Alex Hammond shares her tips for this week, which include Boom and Bust in the Betfred Mile.
Last Updated: 03/08/12 8:44am
Hopefully by the time you read this Frankel will have extended his unbeaten run to 12 in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.
The week has been marvellous so far for Sir Henry Cecil who's Noble Mission is now 12/1 with Sky Bet for the St Leger after his win in the Gordon Stakes on Tuesday and whose Chachamaidee won for us on the blog in the Lennox Stakes.
So to the rest of the week and, first, the Goodwood Cup, the feature race on Thursday.
The Group 2 is run over a trip of two miles and is part of the British Champions Series. The John Oxx trained Saddler's Rock is one of the leading contenders and is a horse I've followed this season. Although he hasn't won in his two outings he has run well in defeat, including when finishing third in the Ascot Gold Cup in June. He has made up into a high class stayer and as this is only his eighth start he can keep progressing. His win in the Doncaster Cup last September looks good and his turn isn't far away on ground that will suit him.
Colour Vision was the horse who prevailed at Royal Ascot but he has to carry a 4lb penalty here for his trouble and I expect Saddler's Rock to reverse the placings. Simeon is another progressive stayer. After a successful career with Andrew Balding he is now with Ireland's Champion Jumps trainer Willie Mullins for whom he won two hurdle races before doubling up at Royal Ascot this year in the Ascot Stakes and Queen Alexandra.
Aside from those runners there is a classy line up but I'm sticking with Saddler's Rock once again.
Earlier on Thursday's card it is hard to oppose trainer Richard Hannon in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes. Britain's Champion trainer has won this race for the last four years and runs Master of War in this year's renewal. Ahern is an interesting rival but hopefully his presence will keep Master of War at a backable price.
On Friday the Betfred Mile will take some sorting out. It's a big field handicap headed by Trade Commissioner who is 7/2 with Sky Bet for in-form trainer John Gosden. He is a short price in a race as competitive as this, but deservedly so, having won his last two, including a quality handicap at Sandown on his latest start. Gosden feels that despite being beaten by stallion Montjeu he is happy to stick to a mile and the horse has been in good heart at home.
Yorkshire trainer Tom Tate has Cambridgeshire and Hunt Cup winner Prince Of Johanne (10/1) in the race but he was well beaten at Pontefract over the weekend and has top weight here. Jamie Osborne's Field Of Dream is also 10/1 after a win in the 7 furlong International Stakes at Ascot last month. He looks capable of running well on this better ground and isn't one to dismiss.
George Baker has 16/1 shot Belgian Bill entered with Johnny Murtagh in the plate. He was sent off favourite for the Bunbury Cup but the testing ground didn't help his cause there and he can bounce back on this better surface if things drop right for him.
I was with Excellent Guest last time out, but he lost his chance at the start of that International Stakes when banging his head on the stalls and not getting a good break from the gates. Prior to that he had finished second in the Hunt Cup but despite that great run over a mile it's a slight concern that he has yet to win over a trip that far.
14/1 shot Boom and Bust was 16th in the Hunt Cup, but that was his first run since last July and was entitled to need it. He won this race last year off 94 and is only 5lbs higher here; Hayley Turner maintains the partnership.
So, in summary, Trade Commissioner fully deserves to be as short as he is because it's possible he will progress beyond this level. However, anything can happen in fields of this size and I'm going for last year's winner Boom and Bust each way in the hope he has improved for that run at Royal Ascot.
Saturday's feature is the Nassau Stakes and some classy fillies are set to line up in this Group 1.
Who dares take on John Gosden with a fancied horse in a Group race? He saddles Pretty Polly winner Izzi Top who has been well supported to add this Group 1 to her tally. She is in outstanding form having won all four of her starts since an excellent effort to finish third in last year's Oaks.
The Fugue is a stablemate of Izzi Top and she could be suited by dropping back to this mile and a quarter on better ground (similar conditions to those she encountered when winning the Musidora Stakes at York in May).
