Spotlight On “Glorious Goodwood”

Spotlight On “Glorious Goodwood”

Steve Mullington
2017-07-31
Goodwood Racecourse this week will host five days of thrilling equine action set against the backdrop of the beautiful Sussex countryside.

Goodwood Racecourse this week will host five days of thrilling equine action set against the backdrop of the beautiful Sussex countryside. The Qatar Goodwood Festival – still popularly referred to as “Glorious Goodwood” – is one of the highlights of the flat-racing season.

The Qatar Goodwood Festival is a spectacle that has to be experienced. Fashion combined with some of the greatest races in the world go towards creating a wonderful festival atmosphere.

Here is a guide to each day of the Glorious Goodwood Festival 2017:

Tuesday

The Tuesday highlight is Goodwood’s newest Group One, the Qatar Goodwood Cup worth £500,000.

Frankie Dettori missed out on winning the Ascot Gold Cup riding Big Orange because of injury but he is back on board as the Michael Bell-trained gelding attempts to become only the second horse to win the Goodwood Cup three times.

Bell's admirable six-year-old goes to the Sussex track on the back of a memorable victory over Order Of St George in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. He is the red hot 4/5 favourite with us at 888sport following that brilliant win.

Horses taking on the “Orange” are Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave, winner of last year's Irish St Leger. Aidan O'Brien is represented instead by US Army Ranger whilst William Haggas is having a crack at the Gold Cup winner with Dal Harraild.

Also run on the opening day of the Festival is the Lennox Stakes.

Dean Ivory believes the return to seven furlongs will see the best come out of his Librisa Breeze. A winner of two handicaps over that trip last season, he has run with great credit in Group Ones over six furlongs the last twice. Most recently he finished fourth to The Tin Man on his seasonal return in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Current race favourite Limato was a convincing winner of the Prix de la Foret last autumn. He has not run beyond six furlongs so far this season, over which he has been placed in both the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup. His participation however depends on the state of the ground on Tuesday when connections will make up their mind on whether to run him or not.

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Wednesday

The Qatar Sussex Stakes is one of the highlights of the flat racing season, with prize money of £1 million attracting a world-class field. This mile-long Group One race has previously been won by the peerless Frankel, the popular French grey Solow and in 2016, by The Gurkha.

Richard Fahey’s Ribchester can confirm his place as Europe’s top miler if he adds the Sussex Stakes to wins in the Queen Anne Stakes and Lockinge Stakes this year. His rivals are headed by Aidan O’Brien’s English and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill and Jean-Claude Rouget’s French raider Zelzal.

Thursday

The prestigious Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes is the highlight of the eight-race card on Thursday, worth £600,000. Previous winners include Ouija Board, Midday and Minding.

Aidan O'Brien's Winter has carried all before her with victories in the English and Irish 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes.

She is now stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in search of a fourth successive Group One triumph.

So Mi Dar is set to make her first appearance since October when she came third in the Prix de l'Opera at Chantilly.

Her trainer John Gosden also runs Shutter Speed, who suffered a first defeat when fourth in the French Oaks on her latest start.

Sir Michael Stoute bids to equal Sir Henry Cecil's record of eight Qatar Nassau Stakes triumphs with last year's Breeders' Cup heroine Queen's Trust.

Roger Varian is also excited by the prospects of Nezwaah. The four-year-old is two from two so far this season and took the Group Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh last time out.

Friday

The sight of a packed field of horses hurtling at speeds of over 40mph past the Goodwood grandstands makes the £300,000 Group Two Qatar King George Stakes one of the highlights of the entire week. With three further Group races being held on the same afternoon the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival has to be one of the most enthralling day's racing in the entire calendar.

Dual winner of the race Take Cover is among the 13 entries for the Qatar King George Stakes at the confirmation stage.

David Griffiths' sprinter lifted this five-furlong dash in 2014 and 2016 and was only beaten a head in the 2015 renewal.

The 10-year-old showed he still has an appetite for the game when winning the City Walls Stakes at York on his latest start.

The William Haggas-trained Muthmir won the race two years ago and reopposes again.

Battaash, succesful in two races at Sandown this year, Profitable and Marsha - second and third to Lady Aurelia in the King's Stand - head the other contenders.

One of the handicap highlights of the year, the Betfred Mile, for which the race trends suggest you back a horse drawn higher than nine at your peril, provides plenty of each-way betting value.

Godolphin's Blair House went down by only half a length to Zhui Feng in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and marginally heads the market.

Saturday

The Qatar Stewards Cup takes centre stage for the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. This historic race provides racegoers with the opportunity to witness 28 of the finest equine speedsters dashing down the Goodwood home straight in an attempt to claim the £250,000 prize. Previous winners of this famous sprint include Loch Song and Dancing Star.

The six-furlong Stewards' Cup is one of the hardest sprint handicaps to win but the Roger Charlton-trained Projection is a clear 9-1 favourite after placing third in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mick Appleby expects Danzeno to make his presence felt as he steps back up in trip for the contest,

The six-year-old gelding gained his first win since landing a conditions race at Musselburgh in September 2015 when defying top weight at Ascot last time out.

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The best of luck with all your “Glorious Goodwood” gambles this week.