As it’s the Shergar Cup this Saturday, there isn’t a big race preview in this weeks article, and in all truth, this weekend’s racing isn’t to my taste and I find this is the best time of the summer horse racing calendar to take a holiday.
Goodwood Festival Reflections
Two more Summer festivals have come and gone. Galway was well, Galway and the weather doesn’t really matter to racegoers over the Irish Sea. On the other hand ‘Glorious Goodwood’ was hardly ‘Glorious’ on the weather front and for me anyway, the racing wasn’t that glorious either but this was mainly down to the unseasonable weather.
The meeting began on good ground and decent summer weather but the rain arrived before racing on Wednesday and didn’t stop with a month’s rain falling in just a few hours. All that changed the going to soft for the rest of the week and made punting a bit of a nightmare although we still managed to come away from last week with a healthy profit, mainly due to trainer Mark Johnston (see below).
The profit would have been even better if past eye-catcher One Word More, a 25/1 shot in the Betfred Mile hadn’t have met trouble in a crucial part of the race and had to settle for 5th at the finish. With a clear run, I think he would have won. Well at least if you got on with bookies paying five places on the race you made a profit.
Last week’s micro angles for both Goodwood and Galway had mixed results.
Let’s start with the underperformer first:
• The Galway Festival Quick Returners micro angle ended the week with – 0 winners from 7 qualifiers but 3 placed for 43% SR
That poor performance was however out-weighed by the profit made from the other micro angle:
• The Mark Johnston micro angle ended the week with 2 winners from 5 qualifiers for a level stakes profit of 17pts to industry SP.
Overall then a 10pts profit from the week from the two angles will do for me.
Goodwood Performance of the Week
Expert Eye – The juvenile was fortunate that he raced on the good ground on Tuesday when winning the 7f Group 2 Vintage Stakes in very impressive style. It’s good to see his trainer Sir Michael Stoute having a genuine 2000 Guineas contender on his hands once again. The colt had created a good impression when winning on racecourse debut at Newbury and he built on that run here. The Dewhurst looks the logical end of season target for the juvenile although he will probably take in another race beforehand. Not surprisingly he was cut into favouritism for next years 2000 Guineas on the back of this win.
This Weeks Eyecatcher’s
All this week’s eye-catchers come from last weeks Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Tuesday August 1st
UAE Prince – Roger Varian – For the third week in a row I have a Roger Varian trained horse in the eye catchers. A winner on his seasonal reappearance at Ripon, the four-year-old then ran poorly when 9/4 favourite for a listed race at Ascot on his next start. Was then gelded and off the track until running a big race to get within a length of the winner in the John Smith’s Cup at York. He continued his progression when finishing 4th once again in this valuable 1m 2f Class 2 handicap. Held wasn’t the place to be in this race which was run at a modest tempo in the early stages. Didn’t get a run when making his effort a furlong out and then got caught behind the leaders when the eventual first past the post bumped the runner up inside the final furlong. He had to switch out wide but his chance had gone. With a clear passage you would think he would have won but instead, he had to settle for the places. The handicapper shouldn’t put him up much for this effort and he looks capable of landing a valuable handicap before the season is out.
Wednesday August 2nd
Secret Advisor – Charlie Appleby – The first of two Charlie Appleby eye catchers for you this week, the three-year-old went off the 5/1 favourite for this competitive looking 1m 4f Class 32 handicap. The son of Dubwai seemed to be coming with a good looking run two furlongs out but could find anything more inside the final furlong and finished a well-beaten 5th. Stamina shouldn’t have been a problem for him as he had stayed on well to finish 3rd to subsequent Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius in the 1m 6f Queens Vase at Royal Ascot. This was the softest ground the colt had raced on which suggests he didn’t handle the going. He has only had five starts and is open to further improvement on better ground over 1m 4f or back to 1m 6f. The Melrose Handicap later this month at York would seem a good race for him if he gets a sound surface.
Thursday August 3rd
Hold Sway – Charlie Appleby – The three-year old was well backed before the off in this 1m 2f handicap. He had been gelded after finishing 3rd at Sandown back in June. A winner on good to soft at Newmarket in the spring but he found this ground just too soft here. Given the market support he got here and at Sandown, there is a feeling that he is on a winnable mark off 87. The way he finished his race suggests that he could stay a bit further than 1m 2f.
Friday August 4th
Boomshackerlacker – George Baker – Might be a seven-year-old but showed here that he is still capable of winning as a handicap. Whilst One Word More was once again a major eye catcher so was this son of Dark Angel. He wasn’t well drawn in stall 15 and then had to endure no luck running on a couple of occasions in the closing stages. He did well to finish as close as he did in the circumstance, beaten just 3 ¾ lengths in 8th. He is only 1lb higher than his last winning mark and may come down a 1lb or two after this. He is 0 wins from 13 runs 1 place when racing over 1m + in the UK and two of his five career wins have come on a straight course. Last years Newbury win came over 7f and a strongly run race at that distance seems ideal for the gelding. Needs all the cards to fall right as his win record shows but when they do he can win again off this sort of mark.
Saturday August 5th
Son Of Africa – Henry Candy – Considering the ground would have been plenty soft enough for the five-year-old he did well to finish as close as he did in finishing 3rd, to a fast improving three-year old in Scorching Heat, despite not getting the best of runs inside the final furlong. He kept on strongly to the line and although he probably wouldn’t have beaten the winner would probably have got second with a better passage. A fast run 5f on a quick surface had looked to be his optimum conditions but he saw out the extra furlong well on this sharp track and certainly handled the rain softened ground better than I had expected. He now races off the same mark as for his last win at Sandown last August.
Projection – Roger Charlton – Couldn’t resist putting this one up, although he could turn out to be a big race ‘cliff horse’. The four-year-old was unlucky to be drawn on the wrong side in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot on his previous start when finishing 3rd beaten just ¾ length. Racing off 2lb higher here, once again he wasn’t helped by his draw in 27 and also the ground would have been plenty soft enough for him in this year’s Stewards Cup. He could never get competitive and eventually finished 14th of 26. It’s probably best to draw a line under this run. A tilt at the Ayr Gold Cup would probably suit him and if he gets a sound surface he wouldn’t be far away in that race.
I am away for a week so there won’t be an article next week and if you’re an Eyecatcher Pro subscriber I won’t be adding any notes onto the software until Wednesday of next week, although any qualifiers from the previous micro angles that I have given will be added to the software when there are runners.
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s punting and see you in two weeks, just in time for York’s Ebor Festival.