Paul Jacobs’ Goodwood & Galway value plays:
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Ever since I saw Chalon land this Group Three event way back in 1982, as a wee boy, with Lester Piggott looking cheekily over his shoulder at Willie Carson, this fillies and mares event has been a race close to my heart. That aside, it is the head which has decided this value selection of DREAM OF LOVE in what looks a mighty open renewal. Olivia Maralda is the official top rated and by a full 4lbs to boot from Breege and the beaten Duke of Cambridge favourite Jumbly. You could make solid arguments for both especially the Joseph O’Brien runner, but the value here could be with the boys in blue.
I have been waiting for this daughter of Shamardal to return to an easier surface and she remains one the least exposed in the field in what looks an open renewal, she is rated 3lbs behind the top two. As a juvenile she finished second in the Listed Montrose Stakes over a mile on soft ground, weakening in the closing stages after becoming unbalanced. Beaten a short head by Mawj in Dubai, she subsequently finished way behind that filly in the 1,000 Guineas, sent off at 17/2. Two subsequent runs on fast ground didn’t suit and with the drop back to 7f set to suit on this surface, we have yet to see the best of her.
Brain Hughes takes over this time on Hewick in the Galway Plate, some 12lbs higher than winning this race under a fabulous ride from Jordan Gainford last season. Off a 12lbs higher mark and more pertinently, on much softer ground he can be opposed. As much as the eight-year-old has improved in the past 12 months, giving up 7lbs and upwards to his 21 rivals looks a huge ask.
Final Orders, will be suited by a fast pace around this sharp track and along with the race fit Ash Tree Meadow is on my short list, the last named was fourth last year beaten seven lengths and is now 12lbs better off with the winner. But it is his stable mate HOLLOW GAMES that makes the most appeal.
As a novice hurdler, he thought to be one of Gordon Elliott’s better stayers, but he endured numerous problems and was hugely disappointing when promoted to graded level. Switched to fences, apart from pulling up in the Arkle, he has looked as though a step up in trip would be the making of him and off a lowly rating of 142, he is worth chancing in this valuable affair. Particularly, if ridden with plenty of restraint at the back of the midfield, off what is sure to be a hot pace. Kilcruit may need to have things his own way and I’m not so sure a mark of 160 is anything like a gimme.
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Coverdale only just does enough in his races and it would be a huge mistake to suggest that his his improvement has come to an end. His first win came off a mark of 74 and his fourth off 86. Set to race off a rating of 91 he remains of interest, but quite obviously needs a career-best effort to continue the sequence. The free going Perfuse looks sure to be suited to the step down in trip after bottoming out late on in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, while Garden Route was impressive from the front at Windsor. However, the return to a more forgiving surface could be the key to the selection PROMOTER, who has twice spoiled his chance with sluggish starts, but from stall 15 I would expect him to slot in behind the leaders in any case.
I was taken by his performance in the Lester Piggott Handicap at Epsom when he once again missed the kick and then ran on, when the race had been signed, sealed and delivered by the useful Torito. There is little doubt that he has a little bit of temperament about him, but running through beaten horses in a well-run race with juice in the ground could be his optimum conditions. At the price looks interesting with the enhanced placed terms.
This is nearly always one of the most difficult puzzles during the five days on ‘The Downs’ and the market is usually a really good guide for this 7f nursery to those expected to step up on their first run in handicap company. Doddie’s Impact is better than his flat show at Newbury last time out and if the forecast rains come, I expect him to be strong in the market, while the step back up to 7f should help Gamraan from the in-form Richard Fahey yard.
But the selection PHONE TAG comes here with plenty of potential as well and the form of his opening maiden run has worked out nicely. Last time out he just seemed to run green when the pace quickened up at Leicester and has been gelded since and has the addition of the first-time blinkers. Both will hopefully have a positive effect on the son of Havana Grey and an end-to-end gallop here should play to his staying strengths.
Others worth noting if declared:
On Friday at Goodwood, the Goodwood Handicap (1.50) over 2m 4f looks like being an even more thorough test of stamina than usual if the weather forecast is right. And although he is rated much higher in the UK, this is the type of race that Gordon Elliott’s TRONADOR has been crying out for if declared to run.
The Guinness Handicap over 1m 4f at Galway on Friday at 6.35 also interests me, but with 40 still entered in the race at the time of writing, if he is declared I could not put you off ZOFFMAN. The four-year-old had a fabulous 2022 winning off 56 and placed off 67 and he then won again off 78. This season the Noel Meade trained four-year-old took another step forward on his belated seasonal debut when a strong finishing second to Safecracker off a rating of 91.
Paul Jacobs’ Goodwood & Galway value plays:
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- When is the Galway Plate? Galway Date, Start Time, Runners & Betting Odds