The time of the opening race was 1 minute 23.60 seconds if that helps.....
I momentarily thought that Second Wave might pick up sufficiently to snare the forecast but that was more in hope than anything that was happening on the track and the result never really looked in much doubt in the final furlong or so.
Fromthose off the pace, course specialist Balmoral Castle made up plenty of ground without ever looking likely to get involved.
While we wait for some reaction to that first race, it's well worth remembering JT McNamara with this tribute from Channel 4 Racing's Mick Fitzgerald.
Well, that was all pretty straightforwards! Well handicapped and well tippped up and Fire Fighting got a perfect ride from Adam Kirby as Mark Johnston starts Glorious Goodwood with a winner.
I couldn't see any hard luck stories from among the placed horses and there didn't appear to be much trouble that caught the eye from those in behind either. The pace was presumably steady as all of the principals were relatively prominent throughout.
Goodwood 2.00 Result
1st Fire Fighting 8/1 co-favourite
2nd Oasis Fantasy 12/1
3rd Stars Over The Sea 8/1 co-fav
4th Second Wave 8/1 co-fav
Fire Fighting is quite well placed as are the Godolphin pair and Mutamakkin. They're in the straight now and not much change in the order but people are beginning to look for racing room
They're off and Shakopee hasn't broken that well from his low draw and that's bad news. Erik The Red and Snoano rowards the rear as Noble Gift takes them along with Stars Over The Sea and Watersmeet prominent
Fire Fighting comes out on top of the Timeform Ratings but Best Of Times isn't far behind and has a '+' alongside his figure. He hadn't really crossed my radar and it's too late now as the last one loads.
The runners are down at the start and it won't be long until they're loading. There are 5, yes 5, 8/1 co-favourites and another three at 11s with no confidence behind Mutamakkin.
If you haven't done so already, don't forget to take a look at Sky Bet's First Race Special which is Money Back if your selection loses.
All the details can be found here.
One of the many with chances in the first but one that I've neglected to mention thus far is Oasis Fantasy.
I thought this trip might just be on the sharp side for him but this is what Ed Dunlop had to say in his blog:
"Oasis Fantasy is our only
representative today and he runs in the opening race at Goodwood. He ran
very well in The John Smith’s Cup from a difficult draw and finished
off best of those from the rear. He is drawn in seven which is ok and
there looks to be pace in the race, hopefully everything will fall into
place and the gaps open when they need to for him."
There is action elsewhere of course and I seem to remember a gamble or two being landed at Beverley on this day in the past. A 'shrewdie' from Timeform flagged up Mime Dance (5.05) on Sunday to me but by the time I'd remembered to take a look last night he was as short as 9/2 and I see he's now a non-runner. A name for the notebook perhaps......
Richard Hannon Senior used to boss this meeting and son Richard runs Silver Quay who is having his first start since being gelded. He's only ever won once on turf and his mark has suffered for some good performances on the all-weather but he's another with form at this track if the operation has worked the oracle.
The runners are in the paddock now and it won't be long until they're on the way down to post....
Aside from Watersmeet who I have cast aside, the other outsider that catches the eye is Noble Gift who was yet another to have run well in last year's renewal. He was fourth that day and is 5lbs higher now but he's hit the frame in three of his five runs here and his locally based trainer is sure to have him primed for this task.
There's nothing at all exciting about the five that have gone in as they're all in the first six in the market
I've dodged the placepot for the day but I have added an extra line to the forecast combination for the first with Shakopee making his way back into the line-up.
Colin, thank you for your e-mail and that is a joke after my own heart. My editor suggested that I get here early to grab my seat and 'mark my territory' which I'm hoping was just a turn of phrase rather than advice to take literally. I think that sort of behaviour would be frowned upon....
Reading your blog would it be fair describe the new pressroom as "bog standard"?
Formerly Janus of the Northern Echo and 1998 winner of the Racing Post Flat Naps Table 1998, not bragging or anything!
The maiden is all about the whisper for Harry Angel and the last goes the way of Haggle!
Her fitness has to be taken on trust but her juvenile form stacks up so well that I'm prepared to take a chance on that in a competitive race.
It's time to join the queue for lunch and ponder that placepot. Back shortly.....
Frankie Dettori could be hard to keep out of the frame with the front-running Thesme who did best of the prominent racers at York last time. This track could really play to her strengths.
