Not one trainer has doubled up in the last ten years though Jonathan Portman did take it in 2015 with Balmoral Castle and he does have the same runner here in 2017 looking to double up. It will be fast, and luck in running will no doubt play a part, so read on for our assessment of each horse’s chances in our full race preview ahead of the 5.20pm at Goodwood this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: At first glance this looks close to impossible to solve but after you dig deeper it becomes clear that BORN TO BE ALIVE (each way) has an excellent chance, and better still he can be backed at a sensible price. His last win was eye-catching and he can only keep on improving, while both his stable and his jockey are in great form but better still, he retains the same jockey today who knows the horse, which has to be a huge bonus.
1 BANCNUANAHEIREANN – Top weight for Michael Appleby’s veteran ten-year-old who will be ridden here by Alistair Rawlinson who hasn’t ridden a winner from his ten rides in the last two weeks. His trainer is in the same sort of form with zero winners from his last forty-three runners but the horse runs off a mark of 90 and has won off 102 so is clearly well in if they can get him back to anything near his best at his age. His last seven runs have all been in better grade though he hasn’t finished better than third and that leaves him with a bit to find here.
2 YOU’RE HIRED – An interesting contender for local trainer Amanda Perrett and with three wins from four runs last season he has to sit on any shortlist. Not seen since winning at Yarmouth in a Class Two last September, his race fitness has to be taken on trust as does the drop back in trip from a mile and a half, but he is clearly an improving sort for owner George Materna. As a son of Dalakhani he ought to handle the cut in the ground and with Kieran Shoemark in the saddle he has to have a sporting chance.
3 SPRING OFFENSIVE – Difficult to knock and is rarely beaten by far, but hasn’t won since May 2016, or over further than a mile. Scored on soft ground at Pontefract so no issues there, and ran well enough in third at Pontefract last time out, two and three-quarter lengths off winner Crowning Glory. Richard Fahey is one of our top trainers with fourteen recent winners (from 136 runners), but others appeal more at this trip which may stretch his stamina.
4 INTERCONNECTION – Repeated some of his better form when runner up to Rotherwick at Yarmouth last time out just three-quarters of a length adrift after making the running only to be caught close home. The six-year-old has won four of his twenty-two starts with a pair of those on good to soft but has to carry six pounds more than his highest winning mark before Stephen Cummins; seven-pound claim and even though the Ed Walker yard are going well enough (one win from three runners in the last two weeks), others appeal more here.
5 ROTHERWICK – Re-opposes Interconnection on two pounds worse terms today (before jockey allowances) for three-quarters of a length and it should be close between the pair. Paul Cole’s son of Starspangledbanner seems at his best on a faster surface which has to count against him here, but he has won two of his four races this season and could be on the upgrade. Mitch Godwin rides and although sure to go well as he likes a battle, he may find others better suited to the race conditions.
6 STORM AHEAD – Ran well enough to be beaten three and a quarter lengths by Murad Khan at Windsor over a mile when looking one paced, and has to be of some interest stepped up in trip. Dropped a generous two pounds for that by the handicapper, he has won on soft ground which ticks an important box, though both trainer Marcus Tregoning and jockey Tyler Saunders are winner free in the last two weeks, which has to temper punter enthusiasm.
7 STORM KING – One of the six runners here to win last time out after he took a Chester handicaps over slightly further last month after taking up the running two out and bravely repelling any and all challengers. Up three pounds for that, he does have Edward Greatrex on his back, who has ridden him before, but he is not as happy on this softer ground and may well struggle regardless.
8 BALMORAL KING – Four course and distance wins from seven starts here at Goodwood has to count in his favour here, the latest of them in August 2015, and anything but disgraced when third to Fire Tree over the Ascot mile last time out, just a length away from the winner at the line when running in strongly after being left with too much to do, Pierre-Louis Jamin rode the eight-year-old that day as he does this afternoon, and off the same mark as his last win, he has to have a solid each way chance today.
