THIS afternoon’s card is typically tough, but GATEWOOD looks to hold a great chance of winning his first Group race in the opening Coutts Glorious Stakes (2.00pm).
The George Strawbridge-owned four-year-old has been a revelation this season, winning all three starts, and the step up to a mile and a half is exactly what he needs. John Gosden is reportedly using this race as a stepping stone to a potentially audacious crack at the Melbourne Cup and a win would virtually guarantee him a spot in that prestigious race.
What I like about Gatewood is that he has looked in trouble on a couple of occasions this season, but has shown great courage and determination to knuckle down and get the job done. He came from an impossible position to land a handicap on Oaks day at Epsom and was then a gutsy winner of the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot last time. He has plenty to find on ratings with a few of his rivals, but he is surely the most progressive animal in the line-up and won’t mind if the ground softens. The 9/4 available with Coral looks a fair price.
TRUMPET MAJOR was a massive disappointment in the Irish Guineas back in May following his fourth behind Camelot in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas. He was found to be sick after the Curragh, though, and has been given plenty of time to get over those exertions. He carries top weight in the Group Three RSA Thoroughbred Stakes (2.35pm) but, from a good draw in stall three, I fancy him to see off the likes of Gregorian, Aljamaaheer and Archbishop.
The Betfred Mile (3.10pm) is one of the biggest betting races of the entire week, so it was a huge shame to see the potentially top class Trade Commissioner pulled out. The race is now wide open and looks to be one of the weaker renewals in recent years.
If there is one race where the draw is important, it is this one. Only two horses from double-figure stalls have finished in the first two in the past decade and nine of the last 10 winners came from trap seven or lower. That immediately rules out half the runners from a win perspective and I’m going to be backing ALBAQAA (stall five) at 14/1 and SWIFTLY DONE (stall one) at 16/1 each-way against the field.
Albaqaa won an apprentice handicap at this meeting last year and bounced back to form at Sandown last time to finish fifth to Trade Commissioner having endured a rough passage. He goes well at the course, has sneaked in at the bottom of the weights and has a decent draw.
Swiftly Done has won his last two on ground with plenty of cut in it, but he has also won on good before and his draw in stall one could be crucial with four of the past nine winners coming from that berth.
The Gordon’s King George Stakes (3.45pm) is another tricky puzzle to solve, but the in-form HAMISH MCGONAGALL is fancied to go close from stall 14. A saver is advised on course and distance winner SECRET ASSET who won well at this meeting 12 months ago.
You can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my views.
GATEWOOD 2.00pm Goodwood (today)
TRUMPET MAJOR e/w 2.35pm Goodwood (today)
ALBAQAA e/w 3.10pm Goodwood (today)
SWIFTLY DONE e/w 3.10pm Goodwood (today)
HAMISH MCGONAGALL e/w 3.45pm Goodwood (today)
SECRET ASSET e/w 3.45pm Goodwood (today)