2:05 – BLUESQUARE.COM STEWARDS SPRINT STAKES (6F, HANDICAP)
This is a very difficult race to get a handle on, but from a brief look it appears to favour repeat winners, so the chances of Joseph Henry look fair taking into account he’d just be 3lb higher than last year when taking Michael O’Connells’ 3lb claim off his mark of 90. 8 of the last 10 (and last 7) have been weighted at 9st and above, which would pratically rule out Quasi Congaree and Seek The Fair Land. Dandy Nicholls has won this race four times in the last 10 years so his runners have to be looked at carefully and he saddles Saucy Brown, Joseph Henry and Thunderball. 8 of the last 10 winners were aged above four-years-old. I think the key piece of form for this race comes on last years renewal where Joseph Henry raced down the centre of the track and held off Victoire De Lyphar (my Stewards Cup pick). Just in-behind those was Five Star Junior who was in Victoire De Lyphar’s group on the far side before gradually edging across to the centre, he was slightly trapped for room on heels at the 2f pole, and begun to really find his stride inside the final furlong to finish sixth beaten 2L. This season he gets to race off a 4lb lower mark on a mark of 90, and I think he’s been given a chance by the handicapper here. His run behind Murura which produced a good time the race developed away from him down the centre, and when coming with an effort ran into the back of horses before being allowed to coast home on the bridle, and I think he could have come 3rd, possibly 2nd with a clear run. His most recent effort came in a conditions race over 5F behind the 106 rated Dinkum Diamond giving away 4lb to his younger rival (and rated 16lb inferior) he was beaten only 1.25L and managed to pull 0.5L away from the 104 rated Piccadilly Filly (Gp1 placed) with smart horse in-behind. I think this race tomorrow certainly looks winnable from stall 19, off a 4lb lower mark as already mentioned and the yard in fair form.
2:35 – TOYO TIRES SUMMER STAKES (1M6F, HANDICAP)
9 of the last 10 winners have been aged 4 or 5 (other victory was by a 3yo) which would rule out Petara Bay, Sirvino, Mystery Star, Sentry Duty, Woolfall Treasure to start things. If you take out the sole 3yo to win the race back in 2002, then 9 of the last 10 winners of the race carried 9st 4lb or more to victory, with Mark Johnston and Luca Cumani doing particularly well in the race (neither have a runner this year). This then takes out Sharayeen (Barry Hills also only has a 5% strike-rate with older horses at Goodwood), Classic Vintage, Activate, Captain John Nixon and Icon Dream. This leaves us with Verdant, Harlestone Times, Investissment and finally Sabotage. Sabotage was well beaten when seemingly failing to handle the track on his sole try here in 2009, and has shown little form to date on his return to suggest he’s capable off this mark in handicap grade, Investissment won here off a layoff in April off a 4lb lower mark but failed to fire in the Northumberland Plate when last seen, and although could return to form he quite wether he has the class to win this remains to be seen. Verdant gets the first time visor after disappointing so far this year, and the assistance of Ryan Moore who has won this race in 2 of the last 3 years (he also rides Goodwood well). If he were to improve for that application he’d go close to winning this, but he hasn’t looked like winning so far this year and I can’t strike a bet on that basis, which leaves Harlestone Times who should be suited to the step-up to 14F, is 2/2 at the track and holds Investissment on Northumberland Plate form when neither stayed the trip by some 8L at these weights. The form of Harlestone Times last win at the track has worked out well, with Halicarnassus winning the Old Newton Cup and Beachfire winning a big handicap at Royal Ascot since, he is my idea of the winner.
3:10 – MARKEL INSURANCE NASSAU STAKES (1M2F, G1, F&M)
A race which see’s the withdrawl of Misty For Me from the markets on the eve of the race due to unsuitable ground (very strange!). Midday is going for her third win in this race in a row but to my eye has looked totally devoid of pace in her starts to date this year, and the form of her races isn’t working out exactly well this year either. Her hanging and idling in this race still is fresh in the memory and I think something with a little more pace will make her vulnerable. 7 of the last 10 winners had won a G1, and 9 of the last 10 had won a group race between 8F – 10F, which rules out Field Day and Principal Role for starters. 3yo’s have won 6 of the last 10, but of the 4yo+ winners all of those were multiple G1 winners which also rules out Crystal Capella (only won G2). This leaves us with Barefoot Lady and Snow Fairy, and judging by Barefoot Lady’s form she genuinely doesn’t look good enough to win this which leaves us with Snow Fairy. A multiple Group 1 winner, who was sent Globetrotting to Japan last year after winning the Epsom & Irish Oaks for Ed Dunlop. She posted a massive speed figure when winning the Height Of Fashion Stakes over 10F at Goodwood before her Oaks victory last season so handles the track well, made a decent comeback in the Eclipse last month and gets the services of the excellent Frankie Dettori who is riding really well this week.
3:45 – BLUE SQUARE STEWARDS CUP (6F, HERITAGE HANDICAP)
Just 1 horse in the last 10 years has been able to win the Stewards Cup drawn 20+, and 7 of the last 10 (incl. last 6) were drawn between stalls 10 and 19. The last 9 out of 10 winners of this race were aged between 4 & 5, and were rated between 91 and 102. 7 of the last 10 (last 4) carried between 8st 9lb and 9st 3lb with the top weight placing just once in 10 years which all but rules out Hoof It for me. 9 of the last 10 won in class 2 or better last time out, 10 out of 10 winners had previously won over 6F. Taking all trends and various other factors and my ratings into account I am left with Edinburgh Knight and Victoire De Lyphar. Edinburgh Knight looks to have been campaigned with this race in mind and would appreciate any watering overnight and any appreciable rain in due course and looks set to run well, but I think Victoire De Lyphar who ran so well on the card last year, is just 4lb higher for his run last year and has been brought along slowly suggesting this race has been his target for the sprint king Dandy Nicholls and son Adrian. Ideally birthed in stall 15, he is a pacy sort who will be able to lie up with the pace and on all known course form, should go really close here off this mark and looks a good bet.
5:35 – TELEGRAPH APPRENTICE STAKES (1M1F, HANDICAP)
Not going to do a big writeup for this one, but 4yo’s have won the last three runnings of the race and 6 of the last 7 have been won by horses weighted 9st 2lb or higher, which leaves us with Diessentric and Guest Book, and I’m willing to take the better form of Guest Book who ran so well here off this mark earlier in the week, gets the excellent Daryl Byrne taking off 5lb (he’s 5lb better off in theory for his last run), is drawn well and looks like staying the trip and at around 7/1 looks a fair choice.
2:05 – Five Star Junior @ 20/1 (Generally)
2:35 – Harlestone Times @ 6/1 (Bet365, Boylesports)
3:10 – Snow Fairy @ 9/4 (William Hill)
3:45 – Victoire De Lyphar @ 15/1 (William Hill)
5:35 – Guest Book @ 7/1 (Boylesports, PaddyPower).