The idyllic setting of the Sussex South Downs enjoys its annual equine spotlight next week in the shape of the 5 day Glorious Goodwood meeting. The showpiece of the meeting features the Group 1 mile event, The Sussex Stakes which boasts some illustrious names as past winners, including Frankel (twice) and Rock Of Gibraltar.
We will concentrate primarily on the three Group One events and conclude by taking a look at the big handicap on the Friday, The Betfred Mile Handicap as the odds on offer in this hugely competitive heat are enticing to say the least. However, the highlight of the meeting is a mouth-watering clash between the powerhouse stables of Coolmore, representing Churchill and the mighty Godolphin with Ribchester in Wednesday’s Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes and this is where we cast our eye first.
THE QATAR SUSSEX STAKES, WEDNESDAY 2ND AUGUST, 15.35 Goodwood
Churchill’s participation in this event was certainly thrown into doubt after flopping considerably in the The James St Palace Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting. However, his trainer Aidan O’Brien has put the performance down to mitigating circumstances including the hot weather that favoured the meeting combined with the travel from Ireland. Nevertheless, he’s reported to be in good form and combined with Aidan O’Brien scintillating record in this race, which includes 5 victories since the year 2000 and Churchill’s double Guineas wins at Newmarket and The Curragh, the choice is just marginally in favour of the Michael Tabor owned 3 year old.
Godolphin come armed with the versatile and improving Ribchester. The Richard Fahey trained 4 year old has really come to the fore in his last two running’s, including a fine win in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot where he ran on impressively in the final furlong to claim a 1½ length victory over Mutakayyef. The clash between Churchill and Ribchester is no doubt the talking point of the meeting and I’m confident it will be decided between these two.
Churchill can be best backed at 15/8 (Coral) whereas Ribchester is surprisingly odds on with most firms although Betfair are sticking their necks out to offer 11/10. Odds are likely to flip-flop in the next few days however as the debating reaches fever-pitch by Wednesday morning. Each way doesn’t look an option elsewhere although Barney Roy who held Churchill at Ascot is available at 6’s with Bet Victor and Paddy Power.
THE QATAR GOODWOOD CUP STAKES, TUESDAY 1ST AUGUST, 1535 Goodwood
Big Orange trained by Michael Bell has found himself almost catapulted to the top of the stayers championship this season with two emphatic wins, the latest being a brilliant performance in the Ascot Gold Cup where he narrowly beat the highly regarded Order Of St George. However, the Aidan O’Brien charge has sadly been omitted in favour of a midseason break and crack at the Irish St Ledger thereby almost handing this much anticipated rematch to Big Orange on a plate. He should land this comfortably at best price Evens with Sporting Bet although the O’Brien replacement, the experienced US Army Ranger may appease each way backers at 16/1 with William Hill.
THE QATAR NASSAU STAKES, THURSDAY 3RD AUGUST
Winter has done little wrong this season and deservedly leads the market in this fillies and mares championship race. She confirmed her dominance in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating her stable rivals to give Aidan O’Brien an unprecedented 1-2-3. However, John Gosden has reported his unexposed chance So Mi Dar to be in fine fettle, despite being unraced this season due to inappropriate going and minor setbacks. So Mi Dar was unbeaten last season and if the preferred fast going comes up, she may put in a good value run for each way backers at best 8/1 with most firms.
THE BETFRED MILE HANDICAP, FRIDAY 4TH AUGUST
A very open punting affair rounds off the week and we think Blair House looks well handicapped (10/1 Boylesports) although plenty of others are in with a shout. Looking down the handicap, Gossiping (33/1 Boylesports) trained by Gary Moore has course and distance form whilst Birchwood (33/1 Paddy Power) trained by Richard Fahey could also enter the fray.
Good luck with all bets for Glorious Goodwood!