The Qatar Goodwood Festival, still known colloquially as ‘Glorious Goodwood’, gets going on Tuesday and brings is five days of top-class action and over £5million in prize money is on offer.
The final declarations are in for Tuesday and Wednesday’s action featuring two Group 1’s and five Group races in total with some very high-class horses set to take their chance.
Stradivarius the Star of Day One
Having landed the inaugural £1million Stayers’ Bonus last year, John Gosden’s Stradivarius is on course to do it again in the Goodwood Cup (3.35) on Tuesday.
He looked better than ever in winning his second Yorkshire and Ascot Gold Cup’s this season and is set to be a warm order once more, though much like Enable at the weekend, his odds-on price is as much about bookmakers protecting themselves as it is about his chances.
Old foes Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter re-oppose but in truth they’ll need little Strad to be a few pounds below his best if they are to overturn the Ascot form.
Earlier in the day at 2.25 the Group 2 Vintage Stakes takes place with Godolphin’s Pinatubo the one carrying the weight of expectation this time.
Charlie Appleby’s colt raced away with the Chesham Stakes last time at the royal meeting and sits atop the 2000 Guineas Market, though with Mark Johnston’s Visinari and Aidan O’Brien’s Lope Y Fernandez in opposition he may not get things all his own way.
This is a race that has been won in the past by the likes of Shamardal, Sir Pircy, Galileo Gold and Expert Eye so usually produces something special and is a contest that frankly is a Group 1 in all but name.
The 3.00 is the Lennox Stakes and while there doesn’t seem to be a superstar among this Group 3 field, it is mightily competitive with the likes of Zaaki, Hey Gaman, Sir Dancealot and Space Traveller all capable but look out for a much improved display from Pretty Baby on this better ground too.
Frankie’s Mount Just Too Darn Hot in Sussex?
Wednesday’s highlight is the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in which Gosden and Dettori have the hot favourite once more. Too Darn Hot finished last year as champion juvenile and the highest rated since Frankel, though after some disappointing performances earlier this season it seemed he had lost his mojo.
All of that was put right when he took the Prix Jean Prat over in France last time over seven furlongs though and it seems this easy mile is right up his street. The main threat appears to come from his fellow three-year-olds with Royal Ascot winner Circus Maximus and Irish 2000 Guineas champion Phoenix Of Spain in opposition.
The older horses look over-priced in this race it has to be said with the likes of Accidental Agent, Lord Glitters and Zabeel Prince all capable types although once again those at the head of the market may need to underperform if they are to land a shock.
Should Gosden and Dettori grab another Group 1 double here, look out for Frankie’s rides being limited by bookmakers later in the week.
3.00 sees the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes run, a five-furlong dash for the juveniles. John Quinn’s Liberty Beach may go off favourite after a taking success last time out, but Wesley Ward’s Maven was an equally impressive scorer over at Chantilly last time and has speed to burn despite being by Triple Crown hero American Pharo