Did I say yesterday looked tricky? Well there have been worse days on the punting front.
Taws started the day finishing second at 16/1 then Scottish also returned second at 8/1. In the Sussex Stakes Arod finished second behind Solow landing the 11/4 withouth the favourite bet.
In the Molecomb, Rouleau finished third at 8/1. Then in the Fillies Handicap the good thing of the day Tazffin proved to be that by winning. She was put up at 7/1 but ended up going off at 7/2. In the final race of the day Carnival King snuck home for fourth at 16/1 to finish with more place money. A good day it shall be said.
Today does look tricky. There doesn’t seem to be much screaming off the page like yesterday but here it is anyway.
14:05 Land Rover Stakes
A Class 2 Handicap to start proceedings on Ladies Day. Racing History heads the market for Godolphin and has won twice from his three starts. His latest was at Chester when winning nicely and that form was given some strength yesterday when the sixth Nancy From Nairobi finished second in the Fillies Handicap behind Tazzfin. He still showed signs of greenness but looked like there was further improvement in him. For that win he has gone up 8lb but is still a played in this race. However he is already looking a little on the skinny side in the market.
More of my attention has focused on Keble for John Gosden. He got off the mark in his fourth maiden over course and distance. That doesn’t tell the whole story because he came up against up useful opposition in his first three starts. On debut at Newcastle he was behind Stravagante, who won a handicap on Derby day but is sadly no longer with us. His next two maidens came at Newbury where he was behind Intilaaq and Scottish respectively. Intilaaq beat Consort in a Listed race when last seen while Scottish was second yesterday in Group 3 company. That shows he’s bumped into some good horses. He did end up winning a relatively weak maiden here two starts ago. On handicap debut at Windsor he travelled well throughout and looked the most likely winner but was held and defeated by a neck to Argus. The cheekpieces are on for the first time here and off his mark of 91 there should be more to come. With his price I’d rather take him than the favourite.
Reasonant holds form over a few of these after winning a similar handicap at Newmarket two starts ago when making all to win by nearly four lengths. Gibeon was the closest to him that day but this Richard Hannon horse is a serial placer. Mark Johnston’s runner is clearly going to get out from stall six and make the running, which he could do if given a soft lead. Also in that Newmarket handicap was Awesome Power running in the Queen’s colours. He finished ninth of ten that day but was too keen and blew his chance. If you can forgive him for that then he’ll be a player here after winning quite nicely at Sandown previously. Well drawn and drying ground further positives to his chances.
One that I like at a bigger price is Banditry. Michael Bell’s charge was second here last month to Chain Of Daises, who has since won twice more since then and seems to be going from strength to strength. That second was in an apprentice race over this course and he seemed to handle it well. He stepped up in class on his next start and won at Epsom beating Triple Dip. At Chester he had no chance of winning and finished second 4l behind Cyril but for me he is one that could show further improvement, which he will need to do stepping up in class. It’s worth pointing out that both of his wins have come with Jamie Spencer on board and the pair are reunited here. The wide draw is a negative.
Advice: Keble (7/1 each-way)
Banditry (16/1 each-way)
14:35 Qatar Richmond Stakes
The first group race of the day and is this Group 2 6f sprint. Aidan O’Brien has taken Air Force Blue out which again is disappointing and removes that further depth to this race.
Shalaa does set the standard after winning the Group 2 Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month. That win came despite showing signs of greenness when running away from the whip but still held off Steady Pace to win by 1l. He travelled nicely at Newmarket and when he was asked to quicken to did so decisively showing he could be a really smart type and further improvement can’t be ruled out here. The form from the July Stakes doesn’t look too bad with Areen, who finished sixth going to France and placing 3rd in the Prix Robert Papin. On top of that the seventh Sixth Sense won a Listed race last Saturday at Ascot. He carries top weight, including the 3lb Group penalty, so I’m looking elsewhere to possibly find some value.
