ARGUABLY the best race on the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is the Lennox Stakes (2.45pm) run over seven furlongs.
There are 13 runners declared for the seven furlong contest with the only certainty being that there is bound to be at least half a dozen hard luck stories.
The nature of the track means that horses tend to roll around on the cambers creating plenty of traffic problems.
Space Blues brings some of the best recent form to the party and is seeking a hat-trick after recent successes at both Haydock and Longchamp.
He seems to have matured as a four-year-old and is unlikely to be too far away.
However, the combination of his price (just 5/2) and the lack of any track form puts me off a little.
Every drop of rain that falls will help Safe Voyage who loves it when the mud flies.
A case can certainly be made for him, but he is plenty short enough for one that hasn’t been to Sussex either.
I’m instead going to side with track specialist DUKE OF HAZZARD for the Cole team who is bidding to make it four from four here.
He shaped well for this with a good third behind Mohaather in the Summer Mile at Ascot and looks a player at 7/1 despite the drop in trip.
Sir Dancealot is another who shouldn’t be too far away having won this for the last two seasons.
He shaped really well in the July Cup last time and this is bound to have been the plan for some time.
At the prices though, I am prepared to throw something each-way at ESCOBAR at a whopping 40/1 with some bookies paying four places, while there is a chance he could pay even bigger on the Tote.co.uk.
The key to this one is you have to put a line through both runs this season.
He has had a wind operation since finishing down the field in the Queen Anne Stakes and I’m just hoping that was what was stopping him.
Don’t forget he rounded off last season by beating Lord North in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day and that horse has gone on to land the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
The big two-year-old race of the afternoon is the Vintage Stakes (2.15pm) which sees the Aidan O’Brien trained Battleground attempt to follow-up his Royal Ascot success.
A son of the brilliant Found, he looked all about stamina when grinding out success on bad ground in the Chesham Stakes.
This should be more of a test of speed and for that reason he may just be a bit vulnerable.
Tom Dascombe does well at this meeting and his DEVIOUS COMPANY looks the colt most likely to upset the warm favourite.
He lost his unbeaten record in a muddling looking July Stakes having previously showing plenty of battling qualities at Haydock.
Devious Company e/w 4/1 2.15pm Goodwood
Duke Of Hazzard e/w 7/1 2.45pm Goodwood
Escobar e/w 40/1 2.45pm Goodwood