Today sees the start of five top class days of turf action at Goodwood and before looking at day one in detail, here are a few general pointers for the week ahead.
Firstly, there are a few trainers who clearly target this meeting ahead of all others. They include Mark Johnston and you can expect many of his runners to well here, particularly in the handicaps over a mile or more.
Secondly, the unique undulations of the Sussex Downs give punters an edge that some of the more “normal” venues don’t. Taking special note of course form can pay dividends. Like Epsom, you need a horse that can handle twists and turns, and rises and falls in elevation.
Finally, there are likely to be plenty of big price winners – last year eight winners were 10/1 or more, while four came in at 20/1 or bigger.
Matchbook Betting Exchange Stakes
If you road test all three of these general pointers in the first race this afternoon one horse who stands out is the Johnston trained FIRE FIGHTING. He was a good third in the race last year and seems to be coming back into form at the right time after a quiet campaign so far.
He is eight pounds lower than 12 months ago, but a sixth in the John’s Smiths Cup last time out showed the old sparkle is still there and a return to winning ways does’t look to be far away. The only negative is the draw, as he is trapped out wide in berth 16.
Godolphin also look set to target this meeting in a big way and either of their runners here – BEST OF TIMES and Second Wave – could take this. Of the pair, we marginally fancy the former, who looks quirky but has plenty of talent.
He was second in a Derby trial here last year and his poor run last time out can probably be put down to the soft ground.
The biggest danger to our selections may prove to be the unexposed Shakopee who hails from the same yard as last year’s winner.
It is also a yard that is bang in form as Luca Cumani has had three winners from his last 10 runners and this horse is clearly well regarded at home as he has been nicely backed on most recent starts. Only one of them was a winning one, but that success last time out suggested that the penny has finally dropped and he has every chance of going in again here.
The first four races at Goodwood today are televised on Channel 4, so it is worth remembering that if you back a winner at 4/1 or more in any Channel 4 race with them, you will get a risk free bet on the next Channel 4 race of up to £50.
|Fire Fighting (ew)||2.00 Goodwood||9/1||Bet365|
|Best Of Times (ew)||2.00 Goodwood||12/1||Bet365|
Qatar Vintage Stakes
The first big two year old race of the meeting is up next – the Vintage Stakes.
Godolphin have a powerful hand here too courtesy of Boynton, who beat market rival (and likely favourite) War Decree last time out. However, it’s the other runner in the famous all blue silks that we like, THUNDER SNOW.
He looked a colt to follow after his debut win and then didn’t enjoy the ground in the Coventry at Royal Ascot. Despite those going concerns he still fared second best of those in the nearside group that day and back on his favoured surface he can outrun his odds here.
MEDIEVAL was two places in front of Thunder Snow in the Coventry and he too demands respect here. The ground is the big unknown as he would actually have relished underfoot conditions at the Berkshire track having won on soft ground on debut.
Trainer Paul Cole has a good record in the race and had one of his two year olds run a big race at Ascot on Saturday.
|Thunder Snow (ew)||2.35 Goodwood||8/1||Bet365|
|Medieval (ew)||2.35 Goodwood||16/1||Bet365|
Qatar Lennox Stakes
The day’s big race is the Lennox Stakes over the specialist trip of seven furlongs.
It is a distance that suits DUTCH CONNECTION well and Charlie Hills’ runner looks to have plenty in his favour here. Decent ground is the key to him and this will be the best surface he has encountered all season. As a result, he may just give Godolphin a third winner in as many races.
|Dutch Connection (win)||3.10 Goodwood||5/2||Bet365, Sky Bet, Paddy Power|
The final race on terrestrial TV this afternoon is the Summer Stakes over 1m 6f and we really like the chances of HAVANA BEAT.
He is tumbling down the weights, but finally gets to run on his preferred surface and his new yard should have got to know him by now.
His rating peaked at 112 when running in last season’s Gold Cup, but he gets into this handicap on a mark of just 98.
In opposition, Godolphin are again mob handed and at least one of their three runners will surely make the frame at least. The winning form of all three is on softer ground so the key will be to find the one who copes best with these quicker conditions. We think that might be FRANCES OF ASSISI.
Look out for Mark Johnston’s Notarised too.
|Havana Beat (ew)||3.45 Goodwood||10/1||Bet365|
|Frances Of Assisi (ew)||3.45 Goodwood||14/1||Bet365|