Tuesday’s feature race from Glorious Goodwood comes in the form of the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes, a Group One run over two-miles.
Unbeaten in his last seven starts, three of which coming at the highest level, it might appear to be a fool’s errand to back against John Gosden’s Stradivarius, who has claimed the last two runnings of this.
Nevertheless, anyone in the racing industry worth their salt will always try and get odds-on favourites beaten, as blindly backing them provides a quick route to the poor house or at least find some each way value elsewhere. To boost the profitability of your week, make sure to take advantage of our Glorious Goodwood Free Bets and Offers.
All ground comes alike to Stradivarius, who posted a peak RPR of 121 on soft ground in the Ascot Gold Cup last month, overcoming two of these. He is usually far more at home on a quicker surface, and may well even be able to improve for the return to such today.
Two from two in this race, he has a faultless record on this track, both wins coming on similarly good ground.
As usual the Gosden and Dettori team are in flying form, with the former having had eleven winners from his last twenty-eight runners at the time of writing, and with Dettori partnering a third of his last eighteen rides to victory.
The pair, as they do at almost every venue they attend, thrive at Goodwood. Gosden has had winners with seven of his twenty two runners at the track over the last year, and four of Dettori’s thirteen rides have been victorious.
Dettori is having his most productive season in terms of strike rate since he started riding in 1988, with twenty eight percent of his mounts winning in the UK. He has ridden nine winners in Group One company this year, seven of which have come for Gosden.
There is a rather considerably amount of dead wood in this contest, largely as a result of Ballydoyle’s usual tactics, with five of the eight runners priced at odds of at least 20/1.
One from that yard who doesn’t appear to be making up the numbers is Southern France, who was far from disgraced behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup back in May when beaten less than a length.
Admittedly, he has disappointed twice since including in a weak Group Two at the Curragh last time, however he shapes as if he would strongly appreciate a step up to tw0-miles, and at 20/1 looks well worth chancing that he’ll rediscover his best.
Both South Pacific and Dashing Willoughby landed races at Royal Ascot and receive weight as three year olds. They will both have to improve considerably for today’s extra mileage to threaten here however, facing slower ground than a month ago.
Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee, whom had been crying out for staying trips last year, arrived at Ascot seeking a hat trick after two cosy wins in Group Three company. A dour stayer, he led the field for the majority of the twenty furlongs there, and showed a very game attitude having been headed around the two furlong marker to keep plugging on.
He was ultimately no match for Stradivarius despite the narrow margin of defeat, and faces conditions far better suited to that rival here. Two-miles-four on soft ground looked the ideal opportunity for Johnston’s colt to land a deserved Group One. Faces less testing conditions, Dettori should be able to reel him in with ease.
Last year’s most impressive three year old stayer was Cross Counter who won the Gordon Stakes from Dee Ex Bee at this meeting last year over twelve furlongs. He landed huge prizes either side of Christmas subsequently, winning the Melbourne Cup and the Dubai Gold Cup.
He was off the track for 82 days, having his first start in the UK since returning from Dubai, when finishing a close up fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup. He was travelling the best of the field until failing to quicken up in the closing stages, most likely because of a lack of race fitness and ground softer than ideal.
On a quicker surafce, dropped back to two-miles over which he is two-from-two, it is possible to expected an improved showing now that he’s race fit. He was by far the best performing of those held up at Ascot, and more positive tactics could well be used facing a less stern test.
The best priced 4/6 available for Stradivarius, a dual winner of this race and unbeaten in his last seven, is far from irrationally short. There is no doubt that he is the best horse in the race and boasts some highly impressive credentials.
It appears most likely that he will continue his winning streak here and take a further step closer to landing his second £1million staying bonus. Nevertheless, there is good value in the 7/2 for Cross Counter for whom there are a number of reasons why he may well get closer to Stradivarius today.
At tastier odds there is Southern France, who ran Stradivarius close at York back in May and will appreciate facing two-miles for the first time. For those who dislike backing odds-on horses, these two appear to represent the best options.