Shore Step bypassed races at the weekend to wait for this though and he ran well in the Stewards' Cup consolation race when fourth last year. He's got a furlong less to travel this time around but I'm leaning towards him at present.
In the sprint handicap that follows I thought Boom The Groom had each-way claims but the double figure prices about him have long since gone which leaves me in a quandary. Take the shorter price or move on?
As for me, I'm looking towards Elidor and Fun Mac.
The former is 1lb lower than when beaten three quarters of a length into fifth in last year's renewal and rates an each-way bet at around 20/1 to my mind. You may need a bit of luck to collect on the win part and need to forgive his last two starts but his reappearance third behind Dartmouth reads well and you can take a chance at that sort of price.
Fun Mac probably wants the ground to be a little softer but Hughie Morrison has his team in good form and the five-year-old is another who runs this track well.
I'm really clutching at straws in the staying handicap so let me point you in the direction of Ben Linfoot's column as he has a fancy for the race.
I'm going to ignore that though and side with Home Of The Brave who is wearing the Godolphin red cap. I've been impressed by his wins at Leicester and at Haydock where he got the better of the quirky Convey. He's a straightforward ride who will set off on the pace and he has the requisite class.
Ryan Moore rides Birchwood and here's more from his Betfair column:
"I rode him to win his maiden at Newbury last season before he was sold to Godolphin
and I'd forgotten just how good a race he ran when third to me on Hit
It A Bomb in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last season, beaten just
two necks. He showed very little in his first two runs this season but
he returned to something approaching his best with a length defeat of
Sovereign Debt in a first-time visor at Chester last time.
He needs to step on that form to win this, but he clearly has a good
each-way chance and he won the Superlative Stakes on fast ground last
season. The one I think that we all have to beat in here is
course-and-distance winner Dutch Connection. He
finished second to Toormore in this race last season and has been
running well over a mile recently, though I think 7f on fast ground is
probably more to his liking."
I'm momentarily distracted by some trying on of hats opposite me with the general opinion that the wearer looks 'fab'. I haven't offered mine. I suppose it's common sense but I wouldn't have come up with 'black is the most adaptable'.
You learn something new every day and I've a feeling today could bring me into a whole new field.
The feature of the day is the Qatar Lennox Stakes which is a good, competitive race.
It's a feature of the week that fancied horses dominate the Group races and the favourite has won this Group Two five times with no winner greater than 7/1.
I can't see any reason to look beyond the market leaders who include last year's runner-up Dutch Connection and Richard Fahey's Birchwood and you can read what our star columnist has to say about all of his runners here.
This is what Ryan Moore had to say about War Decree in his exclusive Betfair column:
"Boynton is tough and brave and he dug deep to beat us at Newmarket last
time, but we get a 3lb pull for ¾ length and that just sways the odds in
my favour, I think. In addition, Boynton had the harder race there and
my colt ran green, and I think there is more to come from him as he
gains more experience. I think their Superlative form, and we pulled
well clear of the third, is the strongest on offer in here but clearly
we are dealing with lightly-raced 2yos who all have improvement in them."
Isomer ran well in the Chesham Stakes and I liked the run of the winner Churchill when going in again next time. He didn't look the quickest that day though and things could happen too quickly for him on this track. Of the remainder, Thunder Snow's run at Royal Ascot can be marked up as he was on the wrong side but that's more than been accounted for in his price and I'm more interested in seeing how Repton gets on as I think this is a colt with a future. The market says there isn't going to be any success in his immediate future though.
I'm not sure that there's any great point in arguing with the market but three winners have defied a penalty with two picking up the extra in the Superlative Stakes. Charlie Appleby is keen on Boynton and he's drifted to a top price of 10/3.
I know backing each-way at those sort of odds isn't everyone's cup of tea with a loss on the place side of the bet but it has to be considered doesn't it? He's already won at Goodwood so it takes that question mark out of the equation and it's hard to see him being out of the three. Alternatively a forecast the pair.
There are some promising individuals among the 'outsiders' but the market is all about the Superlative one-two Boynton and War Decree who is 3lbs better off for half a length.
The latter, trained by Aidan O'Brien, has attracted all the money with the 2s available at yesterday lunch time long gone (one non-runner since) and he's now a best of 6/5.
'Rattling' on to the Vintage Stakes and this is not a race where it has paid to look beyond the market leaders.
