Another wonderful day’s racing with Day four of Glorious Goodwood the feature card. Battash (3.35) must concede 3lbs or more to his 10 rivals in the Group 2 King George Stakes, but it would be disappointing if Charlie Hills’ five-year-old couldn’t return to winning ways given he lost nothing in defeat when edged out by Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The selection has won this corresponding race for the last two years and this fast five furlongs suits him down to the ground. Battash is 1/3 with BetVictor and it looks sure to be a furious gallop as El Astronaut and French raider Big Brothers Pride also like to force the pace. The lightly-raced three-year-old Big Brothers Pride is taken to follow the selection home.
The opening 7f Gp 3 Oak Tree Stakes sees a drop down in class and trip for Jubiloso (1.50) who finished third in the Gp 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. That was just the filly’s third career start and she travelled powerfully into the race but was not able to match the finishing speed of French winner Watch Me and Aidan O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Hermosa who was due to step up in trip to 10f in the Gp 1 Nassau Stakes on Thursday.
Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old is 13/8 at BetVictor and she holds an outstanding chance from a decent draw in stall six although she cannot afford to get too far back in this 19-runner affair. Tapisserie – 14s at BetVictor – won well at Carlisle last time, but she is stuck out on the wing in stall 19 and I feel Beyond Reason – 25/1 at BetVictor who are paying four places – might be a bigger danger representing Charlie Appleby.
I like a couple dropping each way back in trip in the 1m Group 3 for three-year-olds and preference for Fifth Position (2.25) over King Ottokar is marginal. I feel Fifth Position has been failing to get home over 10f in recent starts and his defeat of Space Blues over a mile at Nottingham on his second start suggested he was well above average. The selection finished in “fifth position” at Sandown last time and I hope to see Andrea Atzeni make plenty of use of his mount dropping back in distance. At 14/1 with BetVictor he is the each way recommendation.
Charlie Fellowes has made no secret of how highly he regards King Ottokar and his stable star finished third in the Hampton Court Stakes over 10f last time. The colt was bumped at the start and forced wide at Ascot, but still looked to have come with a winning run before he ran out of petrol. At 11/2 with BetVictor he is another who is likely to race prominently in what is a fabulous and ultra-competitive heat.
Dark Vision – 14/1 at BetVictor – is blinkered for the first time in the valuable Mile Handicap for Mark Johnston and few will forget how impressive he was when landing the Gp 2 Vintage Stakes over 7f here 12 months ago. No three-year-old has won the race in the last five years, however, and he is reluctantly overlooked from stall 19.
My two against the field are Mojito (4/1 at BetVictor) and Game Player (3.00) with the latter getting the each way vote at 14/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places. This is a better race than the one the selection finished third in last time, but he looked a desperately unlucky loser on that occasion when he was constantly denied a run. The selection is drawn in stall one today and is likely to need luck in running in a race where there are sure to be hard luck stories.
The form of Fox Vardy’s (5.15) recent Windsor success was given a boost when the runner up Zoffee scored at a return journey to the Thameside track on Monday. The selection has been raised 6lbs for that effort, but he is well drawn, lightly-raced and has the scope for further improvement.
At Newmarket this evening I hope to see Swansdown (5.50) finally break her maiden tag for William Haggas. I felt she was an unlucky loser at Wolverhampton last time when she finished fast and late on her first start at this 12f trip. Cieren Fallon takes over in the saddle this evening and takes off a valuable 5lbs.