Simon Holt previews day one of the Glorious Goodwood meeting and fancies Torcedor to turn the tables on Stradivarius in the Goodwood Gold Cup.
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In bidding for a second Goodwood Cup on Tuesday, Stradivarius will also seek to take one step further towards the £1 million Weatherbys-Hamilton sponsored stayers bonus, but TORCEDOR could be the value call.
Beaten under a length by Stradivarius in last month's Gold Cup, and now renewing rivalry on 1lb better terms, it is surprising that Jessie Harrington's improving six-year-old is as long as 5-1 in the betting compared to the cramped odds offered about the favourite especially as this half mile shorter trip should suit him better.
In front from over three out to just beyond the distance at Royal Ascot, Torcedor battled on well and, last October, was a half length in front of his rival (who was receiving weight for age) when second to Order Of St George on Champions Day on much softer ground. The likelihood of conditions being slightly slower than at Ascot could also prove to his advantage.
Clearly, there is little between these two fine stayers and, while it is difficult to fault the favourite's credentials, he was getting plenty of weight in this last year and, only a small horse, will now carry more lead in his saddle than ever before.
So, at the odds, I feel inclined to suggest the tables can be turned.
The pair should fight it out, though Call To Mind is an improver. Third behind Stradivarius and last year's third Desert Skyline (well beaten at Ascot) in the Yorkshire Cup in May, the four-year-old gave his owner The Queen a notable victory in the Belmont Gold Cup in New York subsequently and could get closer this time.
Meanwhile, Idaho has long looked worth a try over two miles but his best form seems to have deserted him so far this season.
Earlier on the card, SIR DANCEALOT can again prove that seven furlongs is his ideal trip in the Group Two Qatar Lennox Stakes.
This really taking individual has been running well all season including when staying on into fourth behind US Navy Flag in the July Cup (6f) last time having previously run out a comfortable winner from the re-opposing So Beloved (Dutch Connection sixth) over this distance at Newmarket.
Four of Sir Dancealot's six career wins have come at seven furlongs and, while he will need as much luck as any other horse in the field, he comes here after perhaps his two best performances.
If this year's renewal is anything like last year's contest won by Breton Rock, then a bunch finish could well be on the cards. While horses were getting in each other's way that day, David Simcock's old-stager flew down the outside to win at 50-1 and beat Home Of The Brave by half a length with an unlucky-looking Suedois a close third and So Beloved a running-on fifth.
However, whereas Breton Rock showed little on his return to action at Epsom last month, Suedois appears to be running into form judged on an excellent third behind Beat The Bank and Lord Glitters at Ascot two weeks ago.
David O'Meara's tough gelding should go well again.
The only three-year-old in the field is 2000 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win who drops back from a mile to seven furlongs after failing to land a blow behind Without Parole at Royal Ascot subsequently.
Roger Teal's colt was probably given plenty to do that day but, for me, still needs to prove that his 50-1 second at Newmarket, splitting Saxon Warrior and the Derby winner Masar, wasn't a bit of a freak performance.