Steady Pace was second to Shalaa at Newmarket and has strong form in the book. He was third to Washington DC in the Listed Windsor Castle and was third in the Listed National Stakes behind King Of Rooks. That form entitles him to be in contention. Riflescope won a Listed race at Sandown when last seen. However, on his sole start at this trip he finished seventh of eight at Newbury, in a race won by Birchwood. He may be better suited to 5f. Richard’s Hannon and Hughes have a good record in this race. They team up with Log Out Island, who has a bit to prove, especially stamina wise after finishing third of five at the Curragh in a Group 2 last month. Best form comes when given a soft lead over 5f and this may not play to his strengths. Can’t be discounted but still has a bit to prove in my book.
Paul Hanagan has chosen to ride Tasleet, who won the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury when last seen by a neck. There looks to be more to come from him but this will take a further step up on that form, which is plausible. However Elronaq has form in Group company after his third behind Shalaa and Steady Pace in the July Stakes. I’d just fancy him to run somewhere close to that form and seems a little overpriced based on the strength of the form in behind. I’m not fully expecting him to reverse the form with Shalaa but the tactics of him leading in that race may not have helped and with other pace angles in this race he may be able to sit prominently before challenging.
Advice: Elronaq (16/1 each-way)
15:10 Qatar Goodwood Cup
This is another Group contest of the day and it’s a race where six of the last ten favourites have won. Trip To Paris has gone from strength to strength this spring. He runs here under a penalty following his Ascot Gold Cup win but this looks easier than that considering he won decisively in the end. He’s versatile with trip and ground, so there’s a lot in his favour. Previously won the Chester Cup and then second to Vent De Force at Sandown, the winner had the run of the race from the front that evening, and the way he’s been going you do wonder if there could be slightly more about him. The only slight concern would be about the track as a whole suiting him.
Big Orange gamely stuck to his task when winning the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket when last seen. The first time cheekpieces seemed to help that day with the way he stuck to his task. However here you have to question his stamina, which he hasn’t proven when racing over this trip but he has previously done well over 1m6f. He’s gone up to a mark of 116 and that could potentially limit him here. Oriental Fox won the Queen Alexandra, the final race at Royal Ascot, beating Taws, who was second yesterday. However stepping into Group company will be difficult for him therefore would need improvement. Has proved his stamina and should go well again on just second start of the season.
Three-year-olds don’t have a good record in this race. The last one to win was Lucky Moon back in 1990, so Vive Ma Fille has her work cut out. She’s a really interesting runner and one that could prove massively overpriced at 20/1. She has only won once, which was her maiden on an all-weather surface, but comes into this race receiving lots of weight. She ran in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot where she led for a long way but in the end finished a creditable fourth and only beaten by 1½l. That was her first attempt at the trip and should be better for that experience; if similar tactics are employed she could be tricky to pass, especially with Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle.
Quest For More has shown improvement for going up in trip. He won the Northumberland Plate when last seen and had previously won here at the course. The way he has been progressing suggests he could do so again here and he’ll need to stepping into this sort of company. Scotland is interesting and struggled for racing room when sixth in the Ascot Gold Cup. He doesn’t win too often but placed in the King Edward VII last year and has run creditably since without much luck. He is one to see if there is support for.
Advice: Trip To Paris (4/1 win)
15:45 Markel Insurance Fillies Stakes
A bit of an uninspiring Group 3 for Fillies, so lets get straight to the point. Lustrous may be worth chancing here with the way she stayed on over 1m4f and Haydock in the Lancashire Oaks when there was some juice in the ground. The way she ran on after racing near the head of affairs suggested this trip could be within her range. In that race she ran on past Jordan Princess, so hopefully can confirm that form here. She held some fairly good form last year, as she was second in the Ribblesdale, while she also won a Listed race at York. Her sire Champs Elysees seems to have a good record from his progeny at this trip from the few runners he’s had and she shaped like she’d get it at Haydock. The only worrying factor would be her two previous runs at this track finishing seventh of 11 and fifth of six.
