One of the best weeks of the season for racing fans with the five-day Goodwood festival kicking off on Tuesday. But some of the recent comments by certain trainers – yes Mark Johnston we’re looking at you – have been less than glorious.
Any industry figures who think the new ITV Racing output (at the turn of the year) should cut betting completely or reduce it by a shed load are on a different wavelength.
There is a fine balance to be achieved here from the betting output, through regular features to introducing a tad more fun to the new regime and above all they will need to engage with the potential wider audience, BUT, to even promote the view betting shouldn’t be an integral part of the show is ridiculous.
It’s like suggesting Wales would have been just as successful without Gareth Bale, The Minstrel would still have won the Derby without Lester Piggott and Punch would have made it without Judy!
No betting or punters = no horse racing industry. IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!
Speaking of which ….
Day One: Tuesday, July 26
I was impressed by the way BOYNTON took care of War Decree in the Superlative Stakes and despite the penalty he can confirm the form in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes (2.35pm) on the opening day. A bigger danger could well be Larchmont Lad whose Sandown win has been cemented since.
This looks a poor renewal of this mile and three quarters handicap. But down in trip on a course he has run well at before is FUN MAC (3.45pm) who strikes me as each-way value at a fair price.
Day Two: Wednesday, July 27
Beaten three quarters of a length by Simple Verse last year, OCEANE finally found his mojo over a mile and three quarters last time out. This extreme 2m 5f trip in the day’s opener could be right up his street for trainer Alan King.
ULYSSES started at 8/1 for the Epsom Derby, but simply found things happening way too quickly. He is still highly regarded in the Sir Michael Stoute camp and this renewal of the Gordon Stakes (2.35pm) is a deal easier.
Some pundits have said that GALILEO GOLD was flattered by his success in the St James’s Palace Stakes. Well, no he wasn’t. Despite the ride given to The Gurkha, he was to my eyes the best horse in the race and can confirm the form in the day’s feature the Sussex Stakes.
Day Three: Thursday, July 28
Mark Johnston has won this opening handicap four times in the past 10 years and his entries have to be respected. But if Charlie Appleby cares to run him then BLAIR HOUSE (2pm) could be worth another chance following his poor run at Newmarket.
The fact that Ryan Moore has been booked for Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave suggests Aidan O’Brien will not run either of his three-year-old entries here and that makes CURBYOURENTHUSIASM (3.10pm) and interesting bet if it stays dry in the 2m Goodwood Cup.
He still has scope to improve over this trip and his raking stride may prove too strong for last year’s winner Big Orange. Should Sword Fighter run for the Ballydoyle maestro than he would be a saver bet.
Day Four: Friday, July 29
There’s about as much chance of finding a needle in a haystack than the winner of this big mile handicap at the five-day stage, but should FRANKLIN D (3.10pm) get a good draw he will surely go well after waltzing home at Newmarket.
MOVE IN TIME has yet to reach the kind of form which saw him finish placed in the King George Stakes last year behind Muthmir, but his second at Hamilton was a move in the right direction and fast ground could help him step up here at potentially a very nice price.
Day Five: Saturday, July 30
The Steward’s Cup is one of my favourite handicaps of the year. I stood to win John Terry’s weekly wage packet last year had RIVELLINO won after I backed him at triple figure odds! Drawn on the wrong side of the track was his downfall when third to Magical Memory and he could go well at a huge price again.
Of his rivals, at this early stage, I like the three-year-olds RAUCUS and STEADY PACE.