Our racing expert has three fancies for this afternoon's Goodwood action.
The fillies’ handicap over 6f looks competitive with seven of the eight runners having won at least once this season, but the one I’m drawn to is the only maiden in the field, Joseph Tuite’s SHAFFIRE.
With just three starts under her belt, she’s relatively unexposed and is the just the type to pick up a nursery or two from an opening perch of 71. A promising debut effort in a race at the Newmarket July meeting, the form of which has worked out remarkably well, was followed by a good second behind the now 89-rated Thriving at Chepstow. She could only finish fifth on her latest outing here but that wasn’t a bad race by any means and it qualified her for a mark.
With Nicola Currie claiming 3lb off her back and the stable juveniles going well – Tuite has mopped up three nurseries in the last ten days – she has got to be worth a small interest at an each-way price.
It’s surely a matter of time before SOLDIER IN ACTION is back in the winners’ enclosure, so well is Mark Johnston’s charge handicapped these days, and this afternoon’s 2m handicap looks as good an opportunity as any.
The five-year-old clearly likes this track as he has won twice in four visits and while he was beaten a long way at the Glorious meeting in August, he’s even better handicapped now on a mark of 94. He has won off 106 (has been as high as 110) and the way he has performed on his two most recent outings, including a close up fourth in the Shergar Cup Stayers’, suggest he’s ready to strike. Silvestre De Sousa, who won on him here in August 2017, retains the ride.
Autumn War showed a good attitude to hold off the favourite in a Nottingham maiden last time and there should be more to come from him after just two starts. But he has a 7lb penalty to overcome in the closing 1m2f novice and he might struggle to give the weight away to Amanda Perrett’s COGITAL.
He’s still a maiden after four starts and hasn’t really gone on since finishing third (of 19) in the Wood Ditton at the Newmarket Craven meeting in April. However, he wasn’t beaten far into fifth on his subsequent start here and has been gelded since finishing fourth at Sandown in July. That operation could well be the making of him and he returns to action with his stable in flying form (5-14, 36% in the last fortnight) and bang-in-form apprentice Jason Watson, who has a 50 per cent (3-6) strike rate on the stable runners, booked to do the pushing.
All odds were correct at time of posting.