Review Qatar Goodwood Festival of Racing 2017

Posted Monday 7th August 6.15pm

“…. one of the most challenging race meetings, one which started in bright sunshine on Tuesday, but deteriorated into a mud bath with 50mm of rain on Wednesday, and ground that was soft or near soft for the rest of the week.” The words of an under fire Clerk of the Course.

The first race of the meeting, a 10F handicap set the tone with the order of the first two reversed in the Stewards room. Goodwood is such a difficult place to punt at. Tuesdays form may well hold up but I’m really wary of the following four days after all that rain and then a fresh strip of ground five metres from the far rail available from Thursday onwards.

What I don’t understand concerning the rain is the CoC didn’t seem to expect that much! Tuesday he said 6-10mm and we should get a couple of races run before it starts. Well it started at 10am and they got five times more than expected!

I will come back to Thursday’s fresh strip of ground more than once as it would seem the Weighing Room had decided it was the ONLY place to race, although some trainers were still choosing high in the draw for the Stewards Cup. Baffling. Mind you was the Stands side definitely slower? We won’t ever know as no horse raced there from Thursday onwards, whereas on Wednesday in the monsoon every horse raced Stands Side! Let’s get more positive!

Stars in my eyes

The two 2yo colts Expert Eye and Barraquerro, who met on debut at Newbury finishing first and third, winning the 7F Vintage and the 6F Richmond respectively. Expert Eye’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute very much gives me the impression that the horse is very much a “now 2yo” whereas Brian Meehan sees Barraquerro as a longer term project, even beyond the 2000 Guineas.

Stoute ‘s reputation is more based around his slow burning middle distance horses, often home bred, and that pipeline was highlighted by an excellent win from the 4yo, Poets Word, and likewise the 3yo Crystal Ocean who is clearly progressive. His victory was in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes which in the past has been won by Stoute horses en route to Group 1. Indeed I would expect both winners to have a go at the top level within the next twelve months.

Winter is a splendid 3yo filly seeing the extra two furlongs out well but this was a soft Group 1.

Battaash is beginning to look the real deal as a sprinter. 5F GF at Sandown to 5F Soft at Goodwood, that is some range. Exciting times ahead for Charlie Hill’s 3yo son of Dark Angel.

Whoops!

If they ran the Goodwood Cup and the Sussex Stakes on decent Good ground or better tomorrow I would still expect Big Orange and Ribchester to win. In the stayers event the Orange dwarved Stradivarius but he could be a useful addition to the division with his next target being the St.Leger and supposedly next season will be a Cup horse.

As for Ribchester, a peculiar effort. Firstly Toscanini looks a total waste of time as a pacemaker. Secondly Ribchester did too much too early, lugged out, then ran on!? The 10F Irish Champions Stakes is being mooted as a possible target. One supposes they are working backwards from the 9F Dubai Turf next March!

sportinglife.com “Richard Fahey is not ruling out a crack at Sunday’s Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois with stable star Ribchester, who despite suffering a shock defeat in treacherous conditions in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. “He’s bouncing and has come out of the race well,” said Fahey on Sunday. “I haven’t drawn a line through France yet and I’ll see how he is this week. I’ll make a decision before Thursday.”

Horrible Handicaps

The BetFred Mile was won by Ryan Moore on Master the World for David Elsworth. I say ‘won’ I mean ‘given to’. Going into this race the 6yo was three from thirty eight, often caught in traffic as he made his run. Not here. From the two furlong pole he had a clear run down the inside no less, on that strip of fresh ground. Can’t believe Martin Dwyer hadn’t got leader and Royal Hunt Cup winner, Feng Zhui, glued to the far rail. More on this race in the Looking Forward section.

The 6F Stewards Cup was won by the one horse put down as likely to lead in Saturday mornings Racing Post excellent pace map, Lancelot du Lac. So was this a three furlong dash to THAT five yard strip? After two furlongs those drawn 20+ were six lengths wrong, ignore their form. More on this race in the Looking Forward section.

Did that really just happen?

Breton Rock won the 7F Lennox round the outside coming from last a furlong out, finishing two to everything else’s one. Billesdon Brook did something similar in the nursery but involved some weaving amongst horses as well. My good thing Rebel Streak beaten a short head by a 100/1 shot!

 

Looking Forward

UAE PRINCE- Watch replay! Winner without a penalty! Came to win race before the dodgems in front.
SHANGHAI GLORY- Run well to get fifth considering he was almost over the rail two out as they all came across.

EDDYSTONE ROCK- Denied a clear run in the Wolferton, denied a clear run here, not a lot of room in last fifty yards when sixth in John Smiths. Get Fox off, put a proper jockey on, off OR99 and a decent C2 10F could be his!

SOUL SILVER – Barged as she came to make her challenge. Kept on hands and heels. C2 8F fillies handicap. No higher.

SAINTED – Never got the run when she wanted to. 7F Soft Listed tops.

GM HOPKINS-Slow from stalls AGAIN! Flat course, few bends, 8F. Still on my Cambridgeshire list.

SHYMKENT- 3yo never got a run. Hampered, ran on. OR90 12F O’Meara. May need to get his toe in. York Ebor Festival?

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