Welcome to our new column from Scott Armstrong of The Sportsman, who will be providing a rundown of all the best weekend racing action every Friday.
Scott is a proven racing expert, thanks to his work at http://www.thesportsman.org.uk/ and has a keen eye for racing value, especially in the big feature races.
Glorious Goodwood comes to an end tomorrow with another top class card. Nothing can compare however to the wonder of Frankel’s performance in the Susses Stakes on Wednesday who was advised at 5-6. Frankel is now the fourth best rated horse ever with Timeform on 142 behind only Sea-Bird (145), Brigadier Gerard (144) and Tudor Minstrel (144). It’s great news he will be kept in training by Henry Cecil as a four-year old.
The two biggest races of the day are the Class 1, Group 1 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares at 3.10 and the Stewards Cup Handicap following on at 3.45. As a rule I don’t bet heavily on filles and mares races as the female horses are generally more moody and less consistent than their male counterparts however at this highest level temperament does become less of an issue. Temperance is nonetheless suggested in the Nassau Stakes where £105k is up for grabs to the winner. It’s a cracking field of seven runners with Misty For Me the current 2-1 favourite while among the opposition will be familiar faces Midday and Snow Fairy. Midday has won this race over ten furlongs twice without breaking too much sweat and has the added bonus of her trainer, the aforementioned Henry Cecil being in great form. Misty For Me from the Aidan O’Brien stable will be hoping to strike another blow for the younger generation as this three year old bids to emulate the recent successes of both Nathaniel in the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Frankel in the Sussex. Misty For Me beat Midday a convincing six lengths in the Group1 Pretty Polly Stakes a month ago and it’s hard to see Midday reversing the form.
Snow Fairy has the best form in the race from last year having triumphed in both the English and Irish Oaks. The four year old filly suffered injury setbacks earlier in the season but ran an encouraging fourth in the Eclipse on her return to the track. Frankie Dettori takes the ride and Snow Fairy completed an excellent Limkilns gallop under Ryan Moore on Tuesday morning. Trainer Ed Dunlop has issued a bullish cry of “bring it on” and Snow Fairy should have the fast ground she prefers.
Ryan Moore won’t be riding Snow Fairy as he is claimed by Sir Michael Stoute to saddle Crystal Capella and this six year old mate may provide the value in the race. Stoute’s runner has proved progressive despite being six years of age, putting up a career best run when winning comfortably at Newmarket in the Group 2 Princess of Wales Stakes defeating the colts with the promise of more to come. Crystal Capella would like a little more cut in the ground and in conclusion, if the rains come she could well be the each-way value at odds of 7-1.
The following race at 3.45 is the Blue Square Stewards Cup with 100k up for grabs in prize money. The race has twenty eight entrants being the proverbial cavalry charge across six furlongs of the Sussex Downs. Hoof It was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the competitive Sky Bet Dash handicap over six furlongs last weekend. Under Kieran Fallon, Hoof It didn’t’t have the easiest of passages in the race, nevertheless winning by a comfortable ¾ lengths and holds favouritism here at current odds of 7-1. Mick Easterbys runner carries a 3lb penalty for his success however I would rather be playing him each-way as he will have to step up a level again to get into the winner’s enclosure here. Second favourite Mac’s Power ran a great race in the Wokingham and was the winner of the runners on the stand side of the Ascot track. Unfortunately the far side was where the real winners of the race were drawn. Trainer James Fanshawe must have had a black cat cross his path with Mac’s Power being last out of the hat for the draw and having to take box one here. With regards to the draw William Haggas’s High Standing was first out of the hat and the trainer chose 28 on the stands rail.
A close eye is to be kept on Haggas’s runners in big handicaps with his success rate beyond doubt and High Standing should be prominent in the race. Edinburgh Knight is an interesting runner and has been the subject of market support. Paul D’Arcy’s runner held some big race entries as a three year old though subsequently disappointed. A gelding operation late last year though brought about rapid improvement resulting in an eye-catching Class 2 win at Newmarket in the Totescoop 6 handicap a month ago and the yard are bullish on his chances here. He’s my each-way value choice at current odds of 14-1 with Totesport and Betfred. Of course plenty of others hold claims in a very tricky betting heat including the likes of Colonel Mak and Quest For Success the latter being sent down south from Richard Fahey’s stable. I witnessed Quest For Success winning twice at Ayr and Hamilton over the past six weeks and even in receipt of a 6lb penalty for those successes this variable ground gelding can go well.