With the Qatar Goodwood Festival just around the corner, we look forward to 5 days of spectacular flat racing on the Sussex Downs!
The Festival gets off to a flyer with the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over 7 furlongs, where the likes of Home Of The Brave, Limato, Spirit Of Valor and Dream Castle could clash.
However the highlight of day one is undoubtedly the Group 1 Goodwood Cup, a race Ascot Gold Gup hero Big Orange attempts to win for the third successive year. With the absence of Order Of St George, this looks a much easier contest for Big Orange. US Army Ranger deputises for Order Of St George as he attempts to become a top stayer. Meanwhile, the likes of old favourites Sheikhzayedroad and Wicklow Brave are interesting contenders, but Big Orange will take all the beating.
Day 2 sees the eagerly-anticipated Sussex Stakes, a race twice won by Frankel. Toronado, Kingman and Solow also feature as recent winners. The Lockinge and Queen Anne winner Ribchester (who was third in last year’s race, losing by a neck and a short head to The Gurkha and Galileo Gold respectively) takes on dual Guineas winner Churchill, who was disappointing at Royal Ascot but still represents the best of the Classic generation.
The Nassau is the feature race on Day Three, won in previous years by top-class fillies and mares such as Ouija Board and Minding. This year the dual-1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner Winter puts her credentials to the test. Like the Sussex Stakes, it’s a chance to see 3-year-olds take on their elders for the first time. Winter may be joined by other Classic contenders Sobetsu, Wuheida and Shutter Speed as they take on the likes of Nezwaah, Queen’s Trust and possibly the high class So Mi Dar who hasn’t been seen since Arc day last year.
On Friday, the Betfred Mile Handicap looks as competitive as ever, with several of the leading players from Royal Ascot’s Royal Hunt Cup including winner Zhui Feng and runner-up Blair House likely to do battle again.
Following that, attention turns to the sprinters as the Group 2 King George Stakes takes centre stage. Last year saw Take Cover, Washington DC, Goldream, Easton Angel and Marsha separated by no more than a length in a thrilling finish and all bar Easton Angel could reappear this year. The ante-post favourite, however, is Battaash, the exciting 3-year-old who has won both his starts this year including a fine victory in the Coral Charge at Sandown earlier in July.
The final day on Saturday is headlined by the Stewards Cup, with the colours of Jeff Smith’s being ridden to victory 24 years apart with Lochsong in 1992 and Dancing Star last year. With well over 100 entries still in, the early favourite is Roger Charlton’s Projection, deemed by many to be an unlucky loser at Royal Ascot.
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