Galileo Gold at 9/2 last year and Strategic Prince at 6/1 in 2006 are the longest priced winners in a decade in a race that has been won by Highland Reel, Olympic Glory, Rio De La Plata, Xtension and Toormore in the past.....
I'm prone to throwing money at a forecast when I get myself this confused, usually four horses and I'm nearing a final list for that option. Erik The Red and Second Wave have to go in as does Fire Fighting and I'm going to throw in Mutamakkin too.
I'm no nearer to bringing up a short-list for the first but I am a bit of a stats fan and four-year-olds have won eight of the last 10 renewals. The reason for that, presumably, is that they're more likely to be progressing than their older counterparts and still ahead of the handicapper and the less exposed runners from their year do dominate the market. Erik The Red is more exposed than many but does have the services of Ryan Moore and has shaped as though he has it in him to win a prize like this. I don't think he's the worst each-way option (that's how I roll) and Second Wave has to be high on the list after his good run in the Wolferton.
The PR bods I'm sharing a desk with are hopeful that Frankie Dettori will ride his 3000th winner this week (I think he's six short) and among the many specials on offer, Betway are offering 4/1 that he goes on to ride 4000 winners! That would be some achievement and he'll need to get cracking. He was top jockey here last year and he's 11/4 to repeat the feat with Sky Bet, behind 5/4 favourite Ryan Moore.
Those Sky Bet prices and the top trainer prices (3/1 the field) can be found by heading to the specials on this page.
That got the grey cells thinking and in the midst of it there was an announcement from the racecourse welcoming the press to the Festival. I'm not saying I'm easily bought but I now have a glass of champagne on my desk......that'll help solve the first won't it?
I think every track is eager to upgrade the quality of their races and racing and there is a shortage of Group Ones over seven furlongs (he says off the top of his head). The racecourse has to earn the upgrade by attracting a better quality of horse to the race over a sustained period of time so I suppose they think the best way to do that is by raising the prize money. I agree though that may not help as one look at today's field with three runners from Godolphin suggest. The difference of a few tens of thousands of pounds to the big operations are immaterial as it's about creating stallions and I'm not convinced that people think of seven furlong horses as champions. Can you change that mindset? Possibly but it would take some time.
A very good day to JC who says: "Any thoughts On Goodwood wanting to upgrade the Lennox to Group 1 status?
It looks a weak enough Group 2 today so not sure throwing more prize-money at it will increase the quality significantly."
He was rated 8lbs higher when running respectably in a Group Three at the meeting last year as his form has been rather in and out since winning at Dundalk in March. His latest effort is easy enough to ignore on account of the ground and he'd have every chance on the pick of last year's handicap form. There's a few ifs in there but he is 20s+
Revolutionist is a big, long striding horse and I'm far from convinced that he will be able to handle this turning downhill track. Ben Linfoot has nailed his colours to the mast of Stars Over The Sea and there's plenty of love for Fire Fighting too. This is easy to see - too easy? - as he's 8lbs lower than when third in last year's renewal. He hasn't been missed in the betting but there's a chance that Watersmeet has...
If you want to mail me your tenuous doubles or otherwise today, I can be reached on email@example.com
My tenuous and, pretty appalling, Beatles double for the day features his Revolutionist in the first and Hay Chewed later on.....
There should be no excuses then and Mutamakkin is running out of them but he has shaped as though he's capable of better. Sir Michael Stoute is another trainer who has enjoyed recent success in this race but Mark Johnston has been the man to follow with four winners in 10 years. The only problem being that you can't back all four of his runners........or can you?
While I pontificate, some words from Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley whose widely renowned for producing some of the best ground to race on year after year.
"We have been watering the course each evening since last Tuesday to maintain the current going descriptions and that exercise has been successful.
"It was dry overnight and we watered selectively yesterday evening, from the 10 furlong start to the bottom bend.
"The GoingStick reading today is 8.1, exactly the same as yesterday, and just where I wanted it to be."
The promised audio 'gold' below where I 'committed' myself to Mutamakkin in the opener but I've every intention of changing my mind at least half a dozen times before then.
There are lies, damned lies and statistics as they say and Spencer's five-year record at Goodwood is a measly seven winners from 78 rides at 9% but it's widely considered that he rides Ascot well and his strike rate there is only 10%. It can't be much more than a gut feeling but I think it's enough to put me off in a competitive race despite Cumani saddling a first and second in the last two renewals.