Panther poised to pounce
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt previews day three at Glorious Goodwood.
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BROWN PANTHER, the apple of his owner-breeder Michael Owen's eye, is fancied to win his second Artemis Goodwood Cup on Thursday by turning the tables on The Queen's Estimate who finished ahead of him when the pair were second and fourth behind Leading Light in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
The key to a possible reversal in form is the distance; at Ascot, Brown Panther was upsides and duelling with his rivals before weakening late on over the stiff two-and-a-half-miles whereas, as he proved here last year when slamming the re-opposing Ahzeemah, this two miles suits him well. He has since finished a creditable second in very soft ground at Longchamp and remains in the form of his life this season.
A repeat win could prove emotional as the selection's dam Treble Heights passed away a few days ago.
While fully effective at this trip, Estimate (who subsequently tested positive for traces of morphine after that effort) clearly stays particularly well and the further she goes, the stronger she seems to be. She is bound to be a tough nut to crack but this is a very different test to the Gold Cup.
The aforementioned pair will probably dominate the betting but the highly progressive Angel Gabrial should not be ruled out after big handicap wins in the Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate while the honest Whiplash Willie has returned in good form this year following a lengthy lay-off albeit held by Brown Panther on running at Sandown in May.
While Cavalryman (only sixth last year) appeared to have the run of the race when beating Hillstar at the Newmarket July meeting, Brass Ring is another who catches the eye after a creditable third when upped to a staying trip for the first time in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
In the Group Three Sterling Insurance Lillie Langtry Stakes, I will take a chance on the once-raced STELLA BELLISSIMA overcoming both her inexperience and a rise in class.
John Gosden's filly is bred to be decent as she is a half-sister to those smart stayers Duncan and Samuel, and she created a very good impression first time out at Newbury when sweeping clear of subsequent wide margin winner Gwafa over a mile and a half.
Described as a bit green that day by jockey William Buick (who added that she is well thought of), Stella Bellissima will relish the extra two furlongs here and the fact she has been raised to Group company so quickly could be significant.
Mind you, she will have to be more than useful to cope with decent rivals like Waila and Talent, though both those fillies haven't quite fulfilled their early potential so far, and a bigger threat could be the ultra tough Missunited who ran the race of her life when third behind Leading Light and Estimate in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.