Dr to prescribe profits
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt previews day two of Glorious Goodwood.
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With Kingman given the all clear to run (though connections will be concerned if ground conditions continue to dry), another fantastic 'Duel on the Downs' is set to take place in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday when Toronado, last year's winner, looks the big danger to this year's Irish Guineas and St James' Palace Stakes hero.
But for a messy race in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, where the field split into two groups, Kingman could well be unbeaten this season and he handsomely turned the tables on his conqueror that day, Night Of Thunder, at Royal Ascot. Connections have been deliberating whether to run here or in the Prix Jacques le Marois but, at the time of writing, it looks like all systems go and this could be an intriguing battle between two horses with potent acceleration.
So brilliant was Kingman last time, that he is very difficult to oppose but, in Toronado, he faces a really smart rival - a horse who picked off Dawn Approach to win a shade comfortably in this midsummer miling highlight 12 months ago.
Not everyone was impressed with Toronado's reappearance win in the Queen Anne Stakes - it was a race he was fully expected to win even though he'd been off the course since disappointing at York last August - and one senses that he will need to reproduce last year's performance here, at the very least, if he's to follow up. However, there was no faulting the colt's appearance at Ascot as he has grown into a magnificent individual.
Tactics could be all important; Richard Hughes tried to get first run when riding Night Of Thunder against Kingman at the Royal meeting and will doubtless have another plan up his sleeve. But, however the race is run, it is likely that the short-priced favourite's unbelievable turn of foot will prove decisive.
Both Outstrip and War Command (third and fourth in the St James' Palace) are clearly up against it on form and the field is made up by Darwin who could possibly help ensure a solid pace for stable companion War Command who was staying on at Ascot and now drops back to a mile having run since in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown over two furlongs further.
In conclusion, Kingman is very hard to oppose but the odds will only appeal to big players.
Earlier, it would be easy to dismiss Somewhat's third place (at 100-1) in the Eclipse as a bit of a fluke and, in his role as pacemaker that day, he was certainly given too much rope by several better-fancied rivals.
However, Mark Johnston's colt was still less than three lengths behind the high-class Mukhadram at the finish and, if able to run within 7lb of that effort, should take all the beating in Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes in which the step up to a mile and a half should be well within range of this son of Dynaformer.
Somewhat's earlier efforts this season had been disappointing - especially given his smart two-year-old form - but his trainer Mark Johnston has never had his horses in better form and the selection's improved performance at Sandown mirrored the efforts shown by many of his stable companions these past few weeks.
Snow Sky could be the danger. Sir Michael Stoute's colt handed out a two length beating to Somewhat's stable-companion Hartnell (a winner twice since) in the Lingfield Derby Trial in May and wasn't disgraced when fourth to Eagle Top in the King Edward V11 Stakes at Royal Ascot where he lost third place to Scotland in the last strides. Despite the placings, he ran like a better horse than Scotland in that race.
By way of offering a second selection, it might be worth taking a chance on DR NO in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes.
The Coventry seventh - form working out well - will be ridden by Ryan Moore with stable jockey Richard Hughes jocked up on the Sandown winner Tupi. However, Dr No's form looks stronger as he had earlier beaten Aktabantay (second since in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket) when scoring at Nottingham.
Ahlan Emarati also boasts a fine Ascot effort to his name, though has also been declared here on Thursday, but the likely favourite will be Aidan O'Brien's colt Highland Reel who won by no less than 12 lengths at Gowran Park on his second start.
Highland Reel could very well be a cut above here but he will help make a price for Dr No who, if all eight runners stand their ground, could be worth an each-way interest.