Parliament is still out on its summer break, and while the chosen few are beavering away in the background putting together the Brexit deal, it’s fair to say there might be an MP or two taking in the sights and sounds of Glorious Goodwood this weekend.
This festival of fillies and flat racing actually started on Tuesday, but with five full days of action it is the curtain-closer on Saturday that really catches the eye of race lovers and punters alike.
The great and the good descend on the rolling Sussex countryside for a meeting that further identifies the finest flat racers on the planet.
Saturday’s racecard is stacked, with proceedings kicking off with the Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Stakes, and continues with the Summer Handicap, the Gordon Stakes and the Group 3 Stewards Cup.
Completing the line-up are the EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes, the Handicap Stakes and the Apprentice Stakes.
The weather has been foul, to be honest, so far, but the good news is that Saturday at the festival appears to be set fair. These forecasts are prone to change of course, but at the moment the omens look good for a nice and sunny day.
Will this be enough to dry out the soft going? We’ll have to wait and see, but the squelchy surface has witnessed many favourites with the bookmakers being beaten already this week.
That’s good news for the sportsbooks – and for punters with an eagle eye for value.
Here’s an overview of day five of Glorious Goodwood.
Summer Handicap (2:25pm)
Shraaoh will go off as favourite in the Summer Handicap, but a horse that has won just once in eight starts holds little appeal even with an agreeable handicap mark.
Soldier in Action caused a shock when winning the Investec Out of the Ordinary Handicap back in June, but the four-year-old has done little of note since in three starts.
Perhaps more appealing is Mainstream (7/1), who was an impressive second last time out in the Unibet Handicap despite carrying top weight. He’s finished in the places in 8/12 starts, and the Queen’s horse could deliver a royal seal of approval on Saturday.
Platitude has been well and truly outclassed in his last three starts, and holding a BHA rating of 107 will go off as a heavy weight here. So how about Getback in Paris as an each way option at 10/1? The spawn of Galileo has finished in the top two in 5/7 starts (one win, four seconds), and going off at 92 will secure him an ideal handicap mark.
And with a spate of outsiders doing the business at Goodwood so far, how about the forgotten Arch Villain? The eight-year-old hasn’t had an outing since August 2016, but boy what a win that was in the Shergar Cup Stayers. At 25/1, he bested the 3/1 favourite Sea of Heaven by a neck.
The Qatar Gordon Stakes (3:00pm)
At the time of writing the full list of starters had not been confirmed for this Group 3 outing over 1m 4f, but of those likely to start it’s hard to be coy on the chances of Mount Moriah (7/1).
This Norman Brunskill stayer has won each of his last three races – crucially two of those coming on the softer ground anticipated on Saturday. He romped home by more than three lengths as an 8/1 shot in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap, while the four-length triumph in the Close Brothers Property Finance Handicap in mid-July was another eye-catching victory.
He will face stiff competition from Crystal Ocean (11/8) though. This three-year-old, from the Sir Michael Stoute yard, has lost in two Group 2 races in his last pair of starts – and both to the excellent Permian. But coming within two lengths of that powerhouse in both is testament to his quality. A step down in class here may pay dividends.
Stewards Cup (3:35pm)
Projection has been tentatively installed as the favourite by the sportsbooks, but so far little money has come in for four-year-old without a win since 2015.
But there’s a sea of blue on Oddschecker for Danzeno, a six-year-old who took down the totescoop6 Heritage Handicap in his last outing – besting third favourite here Polybius.
Sir Dancealot has got a great name and he nearly had punters boogieing down the aisles when he narrowly missed out in the Bunbury Cup as a 16/1 hope. The three-year-old seems like an improving sort compared the ageing Danzeno and Polybius.