9 MAGIC CITY – Moved stable from Richard Hannon to Michael Easterby in July last year and he has won three races since, at Newcastle, Wetherby, and Ripon. He ventures south this afternoon to a course he seems to like (three wins and two places for his previous trainer), and certainly will not be disgraced for his very shrewd yard, who could be in better form with just the one win from their last twenty-four runners for a miserly 4% success percentage. He has won off far higher ratings in his “youth” but seems unlikely to be able to repeat that now though he could well surprise a few of them here.
10 FAST DANCER – A winner last time out for Joseph Tuite when comfortably accounting for Zlatan by two and a quarter length on Good ground at Bath, but that was over a mile and he was well-beaten in his only try over further at Chester in May. An added five pounds from the handicapper won’t help either and with the trip in question, others have to sit higher on the short list than the son of Fast Company today.
11 BOOTS AND SPURS – Eight wins from a big seventy starts now, but none over further than a mile with two weakening efforts at nine furlongs the only attempts over any further. In good enough form of late with a two and a half-length fourth at York at the end of last month, but with stamina issues, it may be better to direct attention elsewhere.
12 BORN TO BE ALIVE – Hard to gauge but clearly very promising after being beaten a head on his debut by Shymkent and then running away with an Ayr maiden by an easy eight lengths under today’s jockey Clifford Lee. Given a rating of 90 after that, trainer Karl Burke will have a very good idea if that is generous or not, and with the stable going very nicely with eleven winners from forty-four runners in the last two weeks for a 25% strike rate and better still a level stakes profit of over 22 points, he has to have a solid each way chance here with the same jockey on board again.
13 RETRIEVE – Moved from Jamie Osborne to the Somerset stable of Carroll Gray last month before finishing a forty-five length sixth over hurdles at Newton Abbot after refusing to race on a Wolverhampton seller. Has won off higher marks but only in lesser races recently and looks likely to be sent off at a big price today and rightly so on recent evidence.
14 IN THE RED – There is no doubt that jockey Hector Crouch is the in-form pilot here after six wins from his last twenty rides for a 20% success rate and over 100 points of level stakes profit, but even he may struggle to steer the son of Elusive Pimpernel to the front where it matters here. Formerly with Richard Hannon but now with Martin Smith in Newmarket, he has won here over seven furlongs as recently as June but has never won beyond a mile and weakened two out when tired over ten furlongs at Lingfield in December. Might not get home today but if any jockey here can nurse him through it, then Hector can.
15 FIRE TREE – Looking for his hat-trick here for trainer Charlie Fellowes who has snapped up Georgia Cox to ride the four-year-old which is eye catching in this sort of contest. This does represent a step up in class after victories in a Class Five at Wetherby and a Class Four at Ascot when staying on strongly over the mile to beat Brilliant Vanguard by half a length. The step up in trip will be a first but may well see further improvement as a son of Cacique but he seems unlikely to want the going on the soft side, though there is every chance that he has more to offer though the stable are none from seven in the last fourteen days.
16 MORNING SUIT – Trainer Mark Johnston is in great form with nineteen winners from his last ninety-five runners (20%) and over eleven points of profit but he will need to work his magic with this son of Street Boss if he wants a place let alone a win. His last run was here on Thursday when beaten over ten lengths over slightly further weakening late on and there is no obvious reason to expect any better today if he even runs so soon after those efforts.
17 SURREY HOPE – Non-Runner.
18 JUFN – Bottom weight of nine stone two here for John Butler’s gelding but that doesn’t really seem likely to help him get into the mix. He did win his second race (and first on turf) at Chepstow in June and didn’t run too badly when fifth at Epsom last time out, but this looks a lot stronger and with a lot more depth to it. The stable are going well enough with a 10% strike rate and Tim Clark is a decent jockey but this really ought to prove beyond him and will require a career best by some margin.