Fresh from three winners on the opening day, our racing expert runs the rule over Wednesday's televised action.
1:50 2m4½f (2m4f134y) Matchbook Betting Podcast Goodwood Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Lil Rockerfeller is thrown in here on a mark of 82 based on his high-class hurdles form (he’s rated 153 in that sphere) and his in-form trainer Neil King has almost certainly targeted him at this. He may well dot up but he wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much and it’s also worth noting he was beaten off a higher mark when last seen on the level.
He’s therefore reluctantly opposed at current short odds in favour of Marcus Tregoning’s IMPHAL, who goes well here and has been giving the strong impression that he is going to be suited by this extreme stamina test. The winner of four of his five starts last season (second on the other occasion), he has finished third on all three of his starts this term, including over 2m here the last twice, and each time he has looked strong at the finish. With the in-form Hayley Turner replacing a 7lb claimer, he looks a cracking each-way bet at bet365’s 10/1.
Of the rest, there is little between Couer De Lion and Kloud Gate on their recent runnings at Ascot and Newbury, although the former is probably a stronger stayer at this trip and has to be feared.
RESULT: IMPHAL FINISHED 3RD @ 7/1
2:25 1m4f (1m3f218y) Move Over To Matchbook Handicap (Class 2) (3yo 0-105)
Likely favourite Making Miracles was undeniably impressive when making all over 1m6f at Haydock last time, kicking clear two out to score by three lengths, but he was beaten over this trip previously and also has a 7lb rise to contend with.
Instead, I’d much rather back Luca Cumani’s DRILL at the 10/1 on offer at bet365. He has looked most progressive since being upped to middle distances with a couple of easy wins at Chelmsford (1m2f) and Newmarket (1m4f) last time. In between those he was a beaten favourite at Salisbury, finishing eight lengths behind the re-opposing winner Infrastructure, but that effort can be forgiven as he lost a shoe and wouldn’t let himself down on the fast ground as a result. With every chance he is still improving after just six starts, he can shrug off his latest 5lb rise and give us a nice payday.
3:00 5f Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2yo)
I’m not going to look past the forecast favourite SOLDIERS CALL as he is all about speed, which is what is required over this downhill 5f, and I reckon he is the one horse in the race capable of making his mark at a higher level. His trainer Archie Watson, who is flying with seven winners from just 23 runners (30%) in the last fortnight, must be of that opinion too as he has given his colt an entry in the Group 1 Nunthorpe and that doesn’t look at all speculative given he had previous Group 2 winner Van Beethoven back in fourth when landing the Windsor Castle last time. Having led his group stands’ side in that Royal Ascot race, he saw it out strongly, always doing enough late on to win half a length, and he’ll be hard to catch if similar tactics are deployed here.
3:35 1m Qatar Sussex Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Expert Eye could not have been more impressive when winning as a juvenile at this meeting 12 months ago and while it’s been all plain sailing since, he bounced back to his very best when landing the Jersey Stakes in emphatic style last time and, providing he again settles well, today’s extra furlong shouldn’t be a problem.
However, he’s up against the unbeaten WITHOUT PAROLE and the son of Frankel looks the one to be on, albeit he’s favourite and no bigger than 7/4. That price might seem on the skinny side given that he had just half a length to spare over the re-opposing Gustav Klimt when completing his four-timer in the St James’s Palace Stakes. But he would have learned a lot from that experience and his trainer John Gosden said afterwards that there was a lot more to come from him as he was still on the “tubby’ side. So I’d be confident about him confirming the form with the Ascot runner-up, who has been beaten in four runs at this level, and I reckon he can also take care of the year older Beat The Bank in receipt of 7lb. It’s just a shame that he won’t be partnered by the suspended Frankie Dettori, who is 3-3 on him, but that’s no real reason to oppose him and Andrea Atzeni is a worthy substitute besides.
All odds were correct at time of posting.