It’s day 3 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and day four at Galway. The highlight of Ladies Day at Galway is the Guinness Galway Hurdle (5.05) which has €159,300 on offer to the winner.
At Goodwood the Group 1 Nassau Stakes (3.35) is the feature of a seven-race card with recent French Oaks winner Nashwa likely to go off the odds-on favourite to land her first British Group 1. The other Goodwood highlights include the Group 2 Richmond Stakes (2:25) and Group 3 Gordon Stakes.
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Inside today’s main piece I preview three of today’s ITV races and the Galway Hurdle.
Qatar Goodwood Festival – Day 3
2:25 – Richmond Stakes (Group 2) – 6f
This looks between Royal Scotsman and Chateau. The first named won a C&D maiden (good to soft) inMay and improved again when 1¾ lengths 3rd of 17 to Bradsell in Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. This has likely been the target all season and fully deserves to head the market.
There was plenty to like about Chateau’s win in a Newbury Listed contest 13-days ago. The colt was strong at the finish that day and looks capable of better.
Verdict: Chateau is respected but I prefer Royal Scotsman who has the best form and is proven at the track.
3:00 – Gordon Stakes (Group 3) – 1m 4f
Hoo Ya Mal is having his first start since his excellent 2 ½ length 2nd of 17 to Desert Crown in Derby at Epsom. Has been bought to race in Australia. Interesting to see the first-time tongue tie is being applied today. He has best form on offer and arguably should be favourite.
New London is the ante post favourite after his recent success under a big weight in a Newmarket handicap. At his strongest at the finish last time. The step up to 1m 4f should bring out even more improvement in the well-regarded colt. If he handles the track, he could find the improvement required to beat Hoo Ya Mal.
Grand Alliance, not competitive in the Derby, bounced back to his best when a short-head 2nd of 6 in King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. He proved his stamina for 1m 4f that day and probably would have won but for hanging badly left inside the final furlong. He’s clearly a talented colt but looks tricky. If he handles Goodwood’s undulations, he’s not out of this.
Verdict: An intriguing little race. Hoo Ya Mal’s Derby form is solid. New London created a good impression when winning at Newmarket should be suited by the step up to 1m 4f. The lazy but talented Grand Alliance has each way claims provided he isn’t as wayward as at Ascot.
3:35 – Qatar Nassau Stakes (Group 1) – 1m 2f
A decent sized field of nine fillies for the feature which is more open than the betting suggests.
Nashwa found 1m 4f stretching her stamina when 3rd of 11 in the Epsom Oaks. However, she bounced back to winning ways dropped back to an extended 1m 2f in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly. Will likely need to improve again racing against older fillies for the first time.
Concert Hall, third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, finished 1 ¼ length behind Nashwa in the Oaks. She’s since run respectably on both starts in Group/Grade 1 company since, without looking like winning. The fitting of the first time cheekpieces makes her of interest here.
Dreamloper has returned to action in good form winning the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on her seasonal reappearance. Before going to post a personal best when winning the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp. You can forgive a poor run in the Pretty Polly last time. The ground had turned soft that day and she’s a better on a sound surface.
Lilac Road found some improvement to win the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York last time. Given the steady early gallop she did well to win coming from the rear. Probably wouldn’t want the race to get tactical as she may prove better over a bit further.
Ville De Grace an improving filly in the second half of last season put in an excellent effort when running Dreamloper to a nose in the Dahlia Stakes on her reappearance. However, she didn’t build on that effort when only 5 length 4th of 5 to Lilac Road at York last time. She’s better than she was able to show at York and we may not have seen the best of the filly.
If Nashwa finds a bit more improvement, highly possible, she probably wins. However, her odds mean she’s worth taking on. Aidan O’Brien fits the first time cheekpieces on Concert Hall and she doesn’t have much to find with Nashwa on their Oaks running. Of the older horses Dreamloper has solid claims. However, she must prove she stays 1m 2f. Ville De Grace is better than she was able to show last time but she hit form in the second half of last season and doesn’t have much to find with Dreamloper on their Newmarket running.
5:05 – Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap (Grade A) – 2m
Willie Mullins has saddled three of the last four winners of the race and is represented by four runners.
The pick of them looks to be Adamantly Chosen, the choice of Paul Townend and Farout. Adamantly Chosen a winner of one of his five starts over hurdles was set plenty to do from the rear when an 8-length 4th of 24 in handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. Today’s forecast fast pace will suit, and he looks handicapped to win a nice handicap hurdle pot.
Farout ran better than his final position of 7th suggests in the amateur rider’s flat handicap here on Monday. A winner of a C&D novice hurdle 12 months ago. He was a good ¾ length 2nd of 17 in a Punchestown Festival handicap hurdle on his last start over hurdles and is respected on that run.
Plenty for the shortlist.
Santa Rossa comes into the race in great form having won the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary last time. She’s well suited by a strongly run 2m and might not have stopped her progression.
Anna Bunina is another well suited to a strongly run 2m. She took advantage of a declining handicap mark when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle in April and has gone to win two over next four starts, including a handicap hurdle at Bellewstown last time. A 7lb rise in the weights makes life harder for her but if the ground is no worse than good, she’s in the mix.
Ballyadam ran his best race for some time when a 6-length 5th of 26 in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last time. The 7-year-old would have finished a bit closer if he hadn’t have met trouble on the home turn. A strong pace will suit, and he’s not handicapped out of this despite top-weight
Autumn Evening, twice a winner over hurdles last season. He had looked set to win when taking up at the last in a big field handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival but his effort flattened out on the run-in. Had a prep for this on the flat last month so should be spot on fitness wise. He does need to be produced with as late a run as possible but in Dennis O’Regan has the right jockey to execute those tactics.
Santa Rossa should be suited by this test and is a classy mare as she showed at Tipperary. Top-weight Ballyadam has solid each way claims if reproducing his County Hurdle run. Autumn Evening must be produced with one run and as late as possible and if the cards fall right won’t be far away. I will be having a few darts at the race. But one of them will be Farout the apparent second string from the Willie Mullins stable.
Selection: Farout – 12/1 @ Bet365 (paying 6 places 1/5 odds).
Yesterday I got to the fifth leg and like Tuesday just falling in the one race, this time by a short head. Mind you Wednesday’s placepot paid a paltry £15.80 to a £1 stake so I would have lost anyway.
1:50 – Leg 1 – Migdam, Vee Sight and Asgoodassobergets
2:25 – Leg 2 – Royal Scotsman
3:00 – Leg 3 – Hoo Ya Mal and Grand Alliance
3:35 – Leg 4 – Concert Hall and Ville De Grace
4:10 – Leg 5 – True Statesman, Seductive Power and Prairie Falcon
4:45 – Leg 6 – Navello and Le Beau Garcon.
Its 72 bets 3 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 2 = 72 bets. Once again, I have used 25p unit stakes, so my total stake is £18.
Good luck with your Thursday bets.