Nahrain is rated a couple of pounds higher than Izzi Top and is top rated in the field after her win in the Prix de l'Opera last season. Roger Varian trains her and she comes into this as fresh horse having only had the one run this season. She was down the field in the Windsor Forest at Royal Ascot but had to carry a Group 1 penalty there. She should be sharper for that outing and can hold her own in top company in the second half of the season.
Sir Henry Cecil has made a flying sart to the meeting and he has won this race for the past three years with the marvellous Midday. His possible runner is Timepiece but she has failed to sparkle of late and was someway off her Group 1 winning best when last seen in May.
Aidan O'Brien is well represented with oaks winner Was, Up and Maybe in the race. I'm going with Nahrain, though, who should have a slight advantage as she has been trained to be campaigned in the second half of the season.
The Stewards' Cup is the big betting conundrum of the five day meeting. The six furlong sprint is once again wide open with the unexposed and improving Hallelujah (who needs plenty to come out to get a run but is in the Stewards' Sprint Stakes on the same day) and Jim Goldie's Hawkeyethenoo Sky Bet's 12/1 joint favourites.David Barron has Wokingham second Waffle in the race who is 14/1 to go one better here. There are a host of horses at 14s including Wokingham fifth Dungannon, Richard Fahey's Alben Star, Cape Classic (who also needs plenty to come out to get a place in the lineup) and David Nicholls' Victoire De Lyphar. Another Royal Ascot runner up Jamesie is bidding to go one better here too. He was second in the Britannia for Irish handler David Marnane. Mac's Power (16/1) was third behind Hoof it in this race last year and he's 3lbs lower in the handicap this time round. Mince (also 16s) is a filly I have followed this season. Roger Charlton trains, but like several of these looks more likely to end up in the Stewards' Sprint Stakes.
Back to Alben Star then and he's my selection in this red hot race. He won a six furlong Conditions Stakes at Haydock last time despite not enjoying the soft ground. Underfoot conditions should be much more to his liking here. Prior to that he was ninth in the Wokingham but can find a bit more on this faster ground.
Galway's festival continues as well and on Thursday the feature race is the Galway Hurdle. Last year's Galway Plate winner Blazing Tempo takes up this option rather than a repeat bid in Wednesday's Plate. Willie Mullins' mare has been supported for this race and she successfully mixes up chasing a hurdling. She hasn't run since the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival. She pulled up there but should have been freshened up for this.
Mullins though has a strong hand as he also saddles Drive Time and with Paul Townend on Blazing Tempo Ruby Walsh rides Drive Time who runs for owner Graham Wylie. Drive Time has an impressive record so far, in an eight-race career he has won six and he has had a nice prep for this having won on the flat a couple of weeks ago.
Donald McCain sends Lexi's Boy over from his Cheshire base. He was a lovely juvenile hurdler in the spring and won the Cumberland Plate, finishing sixth in the Old Newton Cup on his last two starts on the flat. He's a tough performer, but this is a tough race. Rebel Fitz won a Grade 3 Hurdle at Tipperary last month beating Captain Cee Bee and The Real Article and has a 6lb penalty in this but he should go well once again. Sailors Warn was third in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and is only 1lb higher here. He has just had a couple of starts on the flat since then and is another leading contender for trainer Edward O'Grady. Princeton Plains was 5th to Moon Dice in this race last year and the latter is 16lbs higher in the handicap this time round with recent flat winner Princeton Plains 8lbs higher. Run With The Wind gets in with 10stone7 and has won his last 2 for Michael Hourigan.
It's typically red hot with plenty in with a chance, I'm going to go for Sailors Warn though.
Saddler's Rock in the Goodwood Cup
Master of War in the Richmond Stakes
Boom and Bust in the Betfred Mile @ 14/1 with Sky Bet (each way)
Nahrain in the Nassau Stakes
Alben Star in the Stewards' Cup @ 14/1 with Sky Bet
Sailors Warn in the Galway Hurdle