The highlight of Day Two is always the Sussex Stakes, and we have seen some top drawer winners in recent years – Canford Cliffs, Frankel (twice), Toronado and Kingman shows you the quality on offer. That list also demonstrates how a top quality 3yo will almost always beat a top quality older horse, ceteris paribus, due to the weight-for-age allowance. Only Frankel has broken that trend, and I would have fancied Gleneagles to beat Solow if the Duel on the Downs (Part 733) had come to fruition. Alas, it was not to be, but we should still have a great day’s racing ahead.
Here’s a quick recap of how our selections did on Day One (prices for placed horses are SPs). As predicted, it was a tough day, with two 20/1 winners and a 14/1 winner:
2:00 Mount Logan – 1st @ 8/1; Zand – still running
2:35 Galileo Gold – 1st @ 9/2; Ibn Malik – 2nd @ 5/1
3:10 Dutch Connection – 2nd @ 9/4; Tupi – 7th
3:45 Battersea – 8th; Notarised – 6th
4:20 Double Up – 2nd @ 5/2; Top Boy – 3rd @ 6/1
4:55 Goodwood Zodiac – 12th; Sir Roger Moore – 8th
5:30 Strong Steps – 3rd @ 9/2; Hannington – 13th
2:00 Class 2 Handicap, 2m5f, 3yo+. A marathon to get us going on the second day, and a 20-runner marathon at that. The favourite is William Of Orange, trained by Sir Mark Prescott Bt, and anybody who saw him finish his last race at York over an extended 2m when given a lot to do would surely be anticipating him stepping up in trip. He has also managed to improve his RPR with every race in his career (albeit from a rather low starting point of 39), finally hitting the three-figure mark at York. If he handles the new trip he will surely take some beating. A horse in fantastic form at the moment is Wordiness, readily completing his hat-trick last time out, and all three of those wins have come in at 2m or longer. This horse showed his toughness when turning out just 4 days after a win at Chester in June, so the 2m race on good-to-firm ground at Newbury just 10 days ago shouldn’t be a concern. The main dangers look to be Teak and Sands Of Fortune.
Selection: WILLIAM OF ORANGE
2:35 Group 3, 1m4f, 3yo. This race, on class alone, looks to be Highland Reel’s for the taking. Whilst his 3yo season has not quite lived up to promise of his juvenile campaign, and his Irish Derby run left plenty to be desired, his second in the Prix du Jockey Club represents by far the best form in the race. We know this horse can handle the undulations of Goodwood, and if you’re prepared to ignore his most recent run, then he must rate a decent bet if only because he appears to be the only horse from the Ballydoyle battalions they actually trust to run here this week given the amount of withdrawals. Whether that is indicative of something amiss with Aidan O’Brien’s horses is open to speculation. Medrano looks to have good credentials, and given his St Leger must be rated at home, but at a slightly bigger price it might be worth having a look at Scottish for Andrew Balding and Jim Crowley.
Selection: HIGHLAND REEL
3:10 Group 1, 1m, 3yo+. As noted in the introduction, we have been denied a mouthwatering clash between Solow and Gleneagles, but that should allow everyone to step back and simply admire the top class horse Solow has become. Up until the May of his 4yo season, Solow was campaigned over distances his pedigree suggested he would thrive on, but after a heavy defeat over 15.5 furlongs at Longchamp, he was dropped back to first 9 furlongs and then a mile. Quite frankly, he has never looked back, and whilst he proved at Meydan and Longchamp he can still win over 9f+, his performance at Royal Ascot showed what a top class miler he is. He has 7 consecutive wins, and it is very hard to see any of his rivals preventing him making that 8. Of the remainder, Arod comes here in great form with a Group 3 and a Group 2 victory in his last two outings and just might cause an upset, whilst Toormore’s brave victory must give hope to the connections of Night Of Thunder.
3:45 Group 3, 5f, 2yo. King Of Rooks was one of a pair of Richard Hannon trained horses who could consider themselves a shade unlucky in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, as he and Log Out Island took each other on from a long way out, and seemed to miss Waterloo Bridge appearing from behind them to take a half-length victory. Frankie Dettori will surely ride King Of Rooks more steadily this time, whilst the withdrawal of yet another Ballydoyle runner in Washington DC on Tuesday evening surely makes his task easier. It would be a big surprise if he was to get turned over. Of the rest, Muhadathat can put her experience to good use, but she will need to if she’s going to overturn the form with Kachy, who won well at Chester on her only start to date.
Selection: KING OF ROOKS
4:20 Class 2 Fillies’ Maiden, 6f, 2yo. With very little in the way of form to go on (the 13 fillies have just 15 runs between them) combined with the general unpredictability of 2yos and this looks one of the trickiest races on today’s card. Winter Rose is the obvious place to start for Hannon and Hughes, with her third at Newmarket looking promising. The Hannon yard’s 2yos have tended to improve for a run more so than in previous seasons (when they were often primed first time out), which certainly places Winter Rose above Forgotten Wish in the pecking order. Given that I appear to have selected four consecutive likely favourites so far, we’re going to swerve Winter Rose for selection purposes here, but I wouldn’t dissuade readers from having a punt. Instead we’ll take a couple of chances on two other fillies. First up is Silent Dreamer for Mark Johnston, a Dream Ahead filly who looks to have plenty of speed in her pedigree. Marcus Tregoning saddles two here and it’s the one with racecourse experience we’ll go with, and it’s the progeny of Sir Percy going by the name of Alamode, who came fourth on her debut.
Selection: SILENT DREAMER
4:55 Class 3 Fillies’ Handicap, 1m1f, 3yo+. This one looks to be an open race, and Imshivalla looks to have the best chance for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan. Although she hasn’t won since October, she has been running well this month and is now back on her last winning mark, and looks to be well weighted. Sonnetation is an extremely consistent filly, with form figures this year of 22241132, and whilst she may not be as open to progress as some other more lightly raced fillies, she should give punters a decent run for their money. Right at the bottom of the weights is an interesting sort for Andrew Balding and Edward Greatrex. She finally got off the mark a fortnight ago when a well backed 1/2 shot, and although there are obvious questions about her ability to handle this step up in class, she could use both her weight-for-age allowance and the 5lb claim for young Edward to good effect. Forest Maiden is the favourite for Godolphin and the in-form William Buick, and whilst she certainly has a better shot at victory than her Forest footballing namesakes, at the prices I’m willing to overlook her.
Alternative: HALA MADRID
5:25 Class 3 Handicap, 7f, 3yo+. In another very open handicap it’s probably easier to try and narrow down the field by looking at trainers first and horses second. Simon Crisford has made an excellent transition from Godolphin guru to trainer and his Mutawathea is certainly of interest. A few of his winning horses this year have been the subject of sustained gambles on the day, so the market will be of great interest here as well. After overlooking Blue Wave for Mark Johnston yesterday, I certainly won’t be making the same mistake with Assault On Rome, another horse who has run a quite extraordinary number of times this year. She has won over this distance on both good ground and good-to-soft, and Johnston’s horses have a tendency to suddenly snap out of losing runs, so let’s hope this is another example. Mime Dance for the aforementioned Balding and Greatrex combination is another with a good chance.
Alternative: ASSAULT ON ROME