With Goodwood this week there was always a guarantee that I would never be short of something to talk about, even if recent rain has put a bit of a dampener on things with the going changes throwing many a trainers well thought out plan in to total disarray. Tuesday saw grey skies and heavy rain (as you can see, left!), which made for a few soggy panama’s but the punters were as sharp as razors, quickly working out those who liked a bit of cut in the ground and then punting them accordingly. From the very beginning the shrewdies made the most of the conditions with Viewpoint (whose only turf win was on good to soft) being quietly backed from 20/1 to 16/1 before running away with the opener, and Garswood seeing off Caspar Netscher by a neck having been backed form 3/1 to 9/4 on course – and that takes some cash at a popular meeting like Goodwood with plenty of four figure bets recorded – lucky them. Harris Tweed’s three most recent wins had been on soft ground and he was also backed before pulling clear of a decent looking field headed by Cambourne, who has also only ever won on good to soft going on the grass, so the clues were there, including Ascription in the 4.50pm (only ever won on soft going before), so the secret seems to be to wait until the last minute to place your bets when you have a better idea of the realistic going description.
On Wednesday drying winds made the going less certain and the rains stopped as far as I could tell, but I didn’t see defeat for Dawn Approach as an option. Yes I know the Hannon team kept talking up Toronado but they do that too often to be believed (the little boy who cried wolf etc. for those old enough to understand), and I was left with a larger than normal helping of humble pie and a larger dent in the old Paddy Power account than I wanted. To be fair, I have no excuses and the best horse on the day certainly won (in my opinion), and Jim Bolger took defeat for the favourite firmly on the chin with the good manners and grace that we have all come to expect. Earlier on the card, Charlie Appleby scored what I believe was his first Group winner with Cap O’Rushes since taking over from Mahmood Al Zarooni, so congratulations to him, but with the Godolphin firepower it was hardly a massive surprise and a Group One is only a matter of time.
Looking ahead (and that is ultra brave, believe me), and I am really hopeful of a big run from Brown Panther who is being tenderly handled this season by trainer Tom Dascombe who knows the horse has oodles of ability but always finds a good reason not to peak when required. I am told that this season’s main target has always been the Goodwood Cup due off at 3.15pm. One easy win in a Listed race at Pontefract has been the limit of his efforts in 2013 and with a little bit of cut in the ground seemingly ideal, he will carry some of my wages each way at a decent price (with any luck).
Wild Coco was my only other fancy on the card and has been waiting patiently for a bit of juice in the ground but 5/4 is, frankly, ludicrous for a horse off the track for 322 days and I can afford to watch without a financial interest, which pushes me on to Friday. With the Hannon/Hughes combo on fire all week to date, it would be total folly to oppose Montiridge in the 2.30pm where he looks like the proverbial good thing. He handles cut in the ground or fast going, loves this mile trip, and comes here in the form of his life for an equally in form double act and although in theory the dropped in class Glory Awaits is the one to best, he will be the one I rely on here and added to my each way double! If Mark Johnston decides Galician is fit and well enough to turn out under a penalty in the 3.05pm then who am I to argue? She has been a revelation in her last two winning outings and had any amount in hand at Ascot on Saturday, making her worth an each way look at the very least for a yard who continue to thrive in sunny Sussex
One day to go and can anyone stop the Hannon team striking again via Sky Lantern in the Nassau Stakes if she gets the mile and a quarter? Many feel she was unlucky not to get the Falmouth Stakes in the stewards’ room after being bumped by Elusive Kate (winner since), and this in theory should be a lot easier. 11/4 looks generous to me, and I will be backing her to win as well as a little each way bet on Hawkeyethenoo in the ultra competitive Stewards Cup. I will read Ron’s opinions with interest (and wish I had the foggiest about the draw at the rime of writing), but I did tell him I hoped my selection would run a stinker over seven furlongs last weekend at Ascot (correct – he was a well beaten fifteenth to Galician) and then come her to a more suitable six furlongs, cherry ripe and ready to run for his life. He won this race last year off a rating just five pounds lower and at odds around the 20/1 mark (I would have hoped for more to be honest), a small each way bet may yet pay dividends?
Suggested for this week:
Thursday – Brown Panther 3.15pm (each way)
Friday – Montiridge 2.30pm, Galician 3.05pm (each way)
Saturday – Sky Lantern 3.15pm, Hawkeyethenoo 3.50pm (each way)
Horses to follow:
Cape Arrow – a twice raced two year old trained by Paul Cole and held in very high regard at the stable and I am now told should be far better as a three year old (entered at Sandown Friday).
Afortunado – unraced three year old trained by Conrad Allen.