A lower key day for day four of the Qatar Goodwood Festival with no Group 1 today. The feature race is the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes (3.35) which has £300,000 in guaranteed prize money. There also two Group 3’s on a seven-race card: The Thoroughbred Stakes (2.25) and the Glorious Stakes (4.10). The big betting race of the day is Coral Golden Mile Handicap (3:00) which has attracted a maximum field of 20 runners.
It's day five at the Galway Festival with the Guinness Handicap (6:35) and the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase (6:00) the highlights of an eight-race card.
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Inside today’s main piece. I look at the three Group races on the Goodwood card. Plus, there’s another attempt at the placepot.
Qatar Goodwood Festival – Day 1
2:25 – Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (Group 3) – 1m
Checkandchallenge wasn’t disgraced when 14th of 15 in his turf debut in the 2,000 Guineas. He was set too much to do when ¾-length second of 11 to Sinjaari at Sandown 27-days ago. It was a cracking effort in an all-aged handicap by a 3-year-old off a mark 108. He will be tough to beat if reproducing that performance here. The main alternative to the favourite looks to be German challenger Rocchigiani. He was a cracking 1 ¼ length 2nd of 11 to the smart Maljoom in the German 2,000 Guineas. A solid enough 2 ½ length 5th of 15 in Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, shaping like he will be suited by a return to a mile.
3:35 – King George Qatar Stakes (Group 2) – 5f
Raasel, Mitbaahy and Equilateral were first, second and sixth in the Coral Charge at Sandown. A neck separated the first two named at the line, but Mitbaahy didn’t get the clearest of runs when making his effort. However, Raasel has been one of the most improved sprinters this season and you couldn’t rule him out confirming that Sandown form.
Equilateral looked even more unlucky in that race, but he’s since only managed to finish 3rd in Group 2 at Curragh. I prefer his stablemate Khaadem who showed how well suited he was by fast ground when winning the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in April. He was withdrawn at the start in the King Stand Stakes at Ascot so hasn’t run since April. That said he goes well fresh, and he remains unexposed over 5f. Trainer Charlie Hills is struggling for winners, but Ryan Moore is a good jockey booking.
Acklam Express won over C&D as a juvenile and although he hasn’t won since his juvenile season he put in an excellent performance, looking as good as ever, when a 4 ½ length 3rd of 16 to Nature Strip in King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. That’s as good a form as any in the field and should go close if reproducing it this afternoon.
Has Raasel’s progression ended? I’m not sure it has, and I think he’ll confirm Sandown form with Mitbaahy. He’s the one to beat in what’s competitive looking renewal with the bookies going 4/1 the field. I will probably have a unit on Acklam Express and Khaadem.
4:10 – L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Glorious Stakes (Group 3) – 1m 4f
Rebel Romance won the Listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket on his belated turf debut last time. No reason to think he can’t prove up to winning in Group company on a sound surface and this isn’t the strongest of races.
Sir Michael Stoute trained the winner of this three times between 2016 & 2018, and he saddles Regal Reality. The 7-year-old improved on his Royal Ascot reappearance when a 1 ½ length 2nd of 7 in Listed race at Sandown last time. That was a decent effort and as good as he’s produced since his last success in August 2020. On the negative side he’s been slowly away on both starts this season. If he gets off on level terms, then he’s not out of this on his first start beyond an extended 1m 2f.
Desert Encounter won this in 2019 and finished runner-up in 2020. Indeed, the veteran has never finished outside the first two on his four starts at the track. Hard to see a 10-year-old being able to win this but you can’t totally dismiss him either on quick ground.
It looked like the Goodwood placepot was on yesterday. We got to the final leg but sadly it wasn’t to be. Very, very frustrating but that’s the placepot for you. I tipped the Michael Dods trained Prairie Falcon (14/1) each way in the nursery for Victor Value subscribers which went some way to easing the pain of not getting a share of the placepot.
I think this is the trickiest placepot of the week so far. Mind you Saturday’s will likely be even tougher.
1:50 – Leg 1 – Super Superjack and Withold
2:25 – Leg 2 – Rocchigiani and Checkandchallenge
3:00 – Leg 3 – Blue For You, Noble Dynasty and Rebel Territory
3:35 – Leg 4 – Raasel, Acklam Express and Khaadem
4:10 – Leg 5 – Rebel's Romance and Regal Reality
4:45 – Leg 6 – Kaasib, and California Gem
Its 96 bets: 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 = 96 bets. Once again, I have used 25p unit stakes, so my total stake on this occasion is £24.
Good luck with your Friday bets.