Day 1 of the Goodwood Festival. For years Goodwood has been the mid-season showdown that features many of the top european stars, and this year is no different. Day one kicks off with a slew of great action, highlighted by Stradivarius and his attempt at a 5th win in the Goodwood Cup. He was foiled in his attempt to make history at Royal Ascot, but gets a second chance today. For many who tuned in around the US to watch the festivities of Royal Ascot, there will be many familiar faces. From two year old winners, top sprinters and the best stayers in the world, welcome to the aptly named, Glorious Goodwood!
Race 1 – Chesterfield Cup Handicap – 1 1/4 Miles, 4 & Up
3 – Johnny Drama – Found success in his first start back on the turf after a long string of races on the all-weather surface. As much as the All-Weather season in England is not where the majority of the premier horses start, there has been a decently strong showing from those contenders. All-weather specialist Bangkok came out on the turf and stole a narrow win in the GII York Stakes last weekend. Another rival of his was Felix, who finished 2nd in the GIII Winter Derby and ran a strong 3rd in the GI Dubai Turf. Expect him to improve as he hits the lawn for the 2nd time this prep.
7 – Cockalorum – Made the jump up to class 2 handicap company last start and just missed to Johnny Drama. This son of Cape Cross has had a good prep so far and most importantly has handled give in the ground in each start. As consistent of a horse as you’ll find in this field, just needs to get over the hump outside of class 4 races.
16 – It’s Good To Laugh – Just missed last time out at Chester on ground that could be similar to what we will see today. His other effort over a yielding course came over course and distance and ran a respectable second. The first start of the prep is a throwout and gets the services of Oisin Murphy this time around.
Race 2 – GII Vintage Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 2 Year Olds
5 – Eldrickjones – Yet to find the winner’s enclosure but ran extremely well in the GII Coventry at Royal Ascot and had a rough trip in the July Stakes. Danny Tudhope jumps back aboard after Adam Kirby picked up the mount over the July Course at Newmarket. Has never touched a track with give in the ground so that is a concern, but not a major one. Visually he looks like a horse who could handle more distance, even though being a son of Cotai Glory(By Exceed And Excel) tells you 5 or 6 furlongs would be ideal.
1 – Berkshire Shadow – 2 for 2 in the young career of this son of Dark Angel. Charged well up the stands side rail in a game effort over firm going. Broke the maiden over a good track at Newbury, however it will be a test jumping up to 7 furlongs. Based on breeding he would be a specialist over 6 furlongs, but there is little doubt in his ability overall.
7 – The Acropolis – Showed some promise early in his career but has faltered twice when jumping into stakes company. Both of his subpar efforts came on decent ground and has shown ability on the soft going. There is a good amount of rain expected early in the morning so if enough moisture gets into the ground, it will play to his benefit. Being by sire Churchill, the 7 furlongs to a mile could make a difference as well, albeit the dam side performed at 5 furlongs. The expectations were high for The Acropolis and I am not ready to give up on him just yet.
Race 3 – GII Lennox Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 3 & Up
12 – Creative Force – Wasn’t thrilled with the trip this three year old got in the GI July Cup, defeated by many of the top sprinters in the UK including Starman, Dragon Symbol and Oxted. Prior to that run, he was an undefeated 4 for 4 this season, including a win over a soft track at Ascot in the Jersey Stakes. Jockey William Buick rides the other Godolphin runner in Space Blues so James Doyle gets the mount. Space Blues will need a start first up from Dubai, Creative Force is the one to be with.
5 – Kinross – After a lackluster season in Dubai, Kinross came back to the UK and received a gelding operation. He looked impressive when winning the GIII John Of Gaunt Stakes over the distance at Haydock and raced on suitable ground. Both efforts at Meydan came over a mile and that is not where this horse is at his best. The cutback in distance paid off at Haydock and it should do the same for him on Tuesday.
8 – Real Appeal – Picked up his first stakes win last time out at Leopardstown, albeit hanging a bit in the stretch. His runs so far this season have been very impressive, especially his 3rd in the Mallow Handicap at Cork two back. Jessica Harrington’s regular rider, Shane Foley, stays in Ireland this week so Oisin Murphy takes the ride. Has improved greatly from three to four and is rounding into form at the right time.
Race 4 – GI Goodwood Cup – 2 Miles, 3 & Up
8 – Sir Ron Priestley – His career has had its ups and downs. Showed great talent as the three year old, missed his four year season and has come back in fantastic form at 5. He has never contested this distance but his family says it shouldn’t be a problem. A half-brother to Subjectivist, the winner of the Gold Cup at Ascot, beating most of these rivals, but was sidelined due to injury. This son of top stayer Australia has proven so much in his comeback season and I think this race will be a good chance to do it again.
11 – Trueshan – A bit of give in the ground will make a major difference for the British Champions Long Distance Cup winner. Plugged along over the all-weather at Newcastle last time out and was disappointing, but the effort at Chester was very strong behind an improving Japan. Has defeated some very talented stayers over bogged down ground at Ascot. If the rain comes like it is supposed to, Trueshan becomes a very live chance.
1 – Amhran Na Bhfiann – Two starts back I used this horse in the Gold Cup as a big longshot. I felt it was a big step up for him but he had talent and would prove it later in the prep. I may have been proven right when he won the GII Curragh Cup next time out, but made nothing on it. Despite that, he is a very talented stayer and injury cost him the majority of his three year old season, outside of a 3rd in the GI Epsom Derby behind Serpentine. This will be a step back up in class for him as it was at Ascot, however he is much more forward in his prep and could put his best foot forward at a big price.
10 – Stradivarius – Not much else to say about Stradivarius, he is a legendary stayer. He comes in looking to make history by winning his 5th Goodwood Cup. Stradivarius is the class of the stayer division and has been so for most of his career. He was looking for a history-making 4th Gold Cup at Ascot and was turned away by a dazzling performance by Subjectivist, who is now sidelined due to injury. He will be the heavy favorite and has beaten many of these horses in the past, but collectively it’s the best group of horses he has faced. The same was said when he faced the field at Ascot and minus Subjectivist, this field will make it tough on him to make history at Glorious Goodwood.