AFTER just under 50mm of rain hit the course on Wednesday, this year’s Glorious Goodwood meeting has turned into somewhat of a mudbath (and a bloodbath for punters).
Yesterday’s card was decimated by non-runners and there are bound to be plenty more scratchings this afternoon.
The feature race on the penultimate day of the meeting is the Qatar King George Stakes (3.35pm) over five furlongs in what will be testing conditions.
Charlie Hills’ Battaash had been ante-post favourite for this Group Two prize on the back of two really good wins over this trip at Sandown this season.
Both of those came on ground officially described as good to firm and he seemed to love hearing his hooves rattle.
If he is allowed to take his chance this afternoon, which has to be a doubt, the underfoot conditions have to be a serious concern.
The two most underwhelming performances of his career to date have come on rain-softened ground and for that reason I have to leave him out of the mix.
Looking at the other 11 runners and PROFITABLE will more than likely start favourite even if Battaash does line up.
Clive Cox’s five-year-old won last season’s Group One King’s Stand at Royal Ascot on soft ground and ran a cracker in this year’s renewal to finish second to American speedball Lady Aurelia.
That ground would have been plenty lively enough for him and he ran a decent second on his only other start this season when second on very soft ground in France.
I suppose the only real reason I am not making him my headline tip is on grounds of price.
At the time of writing, he is a best-priced 11/4 with Coral, but with doubts about the participation of others and the fact that conditions are in his favour, that is likely to collapse.
With the ground as horrendous as it is, there is simply no point in taking too short a price about any runner this week and for that reason I will look elsewhere for some value.
His stablemate Priceless did win on good to soft last term, but is another who seems to be at her best on a sound surface.
The one that catches (forgive the pun) my eye is KACHY at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tom Dascombe’s four-year-old won the Molecomb Stakes here over this trip as a juvenile and endured a nightmare passage in this race 12 months ago.
He showed plenty of dash when reeled in late in last year’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and was nailed on the line last time at Haydock by Magical Memory.
Both of those runs were over six furlongs and the drop back to five
furlongs is definitely worth another try.
The big question mark surrounds his ability to handle the ground, but if he does, his stamina will also be a crucial asset.
It would be no surprise to see Paul Midgley’s Final Venture go well as he’s been in good form and has shown he handles soft conditions.
He was a good second to Take Cover last time although he may just lack the class to win a race like this.
Flying machine Take Cover has won this race twice in the last three years and finished runner-up in between.
He is sure to lead them all a merry dance again but the ground looks to have gone against him.
My final pick goes to the John Gosden-trained and Frankie Dettori-ridden ARDAD at a monster price.
It’s a bit of a leap of faith for a three-year-old who hasn’t been in great form of late, but he certainly cannot be ruled out on the best of his two-year-old form.
He was a surprise winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last season on soft ground.
That was only the second start of his life and he followed that by winning at Doncaster and then finished mid-division in the Abbaye on Arc day.
His reappearance this season at York was definitely disappointing, but he showed more signs of life behind Battaash last time.
The jury is still out on whether he has trained-on between two and three, but at 33/1 and on ground that suits, I’m prepared to take a small chance.
BILL ESDAILE’S QATAR KING GEORGE STAKES 1-2-3