Thursday marks Day 3 of Glorious Goodwood where we have eight races – starting at 1.50 and concluding shortly after 5.55 – to enjoy.
Below are my selections for the card, including one at a huge price in the 4.45.
1.50 – Perfuse @ 11/4
First and foremost, it’s going to be testing at Goodwood on Thursday. As I write this over 24 hours before, the going is officially Soft, Good to Soft in places and there’s further rain forecast. So, if you’re heading to the Chichester venue make sure you take a brolly – and if you’re having a bet, look for those with form in the book on such ground.
A winner on heavy at Nottingham in May, Sir Michael Stoute’s Perfuse will have no issues with conditions when he contests the Kincsem Handicap over 1m2f that opens the card.
The three-year-old son of Lope De Vega went off favourite for the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot, but didn’t quite get home over 1m4f in that company. This step back to 1m2f on ground that won’t suit a significant number of his 17 rivals is a big positive – as of course is the booking of Ryan Moore.
This progressive colt can return to winning ways off an unchanged mark of 94.
2.25 – Unquestionable @ 2/1
My NAP for Day 3 of Glorious Goodwood is Aidan O’Brien’s Unquestionable in the Richmond Stakes.
12 go to post for this Group 2 juvenile contest over 6f, but frankly I only see four potential winners – namely Sketch, Vandeek, Jasour and the selection.
The former two have great potential, but ultimately they’ve only ran once and might find this a bit too much, too soon. Jasour is a danger, but he has a 3lb penalty for winning what looked a weak G2 at Newmarket exactly three weeks ago.
Even without the penalty, his form just doesn’t match up to that of Unquestionable. His effort when runner-up to Coventry Stakes third Bucanero Fuerte in the G2 Railway Stakes at The Curragh last month is a standout one in this field and, as he didn’t win, he escapes a penalty here.
Conditions should also be no bother for this son of Wootton Bassett who coped just fine on similar ground over in Ireland on his racecourse debut in May.
I can’t see him beat, to be honest, and I think you’re getting a smashing price at present. I’m expecting a much shorter SP.
*Unquestionable was declared a non-runner at 11.30am on Wednesday. In his absence, I would take a chance on the exciting Vandeek.
4.45 – Alpha Crucis e/w @ 22/1
How about one at a big price? Gary Moore’s Alpha Crucis is my each-way (5 places) selection for this 20-runner, 0-90 handicap over 1m.
These big-field handicaps at the major festivals are tricky, but I absolutely love this beautifully-bred three-year-old’s profile and believe he’s being seriously overlooked in the current market.
The son of Australia – out of a Danehill mare who produced multiple G3 winner Majestic Queen – is a progressive type who, after a slow-burn juvenile season, began the current campaign off a mark of 72.
He made lightwork of that when winning first time out in a handicap at Windsor in April, and followed up with a very decent effort in defeat at Epsom just over a week later off 6lb higher.
Put up a further 3lb for that, he was then sent to the all-weather over 7f and ran okay in a stronger race. However, that wouldn’t have suited the selection based on his two previous performances on turf, over 1m and on soft ground.
A return to those same conditions should suit massively, and I’m hoping the gelding can continue his progress for a team operating at an impressive 25% strike rate in the last 14 days.
Having tipped Executive Decision at 8/1 (9/1 SP) on Tuesday and The Goat at 11/1 (25/1 SP) on Wednesday, can we land the handicap hat-trick? No pressure.