ANOTHER exciting day at Goodwood awaits us. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) gives us his best bets.
14:35 Goodwood | Channel 4
The Gordon Stakes is one of the key trials for the St Leger, and though it’s not attracted many of the so called big guns it’s a competitive renewal.
Medrano went into a lot of people’s notebooks after his victory in a Hamilton Listed race where he took apart what had looked a competitive field. He entered the picture for the year’s final classic and this was set up as his target. Before that he had run solid races in Listed and Group races but I’m not sure if that Hamilton form is of Group standard. He won well but he was only beating horses that had already fallen short at Group level and I can’t back him at these odds.
It’s not the classiest of Gordon Stakes and one horse leaps off the page in this race. Highland Reel rounded off last season with a taking performance in the Vintage Stakes at this meeting last season and went in to the winter near the top of the betting for this year’s Classics.
He was slow to come to hand this season and made his return in the French Guineas, where he started favourite but could only finish sixth. He improved on that with a second in the French Derby before disappointing in the Irish version. Highland Reel was very free that day and we did not see his true running. With the course and the ground not representing any problems for him I expect the Aidan O’Brien charge to make the most of this drop in class. This could be the confidence boost he needs for his no doubt big end of season targets.
15:10 Goodwood | Channel 4
The Sussex Stakes is the highlight of the meeting for me but unfortunately we have been robbed of one of the most anticipated match ups of the season. The rain has seen the dual Guineas winner Gleneagles withdrawn, leaving a high quality field but it’s taken a lot of the gloss off the race.
This leaves the contest at the mercy of Solow. What a magnificent horse he is. He shot to prominence in Dubai this year where he made The Grey Gatsby look ordinary, then beat Cirrus Des Aigles in France before winning the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. He is tactically versatile and has a fantastic temperament. I love this horse and I have a feeling that today’s ground may see him take his form to a new level.
Night of Thunder and Arod are both solid Group 1 horses, and in most years would be potential winners, but Solow is in a different league to them. If you don’t like backing odds on winners then I have a feeling Arod may reverse the Lockinge form with Night Of Thunder as he is improving all the time over this relatively new trip and his stamina on softer ground may see him past his old rival. That said Arod is playing for second behind this French megastar.
15:45 Goodwood | Channel 4
The Acomb Stakes is for two year olds over five furlongs and sees Royal Ascot disappointment King of Rooks try to get back to winning ways.
Seen as a banker by many going in to the meeting, King of Rooks was slightly disappointing when he came third to Waterloo Bridge in the Norfolk Stakes. Before that he had destroyed the future Coventry Stakes winner Buratino by five lengths in a Sandown Listed race, which is the juvenile performance of the season. I’m not convinced that form can be taken literally and at the prices I’m taking him on.
Lathom trained by Richard Fahey was also disappointing at Royal Ascot finishing down the field in the Windsor Castle. He was never competitive that day and proved the form was all wrong when he won the Wetherbys Super Sprint last time out off top weight. That was a great effort and he has the scope to go further. A fast run five furlongs looks his optimum trip at the moment and he will get that here. I fully expect him to be contesting the finish in this and make him a confident each way selection at 8/1.