It's day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival and Matt Brocklebank picks out the horses he reckons have been underestimated by the layers.
Recommended bets, Wednesday July 29
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A really exciting edition of the Qatar Sussex Stakes is the clear highlight at Goodwood on Wednesday.
The race brings together the one-two from the Guineas at Newmarket in Kameko and Wichita, the one-two from the Irish Guineas in Siskin and Vatican City, plus three very likeable four-year-old colts.
It’s not an easy race to call but one thing you’re just about guaranteed is that one of Aidan O’Brien’s runners will take them along – most likely Vatican City – and it could well be that stablemates Wichita and Circus Maximus are next in line if they all get away well enough from the stalls.
The idea will be to take the sting out of the powerful, late bursts of Siskin, Kameko and Mohaather, and it’s obviously going to take a really good one to mow down all three of the Ballydoyle trio.
Mohaather looks the one capable of pulling it off, after Marcus Tregoning’s lightly-raced horse produced a real coming-of-age performance when slamming San Donato and company in the Summer Mile at Ascot.
He has to go and convert that to a Group One, as well as concede 8lb to a couple of Classic winners, but everything we know about him suggests he’s on the up and should be perfectly suited to the course.
It’s also not hard to imagine – given his trainer is based just an hour and a half along the road – that this is his standout target of the entire season, which can’t really be said of the main market rivals, especially Siskin who was absolutely cherry-ripe for the Curragh.
So while Wichita is feared if the ground dries out appreciably, it’s Mohaather for me in the big one but it’s not like his price has much life left in it.
That’s not the case with SMART CHAMPION, who is fancied to win the Unibet You’re On Goodwood Handicap over the extended two and a half miles at 11/1 (General).
He was looked after in the home straight by Callum Shepherd following a bit of a nightmare trip around the houses in the Northumberland Plate last month, and I’m quite content to put a line through that effort.
Prior to Newcastle, he’d run a massive race from the back of the pack to end up fourth in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting and I still think he’s got loads more to offer over these extreme distances.
The five-year-old has improved a lot since David Simcock started running him in a hood so he’s also excused a lesser effort on his only previous (hoodless) appearance at Goodwood last September.
Raised 2lb for the excellent Ascot run, he’s now only 6lb higher than when beating Carnwennan at Newcastle in February, which takes some doing, and a step back up in distance on drying ground is exactly what he’s after.
No doubt connections will be keen to get him rolling again on turf before conditions begin to deteriorate for races like the Cesarewitch later into the season, and I like his claims at a double-figure odds.
William Haggas can do little wrong with his three-year-old handicappers at the moment and I’m surprised A STAR ABOVE (8/1 General) isn’t much shorter for the Unibet 3 Boosts A Day Handicap, a race his trainer won in 2016 with Dal Harraild.
The son of Sea The Stars wasn’t given a hard time in two juvenile outings on the all-weather just before the turn of the year but he’s kicked on since moving up to a mile and a half on turf this season.
He was strong at the finish when winning his maiden at Thirsk on June 22 before seeing off Au Clair De Lune at Leicester on handicap debut.
A subsequent 7lb rise looks lenient and sees him sneak in here under a low weight with Hollie Doyle coming in for the ride. I’d be surprised if a relatively wide drawn proved any kind of hindrance to her and I think the colt is just so far ahead of his mark.
There are dangers everywhere you turn in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes and you can’t rule many out but SPIRIT WARNING appeals as a reasonable bet at 16/1 (General) after the ITV cameras have stopped rolling in the concluding Theo Fennell Handicap.
Andrew Balding has done extremely well with this horse’s close relatives Side Glance and Rawaki, both of whom progressed markedly with racing and were at their peaks aged four and five.
Spirit Warning’s inconsistency will no doubt prevent him scaling the heights those two reached, but when he’s on his best behaviour he can do some damage at seven furlongs or an easy mile.
This might ultimately prove an insufficient test but we can roll the dice on that score as he’s got himself well handicapped again after two complete no-shows last August and September when last sighted on turf.
He’d previously won a Windsor handicap off this mark of 89, while some of his all-weather efforts at Lingfield earlier this year before the lockdown began gave the impression he was an improved horse this time around.
He’s got to prove it all over again on grass and was a non-runner at Newbury last month (vet’s certificate), but he’s gone well fresh in the past and Balding tends to target this meeting.
Josh Bryan has won twice on the horse before and should be able to pick up a great early position from stall five – after that it might depend what mood Spirit Warning is in but it’s a chance I’m willing to take at the price, even if he has been nibbled into 16s from 25s throughout Tuesday.
Posted at 1600 BST on 28/07/20
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