Head to Head
A detailed preview of Saturday’s feature Group 1 with Shayne O’Cass and Ray Hickson
1. BLACK HEART BART
SO: Last back to back Goodwood winner was Muskett Belle in 1911/12. Doesn’t mean anything to Black Heart Bart’s chance I know but just saying. The horse has won Group 1’s at his last two, he’s freshup here to concentrate on his title defence and is a damn fine chance to do it. That draw was a big help barring bad luck in the straight.
RH: It was 100 years since horse won the Newmarket first-up until a couple of months ago so history can be broken. And Bart is impossible to knock. Aside from the Cox Plate he’s run first or second every time since he came Perth. Just remarkable. I think we agree he’s clearly the best horse in the race, the obvious to beat and entitled to be favourite.
SO: This guy beat Black Heart Bart in the Australia Stakes as you well know Hickson and he beat him by 2-lens. Admittedly, that was when Malaguerra was first-up and that’s he is at his most deadly. Had the time off since the TJ on April 1 where beat half of them home.
RH: There is dead set two of Malaguerra. He was always going to be too nippy for BHB coming off a Cox Plate prep but it’s a different scenario here. Bart towelled him up the next time they met. The question comes down to this – do you trust Malaguerra produce his best. If you do, he’s a super chance. don’t, easy to lay. I fall slightly towards the latter.
SO: I know he ran second in the Oakleigh Plate during this preparation but the McKay was a return to form for this horse and brought him back into Goodwood contention. He is 3s 2w at the t/d was 5th in the 2016 at his only unplaced run.
RH: I remember declaring him basically a moral the start before the Oakleigh Plate and he was
first horse beaten. Then turns it all around. flops a couple more times, then he runs
respectable race in the McKay as noted. Not reliable enough for me to get keen.
4. HEY DOC
SO: I would have given him a sneaky chance until he drew the 21 gate. He’ll come in one or two horses on race day but it’s still a very awkward draw for a horse with onpace tendencies.
RH: It is going to take a special effort for him win this. Do they commit to trying offset it by going forward? Does he have the pace at 1200m to do that in open company given his supreme performances have been at 1400m and a mile? Do they reinvent him as a backmarker? Too many questions. Has the ability to win but faces some massive hurdles.
5. ILLUSTRIOUS LAD
SO: He is a Wylie winner and ran a great race in the Irwin but, in reality, they are rung or two below the Goodwood and certainly when a horse like Black Heart Bart is involved. Little bit of trivia, this guy is by I Am Invincible who had Takeover Target worried until late in that famous 2008 Goodwood.
RH: I have to say he was the best of good things beaten in Irwin. He went around outside fence, virtually, and still finished a length from the winner. That said it’s going to take a massive performance for him to get back, or even sit wide midfield, and run them down with twice the opposition as last time. Not to mention a lot more depth.
6. SECRET AGENDA
SO: Well, she just keeps winning Hickson! I didn’t give her any chance in the Sapphire and even less Sangster only because I liked some others in both races at the time. What do they say about in form mares? The gate was a big assist.
RH: I recall saying she could be competitive in the Sangster with a bit of luck and they certainly took luck out of mix by going to the front improving her position. She could conceivably land on lead again and take running down. No knock.
7. VEGA MAGIC
SO: These two WA horses, past and present, namely Vega Magic
First Among Equals interest me enormously but I can’t quite line them up against each other. We spoke about that very thing on Wednesday morning so I will hand over to you for the judgment.
RH: I have a strong opinion about Vega Magic. If he’s ridden to use his speed by either leading or sitting on the pace then he is a genuine winning chance. His ability to roll is his asset. We watched his first-up run from last prep, which (with due respect) was a major case of pilot error so that can be overlooked. His two jump outs since joining Lindsay Park have been sound and he certainly is good enough to win.
SO: Weir is an absolute magician and I never say never about anything he saddles up but I’d be a bit surprised if he could get Rageese over the line. I mean he’s no Black Heart Bart.
RH: Far too enigmatic for my liking and beaten six lengths by Malibu Style, another WA horse, last time. Now as handy as Malibu Style is, taking on Vega Magic is a couple of steps up let alone considering Bart. Can’t win.
SO: There’s a few good, tough SA locals hoping to fend off the interstate challengers, and this fellow is one. What a horse, he’s commemorated his 50th start with a Group 3 in the McKay – amazing. That draw – ouch!
RH: Seems like he’s been around forever and you could argue he is in career best form. He did overcome the outside to win last time but he’s going need all the favours at this level. This is his third shot the Goodwood – fourth in 2013 and sixth in 2014 so he probably won’t disgrace himself.
10. SANTA ANA LANE
SO: Holy smokes he was good at Wagga in the Town Plate. Granted that was a Wagga Plate and this is Group 1 Goodwood but methinks they’ll run this race precisely like that, pressure up front, swoopers may reign. He’s a player.
