What are the best bets at Goodwood on Wednesday?
The Group 1 Sussex Stakes is one of four races being shown live on Channel 4 and they come under the scrutiny of our racing expert here.
14:00 Matchbook Betting Exchange Goodwood Stakes (Handicap), 2m5f
The card gets underway with a marathon event and only strong stayers need apply. Several of these have something to prove in that respect, but one horse who seems sure to relish such a test is THE CASHEL MAN. David Simcock’s charge was transformed when stepped up to 1m6f last season, winning twice, and he looked even better when winning over 2m at Newmarket in August. He kicked off this term with a second at York before finishing a staying-on eighth in the Northumberland Plate on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle. They tended to finish in a heap in that race and this more extreme test could bring out the best in him, with Jamie Spencer keeping the faith when he could have ridden Chester Cup winner No Heretic. He’s bet365’s 13/2 favourite but that is still a fair price, especially as most of his rivals are either out of form or have their stamina to prove.
14:35 BeringIce Gordon Stakes (Group 3), 1m4f
A wide open Group 3 and I wouldn’t care to rule out even rank outsider Goldmember, who ran a respectable sixth in the Bahrain Trophy last time and is the type to keep on improving with racing. The 25/1 on offer at bet365 demands a small each-way wager, but the bigger bet is going on HARRISON at 9/1 with the same firm.
Mick Channon’s runner hasn’t quite lived up to expectations since finishing third in a hot handicap at Sandown on his reappearance, finishing well beaten in the Dante Stakes on his next start and not taking up any of his Classic entries (he was in both the English and Irish Derbys). However, he’s run respectable races on his last two starts, finishing third of 16 at Royal Ascot and third again in the aforementioned Newmarket race, and the suspicion is we’ve yet to see the best of him. Back in May, his trainer described him as a “big baby” and “as good a horse as I’ve had since Youmzain”. That’s some compliment and I’m hopeful that fast ground and the return to the scene of his maiden win last October can allow him to start showing his full potential.
15:10 Qatar Sussex Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1), 1m
History suggests it takes an older miler with X factor to win this Group 1 with Frankel (2012) and Solow (2015) being the only non-three-year-old winners since 2008. None of the six older horses in the line up come even close to those great winners in terms of class, and it therefore makes sense to concentrate on the four three-year-old runners.
That doesn’t help that much as they fill the first four places in the betting and a couple, THE GURKHA and Galileo Gold, are disputing favouritism at around 7/4. The latter horse’s wins in the 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes gives him the form edge, but The Gurkha was just over a length behind him in the Ascot race and has since run another cracking second in the Eclipse. Aidan O’Brien’s charge appears to be still improving and I fancy he can even up the score with his main rival to 1-1, and improve his trainer’s excellent record at this meeting with three-year-olds in the process. Of O’Brien’s 13 winners here this century, nine were from that age group and those sent off at 3/1 or shorter achieved finishing positions of 131312111.
15:45 Victoria Racing Club Molecomb Stakes (Group 3), 5f
This is always run at a fast and furious pace and it could be fought out by the two form horses, THE LAST LION and Global Applause. They clashed in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, in which The Last Lion finished a half second and Global Applause a disappointing fifth given he went off as 3/1 favourite. He could do a lot better on today’s fast surface, but Mark Johnston’s runner is versatile over the ground and continued his improvement when landing a Sandown Listed contest in great style on his next start. He’s taken to confirm the form and reward his backers at bet365’s 10/3.
Goodwood 2.00, The Cashel Man @ 13/2 bet365
Goodwood 2.35, Harrison @ 9/1 bet365 / Goldmember each-way @ 25/1 bet365
Goodwood 3.10, The Gurkha @ 2/1 Paddy Power
Goodwood 3.45, The Last Lion @ 10/3 bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.