Goodwood Cup sparks enthusiasm
Paul Ferguson has some Glorious tips for a visit to the Sussex countryside
Assuming the weather is favourable and we get a quick ground Glorious meeting, the David Simcock-trained CURBYOURENTHUSIASM is fancied to land the Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup on July 28.
The five-year-old grey has missed several possible engagements over the past couple of months due to the ground, including when a big price for the Ascot Gold Cup. A handicap winner last September, the Mastercraftsman gelding certainly looks capable of competing at a higher level and he ran a race full of promise on his season reappearance in the Yorkshire Cup, back in May.
The quicker the ground the better for Curbyourenthusiasm, who threatens to be even better once going over 2m and it is worth noting that Jamie Spencer has partnered him to all three career victories to date. At double-figure odds (10-1 at the time of writing in the ante-post book), he would make plenty of appeal, if getting his ground.
The feature the previous day (Wednesday July 27) is, of course, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, in which Galileo Gold is fancied to confirm St James’s Palace Stakes form with The Gurkha, who has since finished runner-up in the Coral-Eclipse.
Hugo Palmer’s Paco Boy colt won the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at this meeting last year and, with the ground not an issue, it is hard to envisage a circumstance in which he will not run to form.
The Qatar Nassau Stakes is the Group 1 feature on the final day of the meeting (Saturday July 30) and Minding is, without doubt, the headline act. Aidan O’Brien’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks heroine will be very difficult to beat (already trading at 4-7 in the ante-post market, at the time of writing), as she bids to win at the top level for a sixth time.
After her magnificent performance at Epsom, the beautifully-bred Galileo filly once again showed all her class when pegging back the useful Bocca Baciata in the Pretty Polly Stakes, with the runner-up having been handed a very soft lead. Minding clearly has the pace to win the Nassau, though I must admit to hoping she goes back up in trip and heads down the Arc route after this – nothing to do with the fact that I have backed her, of course.
Goodwood isn’t the only big meeting in the last week of July, as the Galway Festival takes place over in Ireland. As regular readers will know, I have had the Plate in mind for a couple of months for Shanpallas who exploited a lenient mark over hurdles, to win a handicap at Ballinrobe in May, when very well supported.
Charles Byrnes ’eight-year-old then ran a fine prep for this in a conditions hurdle race at Cork and, though he finished only
fifth last year, the Golan gelding looks a big player here. Trading at 12-1 (Stan James) in the ante-post book, he was available at 14s with Betfair’s Sportsbook and is one to back each-way.
The following day, the Galway Hurdle looks as competitive as ever, but this has been the plan for some time for the Dan Skelton-trained Superb Story. Not seen since providing trainer and jockey, Harry Skelton, with a first Cheltenham Festival success in the County Hurdle, the fiveyear-old clearly goes well fresh, having been off the track for four months before winning the County.
He has been off for a similar time since and, provided the ground remains decent, he looks sure to run a big race.The Duke Of Marmalade gelding, who had finished runner-up in the Greatwood Hurdle, clearly relishes these big field handicap hurdles and was trading at 6-1 in the antepost market at the time of writing.
The other one I like and, perhaps in fact, my first choice at the odds (available at 20-1 with Bet365) is Tigris River for rookie trainer, Joseph O’Brien.
The five-year-old won his maiden hurdle at this meeting 12 months ago and was a solid fourth behind Henry Higgins in the Coral.IE Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. An eye-catching fourth on his return at Bellewstown in July, the Montjeu gelding should strip fitter for that outing and he was due to run at Killarney later that month. A non-runner that day, which could be a blessing in disguise, he is likely to sneak in here towards the foot of the weights – he says, hopefully. Tigris River has long appealed as the type to go very close in a valuable 2m handicap on decent ground and I certainly expect him to outrun those odds of 20-1.
Another to note at Galway is Product Of Love, who won a Killarney bumper during May by 16 lengths. After the race, it was suggested that Alan Fleming’s Fruits Of Love gelding could head to the festival for a winners’ bumper and the five-year-old rates a smart prospect for the time of year in that sphere.
TIME CAN PASS YORK TEST
Back on the domestic front, the Ebor meeting at York is the highlight of August and it kicks off on August 17 with the Group 1 Juddmonte International, for which Time Test heads the market.
Regular readers will know that I have long been a fan of Roger Charlton’s fouryear-old, who is another that has been crying out for a dry spell this summer. Pulled out of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, the ground had gone against him in the Eclipse, where he still ran a sound race in third. Only fourth in this race last year, he is capable of going well if the ground is on the quick side and he remains a horse of some potential.
Last year’s third The Grey Gatsby is probably a shade overpriced at doublefigure odds and is another capable of going well, with the drop back in trip likely to suit, but arguably the most interesting contender is Derby second US Army Ranger who shouldn’t be inconvenienced by this slightly shorter trip and he would be the bet at 8-1,if we knew this was his target.
Entered in a Group 3 at Leopardstown, he is also in the Great Voltigeur on the same card and I’d be looking to side with him, wherever he lines up on the Knavesmire, with the long straight likely to suit. The Galileo colt didn’t look short of pace at Epsom and, after just three starts, he remains open to considerable improvement.
