4th August 2017
In this week’s issue….
Our target race tomorrow is the Stewards’ Sprint Handicap at Goodwood (1.50) – the consolation race for horses that didn’t make it into the Stewards’ Cup itself….
This is no second-rater though. It’s a decent race in its own right. And certainly competitive. A field of 21-runners goes to post on ground currently described as soft.
I’d expect that going description to improve between now and the off. Goodwood sits atop the Sussex Downs – which are basically all chalk. As such, water drains away quickly. The turf at Goodwood can dry out remarkably swiftly.
The market is sweet on Andrew Balding’s Scorching Heat. Fair enough.
He’s been running well and progressing in nibbles up the rankings. But I’m not sure his performances are quite hot enough to justify his market position. He’s the favourite at 7s.
A better favourite for me would have been Richard Fahey’s filly, The Wagon Wheel.
She’s produced two cracking performances – at York and Chester – since being fitted with blinkers.
She gives the ready impression that there is more to come and she gets in here a couple of pounds to the good at the weights under a 6lb penalty.
The 9s is a fair enough price and I must confess, it makes some appeal….
We’ll get to my selections for tomorrow’s race in a moment….
The valuable and prestigious Stewards’ Cup is the feature race down at Goodwood tomorrow afternoon….
A huge field of 20-odd runners goes at it hammer and tongues up the 6f straight – and I’m taking two against the field….
I’m also playing in the Summer Handicap a little earlier on the card. I think there’s an improving sort primed to produce a big run off a workable mark….
You can get immediate access to these extra bets on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
The Richard Hughes-trained and aptly-named GOODWOOD CRUSADER is being overlooked at the prices. I simply must snap-up the 14s available about him – 12s is also widely available.
He won five on the bounce earlier in the summer – the last of that sequence in against older horses. He’s gone up the ratings to the tune of 31lbs since the turn of the year – immediately after being gelded.
He sits now on a mark of 94. And I reckon there is still more to come. He still hasn’t won anything better than a 6k race and I know Richard Hughes believes there’s a big pot to be won with the 3yo.
He said as much early in July. When asked by reporters what plans he had for the horse, Hughes responded….
‘Let’s try and win a £100,000 handicap first before thinking of the next stage.’
They had a first crack at that mission at Newmarket last month. It didn’t go according to plan. The horse didn’t get the clearest run.
But he did finish his race off well and I don’t think his 7th place finish – beaten just over 4-lengths – was an indication that the handicapper has him in his grip or that he’s peaked in terms of fitness or form.
Instead I believe he turns up here with a live chance on his second tilt at a big pot. And I think the price underestimates him.
He’ll need things to fall right. His upturn in form has coincided with a change in tactics – 7lb claimer Finlay march (who retains the ride) has been holding him up and letting him come late. At Goodwood, you can’t rely on always getting the gaps when you need them. But, if he gets a bit of luck Goodwood Crusader is a player at a price.
The other one I like is Paul Midgley’s MANSHOOD at 14s. He’s done nothing wrong in his last three runs, he’s progressed sweetly-enough for each one and a 6lb penalty for his win at Hamilton last time will not be sufficient to stop him.
A mark in the low 80s simply can’t put the lid on this progressive 4yo and he’s another with a live chance. The booking of Andrea Atzeni is another big plus. He rides Goodwood with aplomb.
GOODWOOD CRUSADER @ 14s & 12s (Generally)
MANSHOOD @ 14s (Generally)
The standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4. Don’t let me put you off if you like to play each-way. Personally, I’ll be two-against-the-field – backing both horses win only.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.