Brass Ring value to spring a surprise in Goodwood Cup

Bill Esdaile
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THE ARTEMIS Goodwood Cup (3.10pm), part of the QIPCO British Champion Series, has been a good race for punters in the last 10 years, with seven favourites obliging.

The Queen’s horse Estimate is set to start as market leader this afternoon, but the 2013 Ascot Gold Cup winner is there to be taken on.

It was an extraordinary training effort from Sir Michael Stoute to deliver the mare in great shape at the royal meeting last month, considering her well-documented setbacks, in an attempt to retain her stayers’ crown. And there was no shame finishing a close second to Leading Light.

However, Estimate had a hard race there and the 2/1 is skinny enough.

Brown Panther has been a great servant for connections and took this in fine style last year. But the horse has already had four runs this campaign, all in Graded company, and is another who had a tough race last time in very soft ground over in France.

The one I like at a big price is BRASS RING. The gelding has a lot to find on ratings, but he’s unexposed as a stayer and ran an amazing race in Ascot’s Queen Alexandra Stakes last time. Taking a huge hike up in distance, the son of Rail Link was very keen but still managed to hold on for third.

That was a cracking effort and back down over five furlongs in trip, John Gosden’s charge can outrun his 16/1 odds with Unibet.

Mark Johnston is enjoying yet another good week at this festival and he has two live chances in the opener (2.05pm). Unibet will boost the show price of every horse in this contest, as well as continuing to price boost every mount of Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes throughout the week.

LYN VALLEY is a big price at 20/1 but won a handicap at the course off 1lb lower in September having finished second in his maiden at this meeting.

He clearly likes the track and will find this easier than some really hot races he’s been contesting of late.

RAINBOW ROCK also catches the eye getting in off bottom-weight and the son of Rock Of Gibraltar looks primed for a big run.

He easily opened his account when stepped up to 10 furlongs last time and is well ahead of the handicapper under a penalty, almost entirely negated by talented claimer Cam Hardie.

The Lillie Langtry Stakes (3.45pm) is full of horses that are looking exposed and this is ripe for the taking by a progressive filly.

STELLA BELLISSIMA won a Newbury maiden in comfortable fashion on debut and, although she is rated just 84 after that, Gosden would not be pitching her in here unless he was expecting a good run.

Sea The Stars is proving almost as good in the breeding shed as he was on the racecourse, and his daughter could be another big winner for him. Take the 6/1 each-way with Unibet.

Talent has generally disappointed since winning the 2013 Investec Oaks and the admirable Missunited may be flattered by her third-place finish in the Ascot Gold Cup – she certainly shouldn’t be as short as 6/4 regardless.

Despite all the Group races today, my strongest fancy is the interestingly-named SHAGAH in the 4.20pm maiden. An expensive purchase for her powerful connections, she stepped up markedly on her debut performance at Newmarket last time in what I think was a strong race.

The others lining up that have run haven’t looked like world-beaters and it will take a smart newcomer to see her off.

Johnston could be set for another winner in the 4.50pm as his seven-furlong specialist ALMARGO may be given an easy time of things up front. The three-year-old has won every handicap he’s contested over this intermediate trip. Secret Hint would be the danger.

RAINBOW ROCK e/w 2.05pm Goodwood
LYN VALLEY e/w 2.05pm Goodwood
BRASS RING e/w 3.10pm Goodwood
STELLA BELLISSIMA e/w 3.45pm Goodwood
SHAGAH 4.20pm Goodwood
ALMARGO 4.50pm Goodwood