Roger Varian isn’t quite firing at the sort of strike rate he’d like at the moment, but the Newmarket handler is steadily finding the net and has a fair hit rate with horses he sends to Goodwood in recent years. With just the one runner there today, plenty of eyes will be on PILASTER in the 2.25pm Lillie Langtry Stakes, a Group 2 contest for fillies over a demanding trip of 1m6f.
A daughter of Nathaniel, Pilaster is the least experienced in this competitive field of thirteen horses, but she’s unquestionably the most exciting in terms of potential. She only had the one run as a 2yo, shaping with promise in a 1m maiden at Doncaster. She returned at Chelmsford over 1m2f at the end of May to land a smart 1m2f novice stakes in really good style, powering readily clear at odds of 12/1. She followed up in a similar Kempton event next time out in early July under a penalty, this time going off at evens for the 1m4f contest. Once again, the Cheveley Park owned filly was very impressive in victory, fully appreciating the extra two furlongs and improving her game significantly from Chelmsford.
This is a big step up for only her fourth visit to a racecourse, but Pilaster is a very exciting filly. Seemingly, the further she goes the better she is, so this 1m6f distance could bring about even more improvement and I reckon she’ll prove too hot a cake for God Given & Co to handle.
The Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes at 3pm is a quality contest for 2yo sprinters, which this year has attracted quite a strong and competitive field of nine heading to post in search of a share of the weighty £200,000 prize money.
Richard Hannon’s (Jnr + Snr) stable has won 6 of the last 10 renewals of the race, so they’ll naturally be very hopefully Neverland Rock can build on his 3rd to the classy Quorto last time out. But I’m becoming a bit of a LAND FORCE fanboy and I can’t let Aidan O’Brien’s tankish, beastly No Nay Never colt go unbacked. This steadily progressive and experienced juvenile represents some of the best form on offer here and given his formidable physical presence, I can see him continuing to improve and refine his game in the coming weeks.
A confidence boosting win at Tipperary after his Royal Ascot 3rd should put a nice edge on him for this step back into top company and if handling the quirky Goodwood track, he’ll be bang there at the finish under Ryan Moore.
The feature race on Day 3 at Glorious Goodwood is the Group 1 Nassau Stakes, where – foolishly some might say and it may transpire as such – I remain hopeful Charlie Appleby’s WILD ILLUSION has a big Group 1 race in her this Summer. I have lost so much money from backing this filly in 2018, it hardly matters to chuck another few quid her way and despite my head telling me to peel back, to let it be, I just know she’ll be carrying my already dwindling-in-value GB Sterling once more. The step back from 1m4f to 1m2f is the icing on the cake, as it is an angle I do love to exploit and I think it will suit her. Not only because of her running style but also because Wild Illusion is a daughter of Dubawi and general consensus dictates that his offspring don’t do well over 12f at the top level.
Urban Fox is solid. Sir Michael Stoute’s Veracious may well be the next best thing at middle distances, but once again, it’s Wild Illusion for me in the big race.
You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.
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