Alex Hammond: Cat can pounce

  • Last Updated: July 31 2014, 23:53 BST

Alex Hammond previews the rest of Glorious Goodwood and the Galway Festival and fancies Captain Cat to strike on Friday.

Captain Cat: Leading player in Friday's Betfred Mile
Captain Cat: Leading player in Friday's Betfred Mile

We are spoilt for choice this week with a fantastic mix of action from the Galway Festival and Glorious Goodwood.


The highlight at Goodwood on Friday is the Betfred Mile and it looks wide-open. Farraaj will carry top weight if he runs this weekend. Roger Varian’s gelding comes into the race having won his last two starts and should get the fast ground he requires. He won the John Smith’s Cup on his last start and his trainer decided against a quick run back at that track last weekend and runs here instead giving him an extra week to get over his exertions. He has a 3lb penalty for that win which may not be too much of an anchor. The worry of course is this trip as it seems a mile and a quarter suits him best nowadays.

Luca Cumani’s Velox was impressive when winning the Challenge Stakes at Sandown last time out. He has entries in Group races later in the season and there should be more to come. He was raised 9lb for that win but looks an improving horse with gears.

Roger Charlton’s Captain Cat comes here a fresh horse having been off since winning on the all-weather back in April on the valuable Good Friday card at Lingfield. He needs top of the ground which he ought to get here unless there’s a downpour this week; keep an eye on the forecast if you fancy him. He has improved hugely on the all weather and this will be his first run on turf since August last year. I fancy him to win again and as he won for us on the blog on the Good Friday card I’m sticking with him and hope he can translate that artificial surface form to the grass.


There is so much to look forward to on the final day with the annual puzzle that is the Stewards' Cup, now known as the 32 Red Cup, run over six furlongs. I have some loyalty to the William Haggas-trained Muthmir because he saved me from a moderate showing in the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival tipping competition with his 4/1 win in the Sky Bet Dash last weekend.

He’s only a four-year old and is lightly raced and looks a sprinter with a huge future. If he runs again he will be incredibly popular after his authoritative display at York. As a result though, he may not be much value and against my better judgement I’ll look elsewhere.

I think Intrinsic is one of his most interesting rivals for ‘sprint king’ Robert Cowell. The vibes about this horse have been very positive and he could be well handicapped. Like the favourite he is also a four-year-old and is also lightly raced. He would have had one more run under his belt had he not missed the cut for the Wokingham, but that could work in his favour as he runs here off a mark of 95. He does need a couple of horses above him to come out to get a run, but that seems likely. Cowell is a trainer that does well with his sprinters and has the ability to keep them fresh and loving the game - just look at Kingsgate Native.

Also on Saturday there’s the Nassau Stakes, a Group One for fillies and mares over a mile and a quarter. Thistle Bird will be popular in this for trainer Roger Charlton having won her last two including the Group One Pretty Polly over this trip at the Curragh last time out.

She beat another of her potential rivals, Venus de Milo there, and looks like an improving filly. Charlton was apparently keen for her to race on this season and it’s clear why as she now has that valuable Group One win to her name and looks capable of adding to that tally before the season is over. Let’s hope it comes in this!

In the meantime I’m off to Hickstead (just down the road from Goodwood) this weekend to cover the Royal International Horse Show for Sky Sports, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the racing, so let’s hope for a few winners!



Captain Cat in the Betfred Mile @ 12/1 with Sky Bet


Intrinsic in the Bet365 Cup @ 12/1 with Sky Bet

Thistle Bird in the Nassau Stakes @ 7/4 with Sky Bet