THE countdown to Glorious Goodwood is underway, or rather the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Summer has finally arrived with a vengeance and, thankfully, the weather looks set fair for this coming week. The course is being watered to maintain ground that is good to firm (good in places) and after a soggy Ascot it will be great to see a summer racing festival run on proper fast ground.
There is a full preview of Glorious Goodwood day one here.
The highlight will be the £1million Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes and Galileo Gold, Awtaad and The Gurkha, who have won the three major European versions of the 2,000 Guineas this year, headline 14 six-day confirmations on Wednesday.
The three have already met in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when Galileo Gold cemented his place as Europe’s top three-year-old miler with a cosy success over The Gurkha, with Awtaad in third. Frankie Dettori rode a majestic tactical race that day and Galileo Gold also won the G2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last year.
The Gurkha, an emphatic winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Deauville, has subsequently run an excellent second in the 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse at Sandown where he only found Hawkbill too good.
The Coolmore-owned colt is aiming to provide Aidan O’Brien with a fifth Qatar Sussex Stakes victory following Giant’s Causeway (2000), Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008) and Rip Van Winkle (2009).
Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Awtaad (Kevin Prendergast) captured the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh when he readily beat Galileo Gold by two and a half lengths. Other possibles include Falmouth Stakes heroine Alice Springs and G1 Belmont Derby sixth Long Island Sound.
The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester, one of three Godolphin-owned confirmations, was third to Galileo Gold in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas before storming to victory in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
At the prices, ALICE SPRINGS looks interesting at 14/1 in the Sussex Stakes betting market. That looks excellent each-way value and she is an improving filly.
Wednesday’s card also features the £100,000 G3 Bering Ice Gordon Stakes (2.35pm) over a mile and a half, a major St Leger trial and seven of the 15 entries also hold entries for the Doncaster race
They include Algometer (David Simcock), who landed the Listed EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood in May plus Cook Islands (Aidan O’Brien), Goldmember (David Simcock), Harrison (Mick Channon), Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor), The Major General (Aidan O’Brien) and Ventura Storm (Richard Hannon). Other entries for the Bering Ice Gordon Stakes include Ulysses (Sir Michael Stoute), who could bid to bounce back from a disappointing Investec Derby run.
There are 19 entries for the £75,000 G3 Molecomb Stakes over five furlongs. They include Ardad (John Gosden), winner of the Listed Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and Global Applause (Ed Dunlop), a Listed winner at Sandown Park in May and The Last Lion (Mark Johnston) who was runner-up in the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Other Goodwood fancies:
Goodwood Cup: BIG ORANGE produced a cracking performance to win over 1m 4f at Newmarket and bids to win this race for the second year running. The 4/1 available is not ungenerous although Curbyourenthusiasm looks a danger.
Lennox Stakes: This looks tricky and in the absence of Lumiere the Godolphin pair HOME OF THE BRAVE and Dutch Connection can dominate with preference for the former.
Gordon Stakes: Ulysees wil try to redeem his reputation after his Epsom Derby flop where he was about 10 lengths behind ALGOMETER. David Simcock’s likeable colt was not disgraced and he is a course winner who could take some beating here. The 6/1 looks decent value.