The best horse in the world returns to the best course in the world
The Festival kicked off in style yesterday with Noble Mission taking the Gordon Stakes in a fierce battle. Forty minutes later, the double was completed for Sir Henry Cecil when Chachamaidee stormed the Lennox Stakes in a display of blistering pace.
If you thought it couldn’t get better, today could be the day when Frankel makes it 12 wins from 12 starts in the Qipco Sussex Stakes. It should be a day to remember.
2.00: Goodwood Stakes (Handicap)
The longest race of the week and the only one which starts by the winning post. Cape Express won a novice hurdle on the bridle at odds-on last time and looks as though the step up in trip will suit. Nicky Henderson has a good record in this race having won it twice in the last seven renewals, and Neil Callan will relish the ride. Romeo Montague finished well in a similar race at Royal Ascot and subsequently won his next start, so should be taken seriously, while Beyond should stay well and could be a force for David Pipe.
2.35: Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes
A hotly contested affair. Olympic Glory will be popular for both his name and form reasons after his Newmarket success. He renews rivalry with Birdman, who just failed to catch him in the Superlative Stakes last time. Ghurair has considerable potential and will be bang there if he handles the jump in class.
3.10: Qipco Sussex Stakes
Victorious from last year’s Qipco Sussex Stakes, Frankel once again has three opponents to beat, which he will probably do with consummate ease. He is currently the best in the world and up there with the greatest, and it seems only he can beat himself. I caught up with Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdulla, who said: “He’s done very well since Ascot. He’s had an easier time since then and Henry says he’s coming into the race in great shape.” However, if the cards don’t fall into place for his 12th win in 12 starts, Farhh will be more than ready to pick up the pieces.
3.45: UBS Stakes (Handicap)
Scatter Dice hasn’t been out of the first three in any of her career starts, and with Darren Egan taking off a valuable 5Ib off, she has a small penalty for her impressive win at Ascot last Saturday. When I asked trainer Mark Johnston about her chances, he said: “She’s in good form, and won last Saturday, so she’s an ideal candidate for her race.” Frankie Dettori has a decent chance on Handsome Man, who was placed at Royal Ascot, and Hannon & Hughes team up again for Rule Book, who has shown form on a variety of grounds.
4.20: Markel Insurance Maiden Fillies’ Stakes
Another potentially decent maiden. Of those that have form already, Pearl Sea bids to go one better having placed in both of her starts. Cut No Ice showed marked improvement last time and should know even more today, whereas Arbaah and Mojave Desert are worth monitoring on their racecourse debuts.
4.55: British Stallion Studs Turf Club EBF Fillies’ Stakes (Handicap)
Keene Dancer won very handily last time and with Ryan Moore bidding for a hat-trick on the filly, she should go very well. Valiant Girl showed a lot of guts to get up by a head to win here last time and this course knowledge should give her a valuable advantage. Chigun won her maiden by 10l at the fourth time of asking and should have more confidence now.
5.30: Harwoods Racing Club Handicap Stakes
In the lucky last, Dubawi Sound could be the biggest improver, having taken a decent handicap last time by 6l at Newcastle, and White Frost seems to have come back to form with an agonizingly close defeat last time by half a length. Galician should be thereabouts if the race is run to suit.