YOU don’t get many more competitive handicaps than the Unibet Golden Mile (2.45pm), although this year is a relatively small field with just 15 runners going to post.
That could make the draw slightly less important than normal as a high number is usually a curse in this race.
In the past decade, nine winners have come from a single figure stall with five of those being housed in trap three or lower.
Since the draw was made and he was given stall two, David O’Meara’s Prompting has been a real springer in the market and now looks certain to go off favourite.
He comes into this on a hat-trick having won a seven furlong handicap at Ayr a fortnight ago and then following up over the same distance at York last Saturday.
While clearly progressive, both of those victories came at Class 4 level so this is a massive step up.
He has also been beaten both times he’s raced over a mile, so at just 4/1 I’m more than happy to leave him alone.
This is a really classy renewal with some highly rated types and one who has to be backed each-way is Mark Johnston’s VALE OF KENT at 10/1 from stall three (2.45pm).
The five-year-old hasn’t won for over a year but he has put in some cracking efforts in defeat and form figures of 32142 at Goodwood show how much he loves this track.
His last visit here was a length second to Beat Le Bon in this race 12 months ago and even though he is seven pounds higher he can still run into the places.
My other selection needs a little more explaining but a gelding operation could be the making of the expensively bought WILLIE JOHN.
Considering his father is Dansili and his mother Izzi Top, it’s no surprise that Sheikh Obaid forked out nearly two million guineas for him.
To say he has been disappointing is an understatement, but he was second to Elarqam in a Listed race over 1m2f here in May last year which is very strong form.
After running no sort of race in the Royal Hunt Cup on his reappearance, connections decided to geld him.
He lines up here in stall eight and looks worth a go at 16/1 on his favoured quick ground.
For those of you who like to do a combination exacta on www.tote.co.uk, you can throw these two in with Sir Busker and Urban Icon.
In the opening TDN Australia Handicap (1.10pm), Al Qaqaa and Mafia Power, who both bolted up last time, are going to be very popular with the punters.
However, Brian Meehan’s CEPHEUS beat recent Group Three winner Volkan Star on debut at Newmarket last August before being thrown into the deep end in the 2000 Guineas on his reappearance.
That was a bridge too far for the son of Sea The Stars, but he ran well last time at Kempton over 1m4f and should appreciate the drop back to 1m3f.
Off a mark of 89 he looks the value here at 9/2.
Cepheus 1.10pm Goodwood (Friday)
Vale Of Kent e/w 2.45pm Goodwood (Friday)
Willie John e/w 2.45pm Goodwood (Friday)