The Great Voltigeur is probably the more realistic option and, again, I’d be backing him to land that. But, should he go elsewhere, Midterm is the other really interesting entrant in the recognised St Leger trial.Not seen since fifth here in the Dante back in May, Sir Michael Stoute’s colt remains a high-class prospect and his return is eagerly anticipated. This would clearly be a tall order after a lay off and a setback, but it is very much hoped he returns with a clean bill of health and Stoute is likely to have him ready, if pitching him straight into this kind of race.
The following day, the Yorkshire Oaks could feature another three-year-old that has been off the track since the Dante meeting. So Mi Dar had Oaks third Harlequeen back in fourth when impressively maintaining her unbeaten record in the
Musidora Stakes and, while more would be required here, John Gosden’s Dubawi filly remains completely unexposed.Out of the classy Dar Re Mi, winner of this race in 2009,she looks as though she will improve again once stepping up to 1m4f and, rather like Midterm, I sincerely hope she makes it back in time for this. She was trading at 7-1 at the time of writing.
The fillies take centre stage throughout the card and the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes could be the next port of call for the exciting Fair Eva who really impressed on debut at Haydock.
Roger Charlton’s Frankel filly oozed class when disposing of Nations Alexander, who won a Listed race on her next start, before finishing third in the Cherry Hinton. The third has also won since, so the form looks solid, and her next start is eagerly awaited. If she is pitched straight into Group 2 company here, I wouldn’t be concerned about her lack of experience and would expect her to strengthen her position at the head of the ante-post market for next year’s 1,000 Guineas (she is now a 14-1 shot, having been supported down from 20s in recent weeks).
The one that could worry her would be impressive Royal Ascot winner Lady Aurelia, who was a ridiculously easy winner of the Queen Mary, but the American filly is due to take on the colts in the Prix Morny (21 August) on her next start.
Talking of high-class juveniles Caravaggio holds entries at York, but is expected to line up at the Curragh earlier in the month (August 7),in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes. A brilliant winner of the Coventry Stakes, he would be a fascinating runner against his elders in the Nunthorpe, but that seems very unlikely at this stage.
If he were to travel to York, it would surely be for Saturday’s Gimcrack, but I doubt Aidan O’Brien would be rushing him back 13 days after the Phoenix Stakes. With that in mind, Coventry second Mehmas probably sets the standard in the Gimcrack and has, of course, since won the July Stakes at Newmarket.
O’Brien could rely on Peace Envoy who landed the Anglesey Stakes recently and he would warrant plenty of respect, whilst Norfolk Stakes winner Prince Of Lir could step up to 6f for the first time.
Moving on to the big race of the week, the valuable Betfred Ebor. Looking through the early entries, this could be a cracking renewal and the first horse that catches the eye is Sir Chauvelin, who, sadly, is highly unlikely to get in. He travelled with ease to lead in the Northumberland Vase (the new consolation race for the Plate) before failing to fully see out the 2m trip. This distance is perfect and he travelled well in better company over course-and-distance last time. Sadly, given that he is a massive 40-1, a mark of 91 probably won’t be high enough for him to get a run – keep an eye on him in the closing months of the season, however.
His Newcastle conqueror Dannyday isn’t certain to get in either, despite being as low as 12s, but would warrant respect if running, though the Plate itself is likely to provide more of a clue for this, with lastgasp winner Antiquarium likely to line up for Godolphin. He came late to beat Seamour, who has since disappointed (probably came too soon for him), and the four-year-old ran well in the Melrose here last year.
The boys in blue also have Huge Future entered and he might well be aptly named. He is another that won’t get in, however, especially when factoring in the weight-for-age allowance, but the Melrose (three-year-old equivalent race on the same card) could be an ideal target for him, should connections fancy stepping him up in trip. He looked a very smart prospect when winning at Newbury during June and I would want him onside wherever he turns up next, despite a 10lb rise. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he pitched up in something like the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, despite being rated just 95.
Central Square is a horse I like a lot and the step up in trip might suit, but quite whether he is ready for a test such as this is another matter, while the likes of Fabricate (33-1) and Gang Warfare (28-1) appeal as a pair that look potentially overpriced.
The former will probably be borderline as to whether he makes the cut, but remains capable of landing a nice handicap (holds an entry over 2m at Ascot while this feature goes to press – 22 July), while the latter travels really strongly, but hasn’t been favoured by the draw in big field contests of late. If the draw is kinder on him here, I would expect Simon Crisford’s five-year-old to outrun those odds.
Kinema beat Fabricate at Royal Ascot and is an obvious contender of those towards the head of the betting, but he is also in the Goodwood Cup. We don’t know the handicap marks of the potential three-year-old Irish raiders, so it is hard to assess their chances, but Sword Fighter would be an intriguing contender, having won the Group 2 Curragh Cup last time. You need to be a Group class performer to get in as a three-yearold these days, but O’Brien has many options at this stage.
It would probably make sense to check out my Betrescue column on the day for this race (given that I’ve already covered plenty of potential runners).
Enjoy the end of the summer, as it will soon be time to change codes and turn our attention to the new National Hunt season, for which the 10th edition of Jumpers To Follow is now available to preorder.
Time Test leads