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Ten horses who caught the eye at the Qatar Goodwood Festival

By Harry Allwood@harry_allwood
Thu 4 Aug 2022

Racing TV's Harry Allwood pinpoints the contenders who it could pay to follow after their efforts in defeat at the 2022 Qatar Goodwood Festival.



BRILLIANT LIGHT

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Race: Coral Chesterfield Cup Handicap - (1.50pm, Tuesday)

After losing his way last season, Brilliant Light’s rating crept down to 92 ahead of his return to action in May, which enabled him to get back to winning ways at Ripon.

He has run respectably off a rating of 96 on his three starts since, including in this ten-furlong handicap where he endured a troubled passage. Despite racing prominently, it wasn’t until inside the final furlong when a gap eventually appeared, and the winner had got first run on him by then.

This effort proved he is capable of winning off this rating, and he finished a respectable fifth in the John Smith’s Cup on his penultimate start, the form of which is working out well.

The Godolphin-owned gelding has been placed at Group Three level in the past, and it will be disappointing if he isn’t able to win another handicap before the end of the season, with the bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket on September 24 a potential target.


SOULCOMBE

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Race: Coral Beaten by a Length Free Bet Handicap - (1.50pm, Wednesday)

Although he didn’t show a great deal on his first three outings, Soulcombe has been a revelation since switching to handicaps following a gelding operation (he has also worn blinkers on his past three starts) and flew home to finish fourth when seeking a hat-trick in this 0-105 contest.

After a slow start and racing in last in the early stages, the three-year-old gradually began to make ground in the straight before powering home late on, and the Coursetrack sectionals show he was the fastest finisher inside the final furlong.

The winner, Secret State, is rapidly improving and a St Leger contender, and Soulcombe would have finished second in a few more strides.

One negative is that he does tend to break slowly, although that is less of a concern in these staying races, but hopefully that quirk irons out as he gains more experience.

I would imagine the Melrose Handicap at York on August 20 is firmly on the agenda now, with an extra two furlongs certain to suit this son of Frankel.


SAMAHRAM

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Race: Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes (Group 3) - 2.25pm, Wednesday

The unluckiest loser of the week? The French raider was held up by Frankie Dettori and travelled strongly into contention, but was forced to wait for a gap at a crucial stage, and was unable to challenge until the final half-furlong.

Given how much ground she made up once hitting top gear, it is fair to say she would have won with a clearer run, and she finished with running left in her, too.

She won twice (including at Listel level) and finished runner-up in a Group Three on her first three starts, which were all on good to soft ground, and this outing proved she handles quicker conditions plus her debut victory was over ten furlongs, so connections will have plenty of options going forward.

Compensation awaits and, with only four runs under her belt, this improving Sea The Moon filly could yet develop into a Group One performer.


SURELY NOT

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Race: Jaeger Lecoultre Nursery Handicap - (4.10pm, Thursday)

Another couple of strides and Surely Not would have recorded his second victory in this 7f handicap. Silvestre de Sousa’s mount failed to settle throughout plus was last turning for home before challenging widest of all, and powered home in eye-catching style.

The Coursetrack sectionals show he came home the fastest in the final two furlongs, and it was quite remarkable how he finished given his early exuberance.

He clearly has a quirk or two having shown the same keenness on his previous starts, but he can only improve when he learns to settle, and although he has been raised a pound, he is clearly capable of winning off his rating of 75.


SUPER SUPERJACK

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Race: Coral Goodwood Handicap - (1.50pm, Friday)

An ultra-consistent performer who was unfortunate not to record his third win of the season in this competitive 0-105 handicap.

The five-year-old found himself trapped behind a wall of horses in the straight and was shuffled back at a crucial stage when caught behind a weakening rival.

Given the interference he suffered, he did will to finish within a length of the winner who he conceded first run to and can be classed as an unlucky loser.

He’s another who fits in the ‘winner in waiting’ category and it should pay to follow him for the rest of the season, despite the fact he has been raised another 4lb for this luckless effort.


