Five days of Glorious Goodwood get under way with an intriguing clash of talents in the Goodwood Cup, Aidan O’Brien setting a poser for punters by fielding his Irish Derby winner Santiago. The weight-for-age scale favours improving three-year-olds like him in high summer and he carries a stone less than all his rivals but it may not be enough because among them is Stradivarius (3.15).
The winner of this race for the past three years, Stradivarius still doesn’t have anything that could really be called a flaw, for all that he suffers about one defeat per season. He appeared distracted in the paddock at Royal Ascot last month but turned in an imperious performance just the same.
Unless that has taken a really significant toll, John Gosden’s chestnut should be good enough here. Santiago could turn in a career best and still be second. Nayef Road is worth respecting on this sounder surface, however, and should not be given too much of a soft lead.
1.45 Sucellus ran out of room in the closing stages at Epsom and York this month, but those efforts also suggested he is running into form. The return to this distance should help and he is attractively rated on the same mark from which he beat Cape Cavalli, the likely favourite, in September. Babbo’s Boy also looks overpriced after one bad run on soft.
2.15 This has the look of a decent Vintage Stakes, with the Chesham winner, Battleground, taking on horses that ran well in the Superlative and the Coventry. But the pick of them might be a horse brought along more gradually, as Youth Spirit showed plenty of ability in breaking his maiden at Newmarket during the July meeting. From a fast family, he is thought likely to be better again on the sounder surface he meets here.
2.45 Space Blues is convincing as the most likely winner of this Lennox Stakes but odds of 33-1 about Graignes are ridiculous, considering he has repeatedly run well in top-class company while trained in France over the past two years. This is his first run since a trip to Riyadh in February but George Baker has his string in form and reports this colt straight enough if good enough.
3.45 With several confirmed front-runners in the line-up, this sprint handicap could turn into a real burn-up, which might tee things up nicely for Celsius. A strong finisher when scoring at last year’s Glorious meeting, he ran well to be second in a smaller field at the July meeting behind an in-form rival.
Glorious Goodwood ‘pick some losers’ competition
We have a £100 account credit from Betfair to offer the winner of our Goodwood competition, which this week will run from Tuesday to Friday inclusive. You must pick four fancied horses to lose at Goodwood on each of those days this week. The winner will be the person whose nominated horses have the shortest average Starting Price, provided they were all beaten.
You will be eliminated if:
i) any of your nominated horses wins,
ii) any of your nominated horses is returned at an SP bigger than 12-1,
iii) you nominate more or less than four runners at Goodwood in a single day.
Two or more of your four can be in the same race if you wish. If you pick a non-runner, you must make a replacement choice before the start-time of the last race at Goodwood that day. If everyone has been eliminated by Friday, we’ll run a fresh competition that day for the same prize. If there’s a tie for first place, the prize will be split among those tied for first.
Please post your four picks for today in a single posting, using the comment facility below. Obviously, you must post before any of your nominated horses have run that day. Otherwise, our usual terms and conditions, which you can read here, will apply. Good luck!
Flashy Mohaather could return Tregoning to racing’s top table
After a King George carved up by the two dominant stables of British and Irish Flat racing and won easily by the hot favourite, the Sussex Stakes this week is a much more attractive contest. Seven talented animals, none of which can be ruled out, will represent five trainers in a thrilling test of brilliance, a fitting highlight for Glorious Goodwood, with at least the possibility of a winner for whom victory would matter enormously, rather than being one more trophy among many.
“It would mean an awful lot,” says Marcus Tregoning but even that frank statement underplays what is at stake. He has always wanted to win a Sussex and to do so now, with the hugely promising Mohaather, would close the book on a difficult and often disappointing period since the trainer last won a Group One, with Sir Percy in the Derby 14 years ago.
“Whitsbury’s like the Covid-19 racecourse, it’s very relaxed, there’s not too much going on,” Tregoning says. “He gets to see hares and all the rare birds, there’s lots for him to look at but it’s very relaxing.
“We do long exercises, we walk 20 minutes before we even do a canter and then we walk back. So there’s every chance for a highly-strung horse to learn not to be that way. He can be a little bit of a handful but nothing you don’t expect any thoroughbred horse to do.”
Success in Wednesday’s race would have particular meaning for Tregoning, whose mentor, Dick Hern, always loved to win during Glorious week. “If I was being quite honest, I slightly prefer it to Ascot.
“I’m looking forward to all the races later on. If the Sussex Stakes doesn’t work out, you can bet your bottom dollar that he will win a Group One somewhere.”