It is the height of the summer season this week at Glorious Goodwood and if the sun shines it can be the most idyllic place to be, but if it rains, as it did two years ago, it can be akin to Armageddon!
This week the forecast is somewhere in between the two so we are unlikely to get rattling fast ground so no excuses for any of the runners.
There is one race above all that I shall be focussing on from a punting point of view and it comes in the most unlikely of the seven races on day one on Tuesday, the Chelsea Barracks Handicap over 5f at 4.45.
There are 14 declared to go to post and several of them are absolutely chucked in on their old form, the question is how far does a horse have to fall in the handicap before they become a viable betting proposition?
Well in the case of POYLE VINNIE it is 10lbs and four years since his last turf win although he has won three times since on the all-weather at Southwell and Chelmsford.
Placed an amazing 14 times since that success north of the border, the nine-year-old still maintains his zest for racing and has not been disgraced in some hot handicaps in the past couple of months, notably behind Copper Knight in a class two at York in May.
His last run at Hamilton earlier in the month can safely be consigned to the dust bin as he wasn’t suited by the small field and this 14 runner event gives him a better chance to race from just off the pace and get a tow into the latter stages of the contest.
Fourth 12 months ago, when he got somewhat stuck out in the centre of the track, the veteran is 5lbs lower this time around and any further heavy showers certainly wont hurt his chance and he gets the nod over the enigmatic Harry Hurricane and in form course and distance winner Maygold.
The Goodwood Cup is the feature race of the day and it is a travesty that those up top reduced the distance of the of the race from two and a half to a bare two miles some time ago.
But that will certainly suit CROSS COUNTER who patently failed to stay the extra four furlongs at Ascot but blew the mile and a half course record at the South Downs track to smithereens over a mile and a half as a three-year-old.
I am sure SDS and Dee Ex Bee will try and set stronger fractions than they did at the Royal meeting, that was his downfall there, and of course the mighty Stradivarius is also a huge player, but the Godolphin horse possesses a potent kick at the back end of this trip and looks the value at around the 4/1 mark.
The Lennox Stakes at 3.00 is wide open with Zaaki, Hey Gaman and Space Traveller all set to go to post with solid claims, but to my eyes the value has to be last year’s hero, SIR DANCELOT, who has missed several engagements for this. For me he is a horse without a trip with six furlongs too short and a seventh beyond him on a stiff track.
However, if Gerald Mosse can get him hidden in the pack and into a rhythm and use his potent turn of foot well inside the distance then he would have a massive chance of defending his title successfully.
Glorious Goodwood and the Galway festival are rapidly approaching – join top tipsters @PaulKealyRP and @DavidJenningsRP from 6pm for a live Q&A on https://t.co/aDE2R2Xfwi – get your questions in now by using the hashtag #RPQA. pic.twitter.com/Y9shk9BpPh
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) July 28, 2019
On Wednesday, the Sussex Stakes is the feature and all eyes will be on the gambled on Too Darn Hot following his imperious display in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.
However, there remain question marks back at a mile and I am very keen to give PHOENIX OF SPAIN another chance here to once again burn off his arch rival just as he did in the Irish 2,000 Guineas two months ago.
He was given a more subdued ride at Ascot in the St James’s Palace and I am hoping that Jamie Spencer lets him loose on the lead this time so he can use his devouring stride to the max.
Later on in the week, keep an eye out for DARK VISION wherever he runs. He is double entered in the three-year-old handicap on Thursday at 1.50 (tightly matched with his Newmarket conqueror Walkinthesand) and the Golden Mile Handicap at 3.00 on Friday. I would prefer him to run in the latter race as a fast pace at that trip could prove to be his optimum set-up.
I would love to see MOMKIN take his chance in the Group Three Thoroughbred Stakes on Friday (2.25), while later on that afternoon DESERT ENCOUNTER can gain his revenge on Communique in the Glorious Stakes at 4.40 as long as the field don’t allow the Mark Johnston horse to dictate matters up front as he did in that Princess of Wales’s Stakes