner of the Queen Anne.
I could be wrong but I can’t see San Donato reversing form with Mohaather from Ascot. The winner was visually impressive that day, and the clock backs it up. This seemed to confirm the belief that his finishing position in the Queen Anne was, at least partly, down to bad luck.
The winner that day was Circus Maximus and he was winning his third Group One. He is one of those horses that doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves as his victories all seem to be a bit hard won. But he is as tough as they come, and his record over a mile is excellent, with his only European defeat over the distance coming when second in the Sussex Stakes last year.
Circus Maximus is one of three Ballydoyle runners. I would be surprised if Vatican City came out top of the three but Wichita comes into it on the back of his runs in the Guineas and St James Palace Stakes. He may again find one too good and with just seven runners he is not even each way value for me.
Kameko comes here as the 2000 Guineas winner and after his possible non staying fourth in the Derby this trip will surely suit him better. Seven Newmarket winners this century have contested the Sussex with three winning and two finishing second. That bodes well for Kameko and I am not against his chances. Four Irish Guineas winners have won at Goodwood since 2000 and I think (or rather hope) it will become five this week.
SISKIN, alongside Kameko and Japan (that horse hates me), was one of the three horses I had the highest hopes for this season. He definitely didn’t disappoint on his seasonal reappearance. Despite being short of room he managed to extricate himself and his acceleration was decisive. He is entitled to improve for that and I don’t think this unbeaten colt is the finished article just yet.
A possible negative is the fact that the only time he left Ireland, to race in the Middle Park, he played up at the stalls and was a non runner. Here’s hoping he at least loads up this time.
Thursday’s Nassau Stakes is fascinating.
Last years winner, Deidre, bids to become the fourth horse to win the race twice. She is certainly high quality but that Goodwood win was her only victory outside Japan so far. And she does tend to favour fast ground although the going here last year was good.
Lavender’s Blue winning would make the headlines due to her Abba connection but she looks a bit short on known form.
One Voice and Queen Power would need to improve to feature here and while I am a fan of Magic Wand she has finished second in a third of her races which is a concern.
Nazeef has won her last five including the Falmouth Stakes last time where she was ahead of both Billesdon Brook and Terebellum. This is a step up in trip but she has looked strong at the finish of her mile races.
FANCY BLUE won the Prix De Diane over this trip and she is my hope for this race. She has only tasted defeat once when she came from a long way back in the Irish 1000 Guineas, and that was part of my reason for tipping her in the French race next time. She was prominent throughout at Chantilly and I wonder if she may be held up this time as she was at the Curragh, although not quite as far back as in that race. This will be just her fifth race and I think there is a bit more to come from her.
He loves the track
It is almost impossible to see anything other than a fourth win for BATTAASH in the King George Stakes on Friday. He loves this downhill speed track and he has pounds in hand of his rivals.
Of Glass Slippers and Liberty Beach I side with the latter as the one for the forecast. She has only missed the frame once in her nine race career and she won the Molecomb over course and distance at last years meeting. After finishing third to Battaash at Ascot she ran behind A’Ali in the Coral Charge which is another fast five furlong course. A’Ali won again next time in a Group Two in Ireland. Al Raya looks a fair price to get into the first three.
ZWAYYAN is high on my list for the Golden Mile. He ran a nice race on his seasonal debut at Sandown and off a mark 1lb lower he has an each way chance.
LEXINGTON DASH is an early choice for the Stewards Cup. Three year olds have a good recent record in the race (three of the last five winners have been that age) but they all went on to be Group rated.
I think the selection could be better than his rating and young Thore Hammer Hansen takes off what could be a crucial 3lbs. The draw for both races will have a say so I will have another look closer to the races.
Good Luck All
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