It’s Day One of Glorious Goodwood and Nick Luck is here with his thoughts ahead of the action on the opening day…
3.35 Goodwood Cup Stakes
I remember being at Goodwood when Double Trigger won his third Goodwood Cup – the roof came off the stand.
It was the biggest roar I’d ever heard at the genteel Sussex track and there hasn’t been one to match it since. That could all change tomorrow, however, if Big Orange emulates the feat.
It’s easy to see why these front running stayers are so popular: they try hard, they’re around forever and you know when they’re going to show up.
The admirable Big Orange, on all figures, will be very hard to beat – the feelgood factor will be exacerbated now the race is a Group 1.
But…. the ground is going to be a little easier than is ideal for him and he’s not going to get a completely untested time of things upfront.
As such , it may well be worth having an each-way dart at Sheikhzayedroad, who I think is the horse most likely to give him something to think about.
He was third in the race last year and finished ahead of Big Orange in the Dubai Gold Cup. He was also inconvenienced by the very fast ground at Ascot and an evenly run race at 2m will suit him better than an on-off tempo at 2.5m.
The joker in the pack is clearly US Army Ranger. It’s intriguing that Aidan O’Brien is trying to turn him into a Cup and was clearly using the Queen Alexandra as a sighter to see if a staying trip was within his compass.
He appeared to have no problem with the extended trip at Ascot but it’s just a question of whether he’s able to produce the same ability which saw him finish second in last year’s Derby.
Having had one look-see over an extended distance, it’ll be very interesting to see if he can build on that and if he can(with a bit of ease in the ground) find his best form from his three-year-old season, then he’ll be a danger to all.
1.50 4-y-o Handicap
The first race of the day is a bit of a mine-field but I (and plenty of others) think there may be quite a bit more to come from Garcia.
He’s not very well drawn but he will act well on softish ground judging by his efforts last season.
I don’t think he got the rub of the green in the John Smiths Cup at York, where he ran off a very, very sedate pace.
The first four were always well positioned and he was the only one to come from off the speed to get close.
Provided he doesn’t bounce off that, he’s got a pretty good chance of overcoming what’s an average draw – if he was better drawn I’d fancy him strongly.
Of the others, Khairaat looked really good at Chester, but I don’t like the way he moves.
If there’s one who could run well at a bigger price, it could be Speed Company who is in stall one and has come back into a little bit of form.
2.25 Vintage Stakes
I quite like Seahenge, a son of Scat Daddy, whose win at Naas was quite tidy.
Naas is a difficuly course on which to appear impressive on a two year old debut, but he beat an admittedly average field very snugly.
It’s interesting the Coolmore team are running this horse here. Aidan ran Duke of Marmalade in this race and Highland Reel won it, so when they do throw one at it, it tends to be a horse of significantly above average ability.
Cold Stare is a very interesting runner, trained by Eoghan O’Neill, who, when he was training for John Fretwell, had some significant success at this meeting, including this race in 2005 with Always Hopeful.
He might rate the main danger, but Seahenge is the pick.
3.00 Lennox Stakes
What a race this is!
They’re going to go a good gallop and I think the 7f round here will suit Limato well, though received wisdom has it he wants the ground a little quicker.
He’s going to run very well again, but I’ve got a sneaky fancy for Dream Castle and I’m going to give him a chance to step up to the plate.
It’s a tough ask, as it looks like a deep Lennox with lots of horses besides Limato who are borderline Group One class.
Dream Castle’s run in the Jersey Stakes wasn’t too bad at all – it was only the fourth start of his career and the first time that Josie Gordon had ridden him, where he was keen early on and hit a flat spot before staying on, so I think a bend might help him to race a bit more evenly, which will enable him to have a bit more at the finish.
I think he’ll want them to go a good,honest gallop, just so he can switch off and Home Of The Brave should ensure that.
Nick’s Picks for Day 1
3.35 Goodwood Cup Stakes – Sheikhzayedroad E/W
1.50 4-y-o Handicap – Garcia
2.25 Vintage Stakes – Seahenge
3.00 Lennox Stakes – Dream Castle E/W
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.