A hugely fascinating field running over a mile and a quarter, chasing a first prize of a little over £43,500. Read on for our runner by runner preview and expert tip.
IN SUMMARY: UAE PRINCE would have hosed up at Goodwood but for constantly getting stopped in his run. This more conventional track will play to his strengths and from the same mark, it would be no surprise to see him go off plenty shorter than the 4/1 on offer. Weekend Offender has shown much improved form since stepping up to this trip and may be able to improve further, while Khairaat and Titi Makfi are others who are worthy of consideration.
1 KHAIRAAT – Kicked off his 2017 campaign in fine style when thrashing the re-opposing Brorocco at Chester. Sent off favourite for the Wolferton handicap at Royal Ascot, the much quicker ground and lack of experience in a big field handicap betrayed him there, unable to land a blow behind Snoano. It was much more like it last time when behind a couple of these at Goodwood, just worried out of it when Dark Red became wayward in the closing stages. Still unexposed enough to be improving so has a solid each way shout.
2 SNOANO – Caused a significant shock at Royal Ascot when landing the Wolferton handicap. He hadn’t looked well treated going into that contest so it is no surprise he has struggled since from higher marks. The big field and solid pace will play to his strengths here, but it would be another surprise if he were able to get his head in front.
3 BAYDAR – Rattled off a four timer last season, the last of which came from just a pound lower. He hasn’t got close to that form this season, connections adding first time cheekpieces in a bid to get more from him. He is well enough treated if they work the oracle but he could probably have done without the ground drying out so much.
4 SPEED COMPANY – A winner at Ayr earlier on in the campaign, that was a Class 3 contest, the highest level that he has won at. He has shown solid enough form when trying this grade in the past but not enough to think that he can land a significant blow.
5 BRAVERY – Disappointing at this track earlier in the week as he has been for the majority of the season after kicking it off with a win in the Lincoln. He has slipped down the handicap to a perch he is capable of winning from but he is not the easiest to predict when his going days are likely to be.
6 WEEKEND OFFENDER – Well supported the last twice, he has taken his form to a new level since trying this ten furlong trip. He isn’t entirely straightforward but is still unexposed enough to think that there is further improvement to come from him. A smooth traveller, he should find this race run to suit giving him a solid each way chance.
7 EDDYSTONE ROCK – Won three of his last four starts in Ireland before joining his current yard, arriving in this country on an inflated mark. It is to his credit that he has run with credit in the majority of his ten races for John Best but he hasn’t shown enough to suggest he will be entering the winners enclosure here.
8 UAE PRINCE – Goodwood is a track where one needs a lot to go right, one of the hard luck stories from the Glorious meeting was this horse. Behind a couple of re-opposing rivals, the gaps failed to materialise, having to be switched right round the outside of the field there to get a run. With his mark unchanged it will be no surprise to see him a well supported favourite and with a wider track on which to pick his way through, he could be ready to capitalise.
9 FIRST FLIGHT – Returned from a break with a smart run at Newmarket so it was disappointing that he was unable to build on that at Yarmouth last time. His career best run came over this course and distance in 2015 so he should enjoy the return to the Knavesmire, but he arrives with enough to prove for now.
10 DARK RED – First past the post at Goodwood last time, his wayward tendencies in the closing stages saw him lose the race in an enquiry. Runner up in this race last year, he arrives on just a pound higher after a rise for his latest run. Clearly has his quirks but has been in smart form of late and deserves plenty of respect in his bid to go one better.
11 NICHOLAS T – Already a three time winner this season, including when landing a huge price single for us at Doncaster. As a result he is as far up the handicap as he has ever been with neither attempt at this trip coming close to the level of form he has shown over a mile.
12 KENTUCKYCONNECTION – Beaten out of sight the twice he has tried this distance, both of them at this track. He has not won in the thirteen starts since a debut success at Redcar and despite the workable level he finds himself at now, his stamina is a significant concern.
13 STORM KING – In flying form this season, winner of four races including his last pair. They have taken him further up the handicap than he has been for more than three years so despite being in form, he is going to need another step forward to win this.
14 GULF OF POETS – Rattled off a four timer to start 2017, he has been well held from today’s mark the last twice. Class 4 is the highest level that he has won at, so it’s hard to see him being able to make an impact in this grade, in need of some respite from the assessor.
15 TITI MAKFI – Another who has been banging in the wins this season, she has claimed victory in five of her seven starts. The biggest field she has won in was a ten runner contest, so this is going to be a different task, trying to see off the attentions of more rivals. As the only three-year-old in the line-up, she is open to more progression than most of them. She has a great attitude and despite needing a career best once more, she is far from discounted.
16 BROROCCO – A model of consistency, he is a full stone better off with Khairaat for a four and a half length beating earlier this season. Trip and ground are perfect for him, but he hasn’t really progressed, placed from this mark at lesser levels the last twice, hitting the frame looks the best he can hope for once more.
17 AWAKE MY SOUL – Without a win since August 2014, he ran his best race of the season over this course and distance at the Dante meeting in May. As with the majority of his best form, that run came on soft ground so with drying conditions against him, he is easily overlooked.
18 SPRING OFFENSIVE – Placed a couple of times at a mile this year, he is yet to convince that he requires ten furlongs. The drying ground is in his favour and he looks at a level that he can work from at 88, but the stamina concern is a big one in a race where there will be no hiding place.
19 BEARDWOOD – Went close from this mark at Sandown in July but that contest was just six runners, lacking the depth of this one. This is his trip and he has no significant ground bias but he is hard to support given that he has failed to capitalise on this mark so far in softer races.
20 SAVE THE BEES – Bold front runner, he dug in bravely to score from his highest ever winning mark at Beverley last time. That was a Class 4 contest and despite being in good heart this summer, he would appeal much more at a lower level.