The mid-summer highlight, the Qatar Goodwood Festival, is here. Hopefully, the weather gods will be kind to the Sussex Downs as this most wonderful of racecourses welcomes back racegoers.
There is something for everyone at the meeting. Enjoy watching these spectacular thoroughbreds who, young and old, who give us so much joy.
I can’t wait for the Unibet Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday. The Group 2 contest promises to be not only a great race to watch, but also hugely informative.
I think the race revolves around the top three in the market: Berkshire Shadow, Lusail and Eldrickjones.
Watch how Berkshire Shadow won on his debut
Berkshire Shadow brings the only unblemished record into this race having previously won on debut over five furlongs before winning the Coventry over six.
On each occasion his final furlong has been packed with speed and power, which leaves me convinced that he will get this seven-furlong trip. This is further backed up by his pedigree given that his dam was a winner over a mile.
He’s been ridden patiently in his races and so this track, where it can pay to race handily, is possibly not to his advantage.
Lusail brings plenty of experience to this race and is a winner of three of his four starts, most recently when winning the Tattersalls July Stakes over six furlongs. He has, though already won over this seven-furlong trip at Newmarket.
Stall three looks to be a good draw for him and his ability to race prominently will suit the track. He has looked very relaxed and professional and will be tough to beat.
Eldrickjones is still a maiden but has shown good form. He finished fifth behind Lusail at Newmarket last time but didn’t get the smoothest of passages, having previously chased home Berkshire Shadow in the Coventry.
Being drawn in stall one will pose a question for Daniel Tudhope as he will have to decide whether to sacrifice the advantage that stall gives and to ride Eldrickjones patiently – as has been the style in previous races, or whether he will ride him more prominently to make use of the plum draw.
Having been beaten by Lusail last time when ridden patiently it would be no surprise to see a change of tactics instigated.
Conclusion: Berkshire Shadow will need luck in running if held-up as usual, but in Oisin Murphy he has a jockey in red-hot form. Having abandoned him, to my cost, in the Coventry, I’m not going to make the same mistake again and I’m hoping he’ll get on top where it matters most. If ridden prominently Eldrickjones can get much closer to Lusail.
This five-furlong feature will very much depend on how much the track dries – or doesn’t.
Fearby was an eye-catching winner last time and would have to be feared by all, especially if the ground stays on the slow side of good but if underfoot conditions dry up he will find Goodwood a very different test to Sandown.
Chipotle was a good winner at Royal Ascot before enduring a luckless passage in the Weatherbys Super Sprint on his last start. This speed test looks sure to suit him.
Kaboo and Armor both feature in my Racing TV tracker but I’m convinced that they both want six-furlongs and I’d be surprised if they were fast enough.
Boonie was two lengths behind Chipotle in the Windsor Castle at Ascot where he faded late in the final furlong. He had previously done the same at Musselburgh. The easy 5f at Goodwood promises to suit him well.
Conclusion: Chipotle is certainly fast enough to win this but he will need plenty of luck in running and so the selection, at an each-way price, is Boonie. Kevin Stott missed Royal Ascot through injury so victory here, on a track that I think will suit, would provide some compensation.
John Gosden told Nick Luck more about Inspiral
It was a close call this week between Ehraz, who was impressive when shedding his maiden tag at Ascot on Friday, and Inspiral who demolished a decent field in a Listed contest at Sandown on Thursday.
Inspiral got the vote by virtue of the higher grade and in acknowledgement that there was little substance to the form of Ehraz’s win, no matter how visually impressive it was.
Inspiral had already won a maiden over seven-furlongs on her debut at Newmarket, so the trip was never going to hold any fears.
However, at Sandown she got her first taste of racing around a bend, an experience that can be unsettling for some but not for her.
She was very smartly away from the gate but was settled by Frankie Dettori at the rear of the field. Indeed, exiting the back straight she was a good ten-lengths off the lead.
As they straightened for home she was angled out and showed an impressive turn of foot to get to the lead very quickly. She then showed plenty of stamina to see the trip out very well.
Her dam, Starscape, only managed to win a maiden but was high class - finishing second in both the 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes. She also proved capable of staying ten furlongs.
I’m sure connections will be dreaming of similar for Inspiral and with Frankel as her sire she may even yet show herself to have stamina for an Oaks.
In my book, Sandrine still sets the standard for the juvenile fillies but we certainly have some interesting match-ups to look forward to later this year.
Ana Gold (Richard Fahey)
Click here to put Ana Gold in your Racing TV Tracker
Finished fourth at Pontefract on Sunday on her debut over five furlongs. She dwelt in the stalls and looked to be in top gear for the entire race.
I was taken by her tenacious attitude as she galloped strongly through the line. Going up in trip, in a similar grade, will see her more than capable of getting top spot on the podium.
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