Hidden Gold completed a four-timer over winter, three of which came on the all-weather. It’s worth pointing out that she beat Arab Dawn, who won a Royal Ascot handicap, and Miss Marjurie, who has since won a Listed race and a Group 3. She returned to turf at Ascot finishing fifth behind Mizzou over 2m and stayed on close to the line. The trip should be fine and could continue her progress. Kaldera represents Germany and has a strong chance on the back of her run at Hamburg. She was third by just a ½l in a Group 2 and proved herself at this trip last season when winning a Listed race and Group 3 race over this distance. She could have more to come on just her third start this season.
Arabian Comet and Jordan Princess met last time at Newmarket and the latter prevailed with Arabian Comet only fourth. Both have chances here but I can’t be confident about either. Luca Cumani’s filly dictated that race and made all to win. She likes it around here but does have stamina to prove. William Haggas’ runner has placed twice from three starts here and again has stamina to prove; if she’s back to her best she could reverse that form but it is a big if.
Advice: Lustrous (9/1 each-way)
16:20 New Ham Maiden Fillies Stakes
As you will have seen over the last few days I’m not one usually to bet or put something forward in maidens. However today is slightly different, as there is one runner I’m quite interested in.
That runner is Richard Hannon’s Greenfyre. She was very disappointing last time at Newmarket finishing eighth of nine. She was one paced in the closing stages when hampered, so it wouldn’t have made much difference overall. However going back to her debut run she showed plenty of promise. The winner of that Newbury maiden looked a really classy type in La Rioja. Yesterday we saw the form of this race franked when Alamode, who was fourth, win race five on the card. That day Greenfyre was 2½l clear of Alamode and they were both making their debuts. Hannon’s filly is stepping up in trip here, which is something that should suit and is ideally drawn in stall seven. At a double figure price she may hopefully return the promise she showed on debut.
Notary heads the market after finishing third on debut at Newmarket. It was a promising debut and represents a stable that’s horses always come on for the experience. She was slow away and did have a chance to win it but didn’t. Likely to be better here and should go close. Tholen is one of the more exposed in this field having had three starts but has improved with everyone. The step up to this trip seemed to help her at Chester when second by a head to Aneesah. Can be ridden to lead and has a good draw to be able to do that but will need to find more here.
Of the newcomers Pure Diamond and Sunset Dream are the ones shortest in the market while Miss Blondell is quite interesting. Pure Diamond has to overcome a wide draw on debut but her dam was a Group 3 winner as a juvenile in France and also placed in the German Oaks. Good pedigree and worth a market check. Sunset Dream represents last year’s winning connections but yard hasn’t been firing in the winners just yet over the last couple of days. Trip looks fine based on pedigree but one possibly to take out of the race. I say Miss Blondell is the interesting contender as Marcus Tregoning won the maiden yesterday with Alamode. He’s a trainer in form and this filly is related to some nice types. Her pedigree is one with a mix of speed and stamina. On debut would be the concern but may be another to take from the race.
Advice: Greenfyre (12/1 each-way)
16:55 Telegraph Nursery Stakes
This looks a trappy nursery where 17 inexperienced runners are set to take to the stalls.
Melabi is the current favourite and got off the mark at the second time of asking. His form could be boosted if Elronaq runs well in the Richmond Stakes, as he finished fourth behind him on debut. He improved for his first start and that’s what told in the closing stages at Doncaster when he beat Ribchester. She stayed on well and should be able to see out this extra furlong based on pedigree. From that maiden a couple have ran since without winning but did improve on their positions. Montsarrat made it two from two at Catterick when winning a dual against Cotton Camera. He carries a 6lb penalty but is proven at this trip and comes from a yard that usually has winners here. He’ll have to step up on what he has shown but that is plausible. He stayed close to the pace on debut at Salisbury and overcame greenness to take a weak looking maiden, but could prove himself useful if stepping up here.
