The final day of glorious Goodwood will be run on good to firm ground with a number of the runners going under the Racing Post standard time on Thursday.
The three Group 1′s earlier in the week were won by the market leaders but the feature races on the final day are handicaps with the highlight the Stewards’ Cup one of the big betting races of the year although I have no strong opinion on the race.
Only twelve go to post for the consolation Stewards’ Cup despite the fact that thirty-six were balloted out of the big race and they are likely to have been put off by the presence of Lethal Levi who carries a 5lbs penalty but is actually 9lbs well-in.
The selection likes to go from the front and has won his last couple at Newmarket including from a 1lb HIGHER mark last time. He goes well for today’s 3lbs claimer and is the one to beat but at 7/4 I will look for an each way alternative.
The nod goes to NELSON GAY who is just 2lbs above his last winning mark and looked ready for a step back up in trip when fourth at Sandown over the minimum trip last time under Ryan Moore who keeps the ride this afternoon. This easy six furlongs should suit ad he gets the each way vote although Lethal Levi remains the one to beat and, arguably, should be odds on.
Recommendation: Nelson Gay EW at 17/2 4 places at William Hill or 9/1 at Coral 3 places
Mark Johnston has trained the winner of the valuable 1m 6f handicap three times in the last five years, and he saddles three of the fourteen who go to post this afternoon including market leader Soapy Stevens who has won his last two and is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Newmarket in another valuable handicap earlier in the month.
Andrew Balding landed the G2 Lennox Stakes on Day One and I hope he can bookend the card with VALLEY FORGE who led two out when fading inside the final quarter of a mile in the 2m Northumberland Plate last time when he travelled like the best handicapped horse in the race.
One could argue that was disappointing given he had won over the trip at Haydock on his penultimate start – has little in hand with Golden Flame on the revised terms – but there is more to come from last year’s Melrose winner who is likely to need a penalty to stand any chance of getting into the Ebor back at York next month.
Recommendation: Valley Forge EW at 5/1 with Betfred 5 places
Sea La Rosa heads the market for the Lillie Langtry Stakes and she bumped into a top-class filly when runner up to Free Wind in the Lancashire Oaks on soft ground last time. There is no reason she won’t be at least as effective over this additional quarter of a mile, but she must give 12lbs to the 3-year-old EMILY DICKINSON and that may prove beyond her.
Only two 3-y-olds have won this Group 2 prize in the last decade, and this is one of the few major Pattern races in Britain that has, hitherto, eluded Aidan O’Brien – the last Irish trained winner was Missunited for the legendary Mick Winters back in 2014.
The selection disappointed on her previous visit to Britain when fourth – having been backed off the boards – in the Lingfield Oaks trial back in the spring but has improved since and looked ready for a step back up in distance when a staying on fourth in the Irish Oaks last time.
Yesyes is making a belated seasonal reappearance for Ralph Beckett but has a bit to find with Sea La Rosa on a line through Free Wind.
Recommendation: Emily Dickinson at 5/2 with William Hill
There is rain forecast for Ballybrit and I hope to see HIAWATHA go one better than when runner up on debut to Adler at Killarney. The colt – who is a brother to last year’s leading juvenile Luxembourg – cost £1.2m as a yearling and is entered in the Derby and the G1 National Stakes at the Curragh in September.
His brother won the G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster last autumn but hasn’t been seen since finishing an excellent third in the Guineas ay Newmarket back in the spring. He is one of the most interesting horses running today and Seamie Heffernan keeps the ride with Ryan Moore on duty at Goodwood.
Well bred newcomer Agathon also has Group 1 entries, but he lacks the racecourse experience of the selection who gets a confident vote.
Recommendation: Hiawatha at 4/6 with William Hill
Roger Varian sends the filly Divine Jewel on the long trip north for the 1m 5f handicap and she has improved for the step up to a mile-and-a half in recent starts winning at Lingfield before finding just Zain Knights too strong at Newbury from a 2lbs lower mark. The winner ran well for a long way at Goodwood earlier in the week.
The vote, however, goes to WICKYWICKYWHEELS who has won three of her last five starts – all at todays track – and could still be ahead of her mark despite being 9lbs higher than when scoring over two furlongs shorter earlier in the month. She has won over today’s C&D, so the additional quarter of a mile is of no concern and Tadhg O’Shea returns to the saddle.
Recommendation: Wickywickywheels at 11/4 with William Hill