Good­wood Cup sparks en­thu­si­asm

Paul Fer­gu­son has some Glo­ri­ous tips for a visit to the Sus­sex coun­try­side

Racing Ahead - - PAUL FERGUSON -

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.

GAL­WAY POINTERS

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.

Su­perb Story

Galileo Gold

Time Test leads

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