SHEER ROCKS

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Race: Oliver Brown Handicap - (5.20pm, Friday)

Plenty went wrong for Sheer Rocks here, and his effort can definitely be marked up. After receiving a significant bump leaving the stalls, Eve Johnson Houghton’s charge began to race exuberantly, and the slow pace certainly didn’t help his cause.

He has enjoyed racing prominently this season, and hold-up tactics didn’t bring out the best in him on this occasion, but he managed to stay on to finish a never-nearer fourth from an unpromising position.

He has been left on the same rating following this effort, and he had previously produced a career best to win a 0-90 handicap off a 4lb lower rating at Chester.

It’s too soon to write him off, and he can get back to winning ways over the coming weeks.


RAASEL

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Race: King George Qatar Stakes - (3.35pm, Friday)

Raasel has been a revelation since joining his current connections last year and, having won a handicap off a rating of 94 in April, he now finds himself on a rating of 109 following a career-best effort in the King George Qatar Stakes.

You could argue he was a shade unlucky here, too, as he was closing on the winner rapidly in the final 100 yards, and connections were quick to suggest afterwards that the watered ground was to blame for his defeat.

He had won eight of his past ten races prior to this outing and was victorious at Group Three level on his penultimate start, so continues to progress swiftly through the sprinting ranks, and it will be no surprise if he was capable of being competitive at the highest level.

The Nunthorpe at York on August 19 was earmarked as his target prior to this run, and if the ground is fast on the Knavesmire, expect a bold show from Mick Appleby’s charge.


STONE OF DESTINY

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Race: Coral Stewards' Sprint Handicap - (1.40pm, Saturday)

Winless since his victory in the Portland Handicap in 2020, Stone Of Destiny probably isn’t one to rely on too heavily, and his form has been patchy since.

However, having raced predominantly over five furlongs for the past couple of seasons, the step back up to six furlongs appeared to suit him here and he finished full of running after being repeatedly short of room in the final two furlongs.

Surprisingly, he has been dropped two pounds for this effort, and is now 8lb below his last winning mark. Connections will surely campaign him over six furlongs for the rest of the season now, and this isn’t the first time he has looked unlucky not to finish closer this season.

The Portland Handicap at Doncaster on September 10 (which is run over an extended five furlongs), may well be his port of call again, but I hope he is given another chance in the Ayr Gold Cup on September 17, as that 6f contest looks tailor-made for him, if the ground is fast.


EUCHEN GLEN

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Race: Coral Summer Handicap - (2.10pm, Saturday)

He has appeared to not be the force of old this season, but nine-year-old Euchen Glen’s effort in the Coral Summer Handicap showed he still has enough ability to win a valuable handicap.

The multiple Group Three winner had been running inconsistently prior to this effort but travelled strongly and suffered interference a couple of times when attempting to weave his way through from the rear of the field before flashing home to snatch third.

Despite a 3lb rise from the handicapper, he remains 11lb below his highest career rating, and a tilt at the Ebor on August 20 is set to be his next outing.

He’s a best-priced 16-1 for the York showpiece, and Jim Goldie has said his stable star will be ridden with patient tactics again on the Knavesmire. Granted luck in running, he’s still capable of sneaking a place at least at double-figure odds in a race he finished fifth in two years ago.


REGIONAL

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Race: Coral Stewards’ Cup - (3.20pm, Saturday)

It was slightly surprising Regional only fetched 3,500gns at the Tattersalls horses-in-training sale last year as he won on debut and contested two Listed contests on his first three starts.

He has shown consistent form since joining Ed Bethell – his second in a Group Three at Doha being a career-best - while his past two starts in handicaps this season have suggested he will be able to land a big prize.

The four-year-old was a shade unfortunate when a fast-finishing second on his penultimate start over a trip that is probably on the sharp side for him now, and he again stayed on strongly in the closing stages over a furlong further here.

His pedigree suggests he could stay further still, although I expect connections will persevere over six furlongs for now, with the Ayr Gold Cup on September 17 a potentially ideal race for this hold-up performer who is now rated 103.

His handler has suggested a winter campaign in Dubai is also on the agenda, and his next outing is likely to be at York’s Ebor Festival this month.


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