14:25 – Vintage Stakes
The Vintage Stakes is tricky in that Seahenge and Expert Eye haven’t shown the form needed to win a race like this, but both were impressive maiden winners on debut, and hail from powerful yards whose newcomers tend to improve a fair bit more than most for a run. They could dominate, but Mildenberger did well to win what looked a competitive novice at Newbury conceding 6lb to his rivals, and he is a powerful front runner with the ability to kick again, so won’t be easy to reel in.
15:00 – Qatar Lennox Stakes
Easy ground is a concern for Limato, while the well-backed Librisa Breeze is best with plenty of cover (and possibly at Ascot), so isn’t well berthed in stall 14, making the market leaders look opposable.
Home of The Brave is drawn to attack from the inside stall, and should go well, but the vote goes to Aclaim who would have gone close but for meeting trouble in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, and is now back to his optimum conditions, namely seven furlongs with a bit of ease in the ground.
The draw is not as critical as is sometimes made out at Goodwood, but a ow draw next to the front-running Home of the Brave looks a perfect slot for Aclaim, and he should have no excuses.
15:35 – Qatar Goodwood Cup
If the ground dries out, then Big Orange will be very hard to beat in his bid to land this race for the third successive year, but any odds-against quotes evaporated at the weekend, and there’s limited upside to backing him at around 1.88, especially with concern about the state of the going – he’s won on soft, but is clearly better when the ground is fast.
I’m loath to pass him over, and the defections of Dal Harraild and Simple Verse have robbed the race of a pair who had the ability to cause an upset, but plenty can go wrong over two miles here, and his rivals won’t allow Frankie Dettori to dictate as he would like, while the horse’s popularity among the public is sure to see him overbet.
There isn’t a standout contender to lower his colours, so a straight lay of the favourite looks the way forward.
15:35 – Qatar Sussex Stakes
We’re always promised a “Duel on the Downs” in the run-up to the Sussex Stakes, but it doesn’t always materialise as billed. This year the clash is between brilliant dual Guineas winner Churchill and Lockinge and Queen Anne hero Ribchester, representing the older generation.
If Aidan O’Brien can get Churchill back to his best after a rare flop at Royal Ascot, then he would have a big chance of beating Ribchester in receipt of the weight-for-age allowance, but that’s a big enough “if”, and plenty of Guineas winners throughout the years have sacrificed the second half of their seasons at the altar of Classic glory.
Churchill, it’s true, appears more robust than the likes of Gleneagles, who swerved this race unexpectedly a couple of years ago, and ended his career on a downbeat note, but the fact remains that it takes a training performance of genius-like proportions to keep a three-year-old miler at the top of his game from April through August, and I have my doubts as to whether Churchill will be able to regain former glories for that reason.
Rory’s Recommended Bets
- 14:25 – Back Mildenberger – £50 @ 6.2 or bigger
- 15:00 – Back Aclaim – £50 @ 14 or bigger
- 15:35 – Lay Big Orange – £100 @ 1.9 or shorter
- 15:35 – Back Ribchester – £100 @ 2.0 or bigger