RH: As a former big fan of this horse I don’t like ruling him out. But as you rightly said, this is a Group 1 not an open class country sprint. Granted it was a big effort with 61kg and he strong on the line but his form prior suggests he’s not capable of winning this.
11. FIRST AMONG EQUALS
SO: We’ve kind of hopefully got a better grip on this horse and his sometime nemesis Vega Magic by now. Me? I am still up in the air with what to do with them. The barrier hasn’t helped this fellow but Luke Nolen does (help that is).
RH: Nice horse and capable of coming from off the speed, so the barrier isn’t overly important to him. Ran down a horse called Ma- dassa in the Northam Stakes firstup and that horse hadn’t raced for two years. He’s finished behind Vega Magic in three of their four meetings but if he repeats the effort from the time did beat him, the Winterbottom, could be a sneaky each-way chance.
SO: One of my favourite horses! He crashed through the $1m mark last start, at start 51 I might add, when he won MP. He’s won back to back Listed races and remember, I tipped him on top in the 2014 Goodwood and he ran 3rd at $41 or something like that. He should go in all triffys.
RH: To be blunt, he can’t win this race but you can just seen him sticking on from barrier one and running third or something like that. Just like he did in 2014. Flying and he will run to his best. If that’s good enough cause an upset then luck him.
SO: I liked him the McKay, plenty of others did too. He ran pretty well, only a length from Karacatis at the finish. Any chance he had of winning though I think disappeared when he drew 20. That’s made it harder than it needed it to be.
RH: Agree, and his only chance is if he’s ridden like he was at Mornington two starts back and press forward to get up outside the leader. I suspect he might be at end of his preparation but with a bit luck you could see him running a place.
14. CASINO WIZARD
SO: Mount Gambier galloper who has won half of his 14 career wins here at Morphettville. He’s also seven the trip. He beat Karlovasi and Riziz in Matrice first-up but hasn’t really been ultra competitive in three runs since.
RH: He’s a solid Listed class sprinter who you’d assume will get his chance in the run from a nice gate. But it’d be a Vienna Miss-like upset (remember her last week) if he won.
SO: To quote you ‘you’re a sucker for Kaepernick’. Concur Hickson, I was also a sucker for Old North and look how that turned out! You know what you get with Kaepernick. We’ve seen plenty of him. He’ll be back with the last few, he’ll come to the outside and he’ll either win by a nose, or run 8th beaten 1 1-2/-lens.
RH: I don’t think I need to say a lot in reply there Shayno. We all know Kaepernick’s ability and convictions. He’ll need all the breaks to win this in my view.
SO: Remember I was talking about I Am Invincible and Takevoer Target in the Goodwood before? I Invincible was trained at the time by Peter Morgan who saddlesup this lightly-raced 5YO son of All American, I can’t find a spot for him. Can you?
RH: This horse is prime example of how tough the racing game can be. He has all ability in the world but lost two years through injuries. His effort first-up at Caulfield was outstanding and he has a very sharp turn of foot. While I’d love this to be 1400m for him win would not surprise me at all. In addition Morgan going close as a trainer, he should have a Goodwood as jockey to his name but in 1967 was unable make the weight by a pound on eventual winner Picargo only to have the winning jockey weigh in a pound overweight. Talk about bad luck!
SO: Seems like he’s been racing for ever and ever but he’s only a 4YO! He’s had 24 runs in that time, he must be a sound horse loves being in the stable. He’s got great numbers and he did beat Viddora in the Manihi two runs back.
RH: Handy enough horse and comes through that bunched finish in the McKay. I can only see him being trapped off the track here and that will make it very hard.
18. VIDDORA (SCR) 19. SWEET SHERRY
SO: I saw on Ron ‘Duff ’ Dufficy’s Twitter account that he was all over this filly in the Euclase. She was $13 into $10 and won so cheers to the Duff. All credit to the filly, she’s obviously come back well but a three-year-old filly at Group 1 SWP? Hard to do.
RH: Yeah I have to agree, this is a big step up for her. If you treat this like the Sangster, can she beat Secret Agenda and Viddora? If the answer is no then she’s not a winning chance here either.
SO: If there was a filly that could win a Goodwood though, it would be Missrock. If you like Secret Agenda then have to have at least a second look at Missrock who was 2nd to her over here in the Sapphire then 4th in the Sangster. I expect run a race with lightweight.
RH: She does keep punching above her weight and on that form line you’d have to give her a place chance.
21. LUCKY LIBERTY
SO: He’s got some record - 12s 6-0-2 and was/is really progressive. Big run fresh in the VOBIS Sprint the key factor gere is 2s 2w second-up. He’s got to take another quantum l eap here t o win a G1 Goodwood but it’s not impossible.
RH: I reckon he’s a real smoky in the race. He has big finish on him when he’s in form and his first-up run, and subsequent (race-like) barrier trial were both excellent. I know there are better performed horses at stakes level but he’s been set for the race and he’s the best at each-way odds for mine.