This years ‘Glorious Goodwood’ as we knew it promises to be the most alluring in history after Qatar Racing signed a 10 year sponsorship deal for the ‘Qatar Goodwood Festival’. It is the biggest sponsorship deal ever made for the benefit of British racing and will see Qatar Racing invest over 2 million pounds in additional prize money. The Sussex Stakes sees the largest amount invested with the prize money increased from £600,000 to a whopping 1 Million making it the 2nd most valuable 1 mile race in Europe. This year’s prize money has helped to ensure world class fields are attracted to the festival. All in all, the festival has a staggering 4.5 million pounds worth of prize money to be won!
The opening day features the Qatar Lennox Stakes. A group 2 race in which Toormore will seek to make amends for his odds on defeat last year. This year he will be wearing the colours of Godolphin. Can he make up for his neck defeat to Es Que Love last year and take the bounty? The Godolphin second string is Safety Check who bagged a hat-trick at Meydan in February and will be no pushover. Tupi also lines up along with Limato in a bid to foil Toormore and take home the £300,000 prize.
Recommended bet – TOORMORE 11/4 with SkyBet
Richard Hannon has won 2 of the last 7 renewals and had the runner up in 2012 and 2014. The last 10 winners have come from the top 3 in the betting. Toormore is the highest rated horse in the field and we know he handles Goodwood. I think he will make amends for last years defeat.
Day two features the Qatar Sussex Stakes. A mile long Group 1 race and the most valuable race of the festival now worth a cool 1 million pounds! This race was nicknamed ‘The Duel On The Downs’ in 2011 as the race featured the undefeated 3 year old Frankel and the leading older miler, Canford Cliffs. This year looks like another ‘Duel’ as two of Europe’s leading milers clash in a mouthwatering renewal of the race. Gleneagles, the English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner goes up against Solow, who won his 7th consecutive race when taking the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. This is not necessarily a two horse race though as they are both up against some other very promising milers including another Aidan O’ Brien horse, Cougar Mountain who was only 1.5 lengths adrift of Solow in The Queen Anne Stakes . Arod is expected to line up for Peter Chapple-Hyam in what promises to be the most exciting Mile race of the season.
Recommended bet – GLENEAGLES 11/8 with Betfred
It is hard to separate the two at the top of the market and I really do beleive this will be a ‘duel of the downs’. They both have exceptional form but Solow has to give 8lbs to Gleneagles and this may tip the scales in the younger horses favour.
Day three is ‘Ladies Day’ and features The Qatar Goodwood Cup. The highlight of the day, a Group 2 race over two miles and now worth £300,000. Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris heads the 14 strong field this year. The four year old won The Ascot Gold Cup in June and bids to become the first horse since Yeats in 2008 to win both stayers contests in the same season. The shock 25/1 winner of the Princess Of Wales Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month Big Orange is expected to line up against him along with Sheikzayedroad who was impressive when winning the Grade One Northern Dancer Turf stakes in Canada in 2014. He has only raced over two miles once before though and could only manage 9th in the Meydan Gold Cup in March. Will he get the trip? Will the winner be one of these three or maybe Kalaan or Simenon who head the Irish trained challengers? Will Mark Johnstone taste victory with one of his entries? He is expected to put forward both Vive Ma Fille and Oriental Fox. Eye Of The Storm and Quest for More are two others with live chances along with the William Knight trained Aussie Reigns. The competition is fierce and it promises to be a cracking renewal.
Recommended bet – EYE OF THE STORM 17/2 with Betfair Exchange.
Eye Of The Storm is a strong candidate for this years Cup. He is now trained by Amanda Perrett and ridden by Pat Dobbs who rode him to glory in the Coral Cup. He looked a very exciting horse there and can continue his progression on the forecast fast ground. Trip To Paris has every chance but he shoulders a Group 1 penalty which will be a tough task in this field after running such a gruelling race just a few weeks ago. I think Eye Of The Storm offers better value.
Day four sees the Betfred Mile contested. A handicap race for 3 year olds upwards. This year’s entries bidding to take home the £150,000 prize include GM Hopkins, Chil The Kite and Bronze Angel. It is another mouthwatering contest for us to look forward to but the race of the day is the Group 2 race, The Qatar King George Stakes. A Group 2 five furlong sprint with a prize of £300,000. Heading this year’s entries are last year’s winner, Take Cover. The 8yr old will bid to defend his crown but there are many challengers who are here to take it from him. They include the King Stand Stakes 3rd, Muthmir. The Prix de L’abbye winner Move In Time and the fantastic fillies Meccas Angel and Anthem Alexander.
Recommended bet – (Each Way) BELGIAN BILL 33/1 with Bet365
Belgian Bill is on the same mark as when only beaten 1 length in this race last year. Trainer George Baker has said this is has been his target and he nearly always runs his race. He seems way too big a price here at around 33/1.
The final day of this wonderful festival features the Group One Fillies race The Nassau Stakes. The Qipco 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo lines up alongside the French Oaks winner Star Of Seville. Investec Oaks winner Qualify is entered and Sir Micheal Stoute, the most successful trainer of this race having had no less than 7 winners has entered dual Group 1 winner Integral along with Crystal Zvezda. With Diamondsandrubies, Curvy and Pleascach also entered, this looks like being one of the most exciting and competitive races of the festival. Who do you think will win the mouthwatering £600,000 prize?
Also on Saturday, last but by no means least is the Qatar Stewards cup. A 6 furlong class two handicap race for 3 year olds upwards brings us a plethora of established top notch sprinters including four previous winners of the race, Intrinsic, Rex Imperator, Hoof it and Hawkeyethenoo. Fantastic 7yr old Tropics lines up as does Lancelot Du Lac but heading the ante post market is the Roger Charlton trained Huntsmans Close. He won the Ayr Silver Cup and was last seen out in June when he beat Charles Molson by a neck in a 6f handicap. Discussiontofollow also lines up and this is thought to be his main target of the season.
Recommended bet – (Each Way) TATLISU 20/1 with Bet365
Tatlisu won’t mind what the weather does. Is very consistent at this level and has C+D form. In a race that is impossible to work out, I think Tatlisu e/w is a good bet.
This year’s Goodwood festival has been touted as the biggest and best ever and after researching what we have to look forward to and seeing the increased prize money, I don’t doubt it for a second!