Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Goodwood continues to frustrate

29-July-2021 18:56
in General
by Admin

There is little doubt that Goodwood is one of the most picturesque racecourses in the world but it has always been one of the trickiest as far as punting is concerned. This week's five day Qatar Festival has been no different. Last weekend, Dave Ord of asked me to write an article highlighting five horses to watch out for over the week. Onasis ran a blinder finishing a close second in the Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes on Wednesday. With a better draw, Charlie Fellowes' stable star might have prevailed but there are no complaints because Hayley Turner produced her mount at the right time but couldn't reel in Last Empire.

On Thursday, I nominated Perfect Power in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and, while the formbook tells us that Richard Fahey's Royal Ascot winner only finished fifth of the seven runners. Those facts don't do his performance justice though. Granted the rub of the green, I am convinced Paul Hanagan's mount would have won. Slowly away, the son of Ardad was immediately on the backfoot but he was in contention at halfway. However, he then met trouble in running on two occasions with the former dual champion jockey being tightened up at crucial stages. Beaten a length and a quarter, it is hoped he gains compensation in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York next month. 

My third fancy, Twilight Calls was sent off favourite in the concluding five furlongs handicap on Thursday. Henry Candy's progressive three year old had successfully dropped back to the minimum trip at Newmarket earlier this month and, despite an eight pounds rise in the ratings, I was expecting him to go close. For the majority of the race, he looked like the winner, too, and was the last horse to come off the bridle. Sadly, David Probert's mount didn't find as much as expected once let down and only kept on at the one pace. Beaten three lengths, it is possible the easy ground blunted his turn of speed - his form figures on good to soft ground are 54 compared to 22121 on good or faster conditions. Despite this reversal, there is a good sprint in him. He is tailormade for the five furlongs apprentice handicap for three year olds at York's Ebor Festival (21st August). The likes of Tweet Tweet will ensure it is a breakneck gallop from the outset and that will play into his hands. 

Looking ahead, I have selected Great Ambassador in the Stewards' Cup on Saturday. Drawn in stall 7, he will be ridden by William Buick for the first time and Ed Walker has laid him out for the six furlongs cavalry charge having missed the cut in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. That's the good news. The bad news is that he needs good or faster ground and, while conditions are drying out by the day, rain is forecast on Thursday evening into Friday. The underfoot conditions will determine his chance.

Well done to Rich and Susannah Ricci who won the Galway Hurdle for a second time in four years with the talented Saldier regaining the winning thread. Rich has been telling me for the last three years that the ex-French gelding was a champion hurdle horse but with the exception of his win in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle in 2019, he hasn't had much luck. Twelve months earlier, the Soldier Hollow gelding broke his cheekbone having been kicked after hitting the deck at Naas. A winner on the Flat at Listowel in June, he produced a terrific performance to win one of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the year off top weight of 11st 10lb and a rating of 155. Sporting cheekpieces for the first time, he beat Milkwood by a couple of lengths. The runner-up would have been much closer with a clearer run after the last. 

At a lesser level, Guinness Affair made it two out of two since being bought by when taking the concluding novices' hurdle at Stratford on Thursday. Trained by Jamie Snowden, the five year old had won a bumper at Huntingdon in May and made a smooth transition to obstacles with a ready win. Making all, the gelded son of Fuisse overcame a mistake at the third last before staying on strongly to win by a handful of levels. He is another astute acquistion to the syndicate. 

Finally, congratulations to William Jarvis and his team following Lady Bowthorpe's win in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. It was the Newmarket trainer's first Group 1 winner for 27 years and richly deserved. A Group 3 winner last term, the daughter of Nathaniel has improved throughout 2021 winning the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes on the Rowley Mile in May before finishing second in both the Lockinge and Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Newbury and Royal Ascot respectively. Beaten a length in the Falmouth Stakes on the July course last time, the five year old was tackling ten furlongs for the first time here. The trip wasn't an issue though as she comfortably scored by a length and a half. I have never met Jarvis but grew up watching horses such as Contract Law, Grand Lodge and Weld in the late 1980s/early 1990s. There was an excellent article with him in last Sunday's Racing Post and I couldn't be more pleased for him. That comment also goes to Lady Bowthorpe's rider Kieran Shoemark. who has suffered adversity in recent years but has bounced back tremendously well. I met Kieran at Pontefract in the spring and he was a gentleman. The icing on the cake was seeing Luca Cumani sat in the stands at Goodwood. It was a superb result all round.


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