Day 2 of the Glorious Goodwood meeting has the race always dubbed ‘The Duel on the Downs’ as its centrepiece, when the Qatar Sussex Stakes takes place at 3.35.
Certainly the bookmakers think it is a two horse race at 10-1 bar Ribchester and Churchill and with odds of upwards of 20-1 about six of the other runners, it looks a waste of time their turning up.
The Richard Fahey trained Ribchester heads the market at even money, with the Aiden O’Brien trained, dual Guineas winner Churchill available at 15-8.
The ultra consistent Ribchester comes here off the back of a gutsy victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, having trousered the Al Shaqab Lockinge before that and there appear to be few, if any, chinks in the 4-y-o’s armour.
The same cannot be said, however, of Churchill, who appeared unbeatable before running a lifeless race in the St James’s Stakes, finishing a well-beaten 4th at odds of 1-2. Connections were head-scratching after that, but it did look as if the colt had had enough and you’d be brave to bank on a revival.
The third in is an interesting French raider. Zelzal, owned by the sponsors, won the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat (if you’ll pardon the expression) at Chantilly as a 3-y-o and has been specifically targeted at today’s event this season. His warm up, meant to be a formality, in a Group 3, also at Chantilly did not go according to plan, but he was given a shocking ride by M. Benoist, finishing second with plenty left in the tank. Frankie You-Know-Who takes over today and the shape of the race lends itself to an each way bet, which might be almost to nothing.
It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that Zelzal will beat Ribchester so the plan is to have a win bet on the fav and a decent e/w punt on the French jobby. Add in a reverse forecast and there you have it.
There are four handicaps on the card and whilst we will file the last race under the ‘impossible’ banner, the other three are worth a look.
The Matchbook Betting Exchange Goodwood Handicap which kicks off the proceedings at 1.50 is over a marathon two and a half miles, which, with the rain falling, will take some getting.
Step forward a 3 mile hurdler, in the shape of Golden Doyen, trained by Philip Hobbs. Not seen on the Flat for nearly a year, this 6-y-o has a hurdles rating of 137 and stays longer than your mother-in-law, so off a mark of just 79, his shrewd handler has doubtless been eyeing this contest for a while. At 10-1, this is the value bet in the race. As an additional bow string, have a small e/w lash at the improving 4-y-o Denmead at 16-1.
The Better Odds With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap at 2.25 is a 3-y-o contest over 12 furlongs and the rapidly improving favourite On To Victory has to be the each way play in this race at 5-1.
At 4.45 14 fillies contest the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies Handicap over ten furlongs and here we strongly advocate a lumpy each way bet on David Simcock’s White Chocolate. This daughter of Mastercraftsman is unlucky not to be on a five-timer and can continue her upward climb today under Josephine Gordon. Just as a precaution, also have a win ‘cover’ bet on the other big improver Three Duchesses at 8-1.
That’s all, folks.
Ribchester 3.35 win @ evens
Zelzal 3.35 e/w @ 10-1
Golden Doyen 1.50 e/w @ 10-1
Denmead 1.50 e/w @ 16-1
On To Victory 2.25 e/w @ 5-1
White Chocolate 4.45 e/w @ 5-1
Three Duchesses 4.45 e/w @ 8-1