Mike Cattermole had three winners on day one of Glorious Goodwood and he's tipping Soldier's Call to follow-up his Royal Ascot success on day two in Sussex.
The clash between Without Parole and Expert Eye in Wednesday’s Qatar Sussex Stakes looks on paper to be one of the biggest attractions of the week.
However, in a race where there is a distinct lack of pace – there are no obvious front-runners in the line-up and many hold-up performers – this could be tactical and more open than you might first imagine and indeed there are plenty of very talented older horses who cannot be ruled out in a hurry.
It was at this meeting last year that Expert Eye wowed everybody with a performance that bristled with star potential in the Vintage Stakes but his career hit an unexpected flat spot when flopping in the Dewhurst.
Even his second in the Greenham, although a step in the right direction, was a little underwhelming and he was then a bitter disappointment in the 2,000 Guineas when beating only four home behind Saxon Warrior after pulling too hard.
However, a drop back in trip in the Jersey rediscovered the “real” Expert Eye as he sluiced through the field to claim a high-class near five-length win.
That return to form was gained with a strong pace over the straight seven furlongs. This is so different.
An injury setback meant that Without Parole missed the 2,000 Guineas but he showed he is a top-class colt with a half-length win from Gustav Klimt in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
The son of Frankel showed a fine turn of foot between the 2f and 1f poles, enabling him to get first run on Gustav Klimt who tried hard but was always being held.
Since then, Aidan O’Brien’s colt has been third in the Prix Jean Prat and has now been beaten in all four of the Group One’s he has contested.
Without Parole has had just the four starts and has some scope to improve again and he looks the most likely winner.
But Beat The Bank is worth an each-way interest.
He was an impressive winner of the Thoroughbred Stakes here last year and is a two-time Group Two winner with his latest success coming in the Summer Mile at Ascot when he out-speeded Lord Glitters (who reopposes) in a driving finish after not getting the best of runs.
That is no mean feat as David O’Meara’s grey has a superb turn of foot as shown again when second to Accidental Agent in the Queen Anne where Beat The Bank was denied a run at a crucial stage before running on when all too late.
If it all falls right for him, Beat The Bank won’t be far away as he attempts to follow his stablemate Here Comes When’s surprise win 12 months ago.
Good old Lightning Spear was third in that but he has been beaten in 15 races at Group One level now.
The Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes can go to Soldier’s Call who improved to win the Windsor Castle Stakes against 27 rivals (including Queen Of Bermuda) in good style and looks a worthy favourite.
That form looks stronger than that shown by Norfolk Stakes fourth Rumble Inthejungle.
The card opens with the Matchbook Goodwood Handicap over an extreme distance of an extended two and a half miles. Will Coeur De Lion, third at Newbury recently, finally get it right? He stays well enough but is hard to win with, usually keeping on late and I wonder if more positive tactics would help?
However, the mark of smart hurdler Lil Rockefeller, who has not raced on the Flat since May, 2015, looks very attractive given that he has improved around two stone over timber since.
The recent rain, which has eased the ground from very quick, is no bad thing for him, either.
Imphal is interesting over the trip, too as he looks sure to stay and probably improve while last year’s winner Cool Sky is only 5lb higher although his hurdles form has been inconsistent more recently (but he did win at Aintree in May).
Corgi, runner-up in the King George V Handicap, has a new 6lb higher mark in the Move Over To Matchbook Handicap but can still go well.
However, Soto Sizzler has run well at the track before, is progressing and looks a fairly priced 16-1 each-way shot.
1.50 LIL ROCKEFELLER, 2.25 SOTO SIZZLER (EW), 3.00 SOLDIER’S CALL, 3.35 WITHOUT PAROLE (BEAT THE BANK EW)