Patrick O’Donnell is making a name for himself of late and has a 33% strike rate in the last 14 days with five winners from 15 rides. His 7lb claim could prove very useful on Lagenda here. This colt won at Wetherby at 33/1 last time beating an odds-on Mark Johnston runner and did it nicely. The strength of that race could be questioned and he’ll need to improve here but from his mark could prove interesting. Top weight Tawdheef was third in a handicap when last seen at Newmarket only beaten by 1l, which has seen him go up 2lb. That is arguably some of the best form in this race from what little has been shown, so should be a contender.
Essenaitch ran in a Listed race at Ascot on Saturday finishing last of four but was only beaten by 3l and it wasn’t that bad a run against some promising rivals. Stepping back in class here and off a mark of 80 is likely to go well if it’s not too soon. When the handicapper next assesses him he is due to go up by 10lb, so may be able to capitalise off this relatively low mark. He won a 13-runner maiden in good style at Windsor and the fourth was Inland Sea, who won the maiden here on Tuesday. Overall at a double figure price he could have been dismissed all too easily.
Art Collection is running for the first time since being gelded. His first two starts showed promise. He was behind Tawdheef on debut and beat Field Of Vision at Brighton on his second start. When running in a Listed race last time he was well beaten but can’t be discounted too easily. Martini Time ran on well at Leicester to win a nursery under Silvestre De Sousa. She is 6lb higher here but did show a likable attitude considering she dwelt in the stalls, which may be a trait, but showed some good speed in the latter stages.
Advice: Essenaitch (14/1 each-way)
17:30 Tatler Stakes
A tricky 5f sprint to close day three and the in-form Midlander must be on most shortlists. He has won his last four races, all on differing grounds, but carrying a 6lb penalty will makes thinks harder. He is likely to want to front-run and he may be able to however the draw may be a slight concern.
At a bigger price is Richard Fahey’s Patrick, who won very nicely at Carlisle three weeks ago. He was fluent throughout and travelled like a dream and despite stepping up in class looks to have more to come. The 6lb rise may look lenient. He has previously won over further, so has that extra bit of stamina to fall back on. A strongly ran race should suit him and with a few front-runners in this race he could be the one running on late to take the prize. With it being a sprint you could run it a number of times with varying outcomes.
Rathaath has won a very fast ground at Bath, so connections will be happy that it’s drying out but it may not be quick enough for her. Can’t say her form is the strongest but she’ll appreciate a strongly ran race. Brian Meehan won this race in 2005 and 2011. Maljaa has improved for both of his starts and could go one better here. Third on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket was a good effort before a dead-heat for second at the same track last time out; the horse he dead-heated with was Top Boy and he finished second in the sprint here on Tuesday. Roger Varian is a trainer in form of late, so his runners need to be respected; from the last 14 days he’s had 11 winners from 27 at a strike rate of 41%.
Mark Johnston has a couple in this race on top of Midlander. Another one of his is Showstoppa who will be ridden prominently and has previously made all to win. She was second on soft ground six days ago and wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much than what it already is. She did win by a neck on good ground at Ripon but she may prefer it with some cut. Exposed and will need a career best however she is 5lb well in because when she’s next assessed by the handicapper she’ll go up to a mark of 87; she could make that count here today.
Two others of note are Judicial, who is unbeaten from three starts but was awarded race win debut as the winner Strath Burn was found with a prohibitive substance. He’s been off-course for nearly a year since winning a weak Novices Stakes at Wolverhampton but returns a gelding. This is very competitive but he looks a smart juvenile and could be better than his mark of 88. There is pace in the stall next to him being drawn next to Showstoppa, so he may be able to track her run. However he’s never raced in this size of field and sometimes that can be a negative. The other to note is Wild Tobacco, who has been off even longer than Judicial. He’s been off for 446 days but he won an average maiden, Primrose Valley was third and has won six times since, mainly on the all-weather but ran a good third behind Magical Memory during the July Festival at Newmarket. His fitness is a question mark and in a competitive race may struggle for his first time back.
Advice: Patrick (12/1 each-way – Stan James)