We have reached the penultimate day of the Glorious Goodwood festival and on Friday the card is headlined by the Qatar Stakes where Battaash will bid to continue to look a formidable force once again on a day littered with Group 1 races.
There are one or two tempting bets among the hot favourites in the Group races but out betting attention has been on the handicaps in the main this week, and that remains the case on Friday where we will attack both on the card.
With one bookie paying 4 places in a 9 runner handicap, it automatically has appeal from an each way perspective. This is a Class 3 over 1 mile 3 furlongs where Jim Crowley rides the favourite Al Qaqaa. He’s also on board 3 other favourites with arguably better chances aboard Khaloosy and the mighty Battaash. The horse won on his last start beating today’s rival Moomba by 8 lengths but that margin was exaggerated & the form is questionable on a track heavily favouring front runners. Mafia Power is another who won well last time out but he’s up 11lbs and may prefer a bit of cut. Cepheus should go close & Berkshire Savvy has claims too if backing up his win at Windsor last time. Celestran keeps promising lots but hasn’t quite delivered.
At a big price from the foot of the weights, I’m siding with Aquascape. He’s yet to win in 4 career starts but is getting better for each step up in trip, and he goes up another furlong today. After 2 good runs on the all weather over a mile, he was 2nd here off a 4lb lower mark over 10 furlongs at 18/1. He was only beaten in a head bob too. It was a little disappointing that he was only 2nd at Bath in a small field on his most recent start but he wasn’t given a hard time inside the last furlong when beaten. With fast ground, the extra furlong, the track & a good jockey booking all in favour, I’m expecting him to go very well.
Back Aquascape (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 17.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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This is probably my favourite race of the whole meeting, the Golden Mile handicap where, this year, 15 head down to the start. All bar one of the last 9 winners came from the lowest 8 stalls (7 from the lowest 5) and the same number carried no more than 9st2lbs. That’s bad news for Montatham with his big weight & the widest draw whilst other well fancied types, Sir Busker & Vale Of Kent, also have big weights to carry. The former probably holds the best chance of those mentioned, having won the Silver Royal Hunt Cup & finishing 2nd in the Bunbury Cup on his last 2 starts. His mark has gone up 11lbs in the process. Prompting is the current favourite for the David O’Meara yard having won his last 2 & officially being 6lbs well in but this is a marked rise in grade & odds of 4/1 puts me off.
Another that’s officially well in (2lbs in this case) is our first selection, Cliffs Of Capri. He’s solid in big handicaps & deserves to win one soon having finished in the frame on his 3 starts this term, the latter 2 when placed in the Buckingham Palace & International Stakes, both at Ascot. They were off marks of 96 & 97 and he goes off 97 again today. He’s got a good draw in 3, loves a big field handicap, has run well on both starts here (last season), with the only question mark being whether this comes too soon after his Ascot exertions 6 days ago.
Our second bet comes in the form of Almufti who is too big a price to ignore. He’s yet to win on turf but has won 3 times on the all weather, most recently off a mark of 87 (off 91 today). He was 4th in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup behind Sir Busker 2 starts ago, travelling well but just failing to see it out after an absence. He’s 11lbs better off with the winner & has just over 2 lengths to make up. His last run can be ignored when 4th of 6 at Newmarket where the soft ground was against him. It’s also worth noting that he still finished one place in front of Maydanny, who won a big handicap here on Tuesday in good style. This is his first time on a turning track which may help (based on his all weather form), has the inside draw and provided the gaps come at the right time, he should go close.
Back Cliffs Of Capri (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 12.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
Back it here:
Back Almufti (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)