Goodwood clerk of the course Seamus Buckley is officiating at his 23rd and final “Glorious “Goodwood” and described conditions on Tuesday as the “worst weather I have encountered” as a total of 40mls of rain hit the Sussex Downs.
As a result, conditions are sure to be testing ahead of today’s Day 4 card, which begins with the Gp3 Glorious Stakes over a-mile-and-a-half. Soft ground form is thin on the ground, with the beautifully bred favourite Frontiersman disappointing on his sole start on good to soft – he is reluctantly overlooked.
Lord Yeats will ensure there is no hiding place and this bold front-runner looks sure to go well but the lightly-raced Poet’s Word (1.50) is a horse who is open to further improvement for Sir Michael Stoute and was a good winner over today’s C&D – albeit on fast ground – at the corresponding meeting last year. His ability to handle soft ground must be taken on trust but he gets the vote at 3/1 with BetVictor.
The Gp 3 Thoroughbred Stakes looks wide-open following the defection of French raider Trais Fluors and Make Time (2.25) is a speculative selection for David Menuisier whose string were under a cloud for the first part of the season. The colt won a mile handicap by six lengths at Sandown last month and looks ready for a step up in grade – note he landed his maiden on soft ground and at 7/2 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t go close.
The Mile Handicap is one of the big betting races of the week and Blair House (3.00) very nearly did us a big favour when runner up in the Hunt Cup from a 5lbs lower mark at 20/1. He is the 6/1 market leader with BetVictor (five places) and, as a son of Pivotal, should be at home on the forecast soft ground. I will be disappointed if he wasn’t in the shake-up.
In the King George Stakes, I am going to give the each way vote to Ardad (3.35) for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. The selection has been below par in two starts so far this term but he hinted at a return to form last time when carrying a 5lbs penalty and at 25/1 with BetVictor he gets the each way vote. Do note his 2016 Windsor Castle success was gained on soft ground.
It is hard to oppose Londinium (5.15) such was the ease of his victory here over slightly further on Wednesday. The selection carries a 6lbs penalty for that win but if in the same mood he will be very difficult to beat for Middleham handler Mark Johnston who has such a good record at Goodwood but hasn’t won this corresponding race since 2009.
At Bangor this afternoon it goes without saying that Rebel Rebellion (2.35) is not the force of old but the handicapper has given him a chance and I don’t think this is as good a race as the one when third at Worcester last time.
I’m slightly surprised but pleased that connections have persevered with Tyler Saunders on board Seafarer (7.10) at Bath this evening given I really do think the gelding should have won at Sandown last time from a 5lbs lower mark. The gelding has not raced on anything other than fast ground although conditions are likely to dry out slightly from the current going description of good to soft. Significant rain would be a major concern.
Banff carries a 6lbs penalty for winning at Newcastle last weekend but apprentice Darragh Keenan takes off 7lbs for Olly Murphy and the four-year-old will be hard to beat given how well the yard are doing at present.
There is plenty of pace in the race which should suit Wordiness (7.40) who didn’t have the race run to suit when a never nearer fourth at Haydock over a-mile-and-three-quarters last time. This additional three furlongs will suit, as will the drying ground and Hector Crouch takes off a valuable 3lbs.
In the last Stellar Surprise (8.10) will be hard to beat if she settles better than she did at Newmarket last time from a 1lbs higher mark. The selection has only had five career starts and is open to further improvement – note trainer Stuart Williams fits the filly with a tongue-tie for the first time.