Beacon stands out
Our Man On The Spot previews all the action on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood.
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Tha'ir beat Sennockian Star at Newmarket around this time a year ago and is better off at the weights despite earning some decent prize money in Dubai over the winter. It's now almost two years since the once high-class Wigmore Hall won a race but he'll think he's been let loose on a mark of 97, 20lb lower than at his peak. George Baker places his horses well so the fact that I'm Fraam Govan hasn't run since December shouldn't be a concern and he was looking very progressive at the time. STOMACHION couldn't quite get to Miss Marjurie at Epsom on Derby Day but had Blue Surge 8l back in third and a return to this shorter trip should help Sir Michael Stoute's progressive charge. A line through Border Legend, who was third to him at Newmarket before beating Ajman Bridge at Newbury, just gives him the edge over Luca Cumani's colt and he's handed the vote to get Ryan Moore off to a flyer at the fixture. Charles Camoin is always likely to pop up when least expected and has won off a higher mark in the past.
Richard Hannon would have had a host of possibles for this but relies on BEACON with Dougal and Spirit Of Xian looking the second strings. The former had no problem seeing off Mukhmal and Union Rose in a Sandown Listed contest earlier in the month and looks the obvious solution. Cotai Glory looks a fast-ground specialist who won easily at Bath before stepping up to finish runner-up in a Newbury Listed contest where he led for most of that 6f so he looks the main threat. Kevin Ryan doesn't enter horses in Group races unless thought capable of earning some black type so the presence of Fast Act, third in the lucrative Weatherby's Super Sprint, is intriguing.
Garswood won this a year ago when Boom And Bust was close behind in third but the ground was on the soft side and Richard Fahey will be hoping for some rain. He was a length behind Gregorian in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket and the winner has since produced a superb effort in the July Cup. Three-year-olds have a cracking record in the race and though Richard Hannon has a trio of entries all eyes will be on TOORMORE, who represents this year's classic form. The Craven Stakes winner didn't quite last out the mile of the 2000 Guineas or the St James's Palace Stakes so a return to this trip will suit his basic speed and he can get back on track. German raider Amarillo didn't enjoy the soft ground at Haydock in May and has subsequently won a Group 3 at Hamburg.
Luca Cumani has won this three times in recent years so Havana Cooler, who hasn't been beaten far in his last three starts in very tough handicaps, looks just the type for this. He'll have no problems staying the trip nor will Continuum, who landed the John Smith's Silver Cup at York over the distance, nor Big Thunder, who won a Haydock handicap in September and will have needed his comeback in the Northumberland Plate. REPEATER finished an excellent third in that Newcastle event before being beaten by Havana Beat at Sandown where he was very reluctant to race. He's a very quirky individual but Ryan Moore gets a chance to make up for that last run and hopefully can galvanise his mount to victory. Kings Bayonet has won over 2m4f over timber so he'll have no problems staying and had the pace to score over 1m4f on fast ground at Chester. He should go well as should Dashing Star, runner-up in York's Melrose handicap over the trip in August.
Richard Hannon has a trio of entries and Acaster Malbis, a half-brother to the Listed winner Odeliz, should prove the best of them under Richard Hughes. Aussie Ruler has been showing good pace without finding a finishing burst but WINSTANLEY has come up against the very progressive Pallister on his last two starts and hasn't been beaten far so unless there is something useful amongst the newcomers he can finally come good. Dark Profit is well regarded and took a step forward at Haydock while Mutafarrej is probably capable of better than we've seen to date. Both Lackaday and Misleading are very speedily bred while Moodrick cost 12,000 euros as a foal and 110,000 euros as a two-year-old so someone obviously saw something in him.
Hugo Palmer trained the winner a year ago and will have EXTREMITY primed to follow suit. Twice a winner in just seven starts, which have all been over 7f, he looked in need of further at Sandown last time and looks on a reasonable enough mark. Lesha landed a Haydock handicap but didn't find the necessary improvement from 5lb higher on much softer ground at Newmarket. If the ground firms up he's on the shortlist along with Sheila's Buddy, who made all for a very easy victory at Bath. Skytrain has been gradually dropping in the weights and is back on the same mark as when successful at Newmarket a year ago and though Ogbourne Downs is penalised 6lb for last week's Sandown victory Cam Hardie's claim take care of most of the extra. Showpiece is consistent enough to get involved from his lowly spot in the handicap.
This is always one of the meeting's toughest races for punters to fathom as the last two winners, at 25/1 and 22/1, suggest. Both were trained by Tony Carroll, who has two entries this year including last year's winner Tidal's Baby, who is 5lb higher but will be ridden again by Raul Da Silva. Don't rule out the other from the Carroll yard, Valmina, who is very well handicapped on his all-weather form. Dandy Nicholls once dominated these Goodwood sprints and the veteran Inxile has been slipping to a fair mark but stablemate Fitz Flyer doesn't win very often and still has high enough weight. BARNET FAIR could prove best of the stable's entries and he's given the nod in a very difficult race as he's back on exactly the same mark as when successful in a better handicap than this at Ascot a year ago for Richard Guest. He showed that another victory is imminent with an excellent run in that same Ascot race on Sunday. Daylight's recent victories have been over 6f and Lexi's Hero is 10lb higher than his last victory.