The Naussau Stakes is the feature race at Goodwood on Saturday, but the defection earlier in the week of Roger Charlton’s Thistle Bird and the retirement earlier in the season of 2012 winner The Fugue makes it a sub-standard renewal.
There is rain forecast and how much they get could have a direct bearing on the outcome of the race. On fast ground Venus De Milo must go close, although she might find this trip on the sharp side, but any significant rain would play into the hands of French raider Narniyn (3.15) last seen when finishing fourth over 12f against the boys in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud.
The selection is a fine looking animal and a rare British runner in the colours of The Aga Khan for Alain De Royer-Dupre.
She had won in listed and Group 3 company prior to her latest start when she might not have got home over the mile-and-a-half. This slight drop in trip should suit and if acting on the track she must go close and is a 4/1 chance at BetVictor.
The 32Red Cup, registered as the Stewards’ Cup, is the big betting race of the day and we are betting five places on the cavalry charge at BetVictor.
My two against the field are from stall two Muthmir (7/1 at BetVictor) and from the stands’ side in stall 23 Discussiontofollow (8/1). The former needs fast ground to be seen at his best but looked a Group horse when scoring at York last weekend while the latter has been laid out for the race and won with something in hand over the minimum trip at Ascot on his latest start.
It’s no surprise to see Rainbow Rock (2.40) out again in the 12f handicap although his stamina for this trip must be taken on trust. The gelding couldn’t go the early gallop when a fast-finishing runner up at Goodwood on Thursday over 10f suggesting that today’s trip will see him in an even better light.
That said the Mark Johnston inmate might have to improve to see off the challenge of Kings Fete, who wears a hood for the first time having been very free to post and in the early part of the race when scoring at York last time from only a 5lb lower mark. He holds an entry in both the Gt Voltigeur at York later in the month and the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster next month but might have to be up to that class to give 23lbs, including the jockey’s claim, to the selection.
The 7f juvenile maiden was won by Johnston’s Steeler in 2012 and his half-brother Secret Brief (4.25) can keep it in the family in what looks a most informative contest.
The selection showed plenty of ability on debut at Ripon and with that experience behind is taken to score in a race that will throw up plenty of winners in the months to come.
There is a terrific 10f handicap at Doncaster and Jamie Spencer can take advantage of the weight-for-age concession aboard 3-y-old Yenhaab (4.35) who looked to be progressing nicely when scoring at Chester for the bang in-form William Haggas last time.
He made all on the Roodeye last time and it will be interesting to see if the jockey adopts similar tactics today although Spirit Of The Law and Storm King have both led in the past.
Lawney Hill has her string in excellent form and I hope Rogue Dancer (3.25) can defy a 13lb rise in the weights at Market Rasen on Sunday having jumped his rivals ragged at Uttoxeter last time after hinting at a return to form at Newton Abbot previously. The 12L runner up Big Sound won back at the Staffordshire track earlier in the week and if jumping with the same panache Rogue Dancer will be hard to beat.
At Newbury on Sunday, Accra Beach (2.40) can go one better than when runner up at Windsor from a poor draw on debut. Roger Charlton saddled the winner of the corresponding race a couple of years ago and he is a confident selection.
In the listed Chalice Stakes I am going to give Wonderstruck (3.50) another chance dropped in Grade having been beaten less than 4L in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. She has only had the three career starts to date and would not have to improve much more to take a hand in a cracking contest.
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