And so it begins. Five days of Glorious Goodwood action, with the weather set fair, at least for the opening day.

Centrepiece on today’s card is at 3.35, when the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes takes place, with the admirable Big Orange going for an unprecedented consecutive three-peat and favourite to do so in all books at even money.

With the ground drying out nicely this morning, confidence is building in the Michael Bell camp that the ‘people’s horse’ can pull it off under the guidance of the Mad Italian. Sometimes the obvious bet is the right bet, so we make no excuses for recommending a win bet on this gutsy 6-y-o and then watch it make every yard.

It would be very remiss, however, to desert our old friend Sheikhzayedroad, even though he is getting a bit sick of seeing Big Orange’s rear end at the finish. A close third in this race last year, the easier going may well bring them even closer together this afternoon, so an each way bet at 12-1 is advised.

The Qatar Lennox Stakes at 3.00, a Group 2 over 7 furlongs sees a re-match between last year’s one-two, Dutch Connection and Home Of The Brave but this year’s renewal looks a hotter contest, with Group 1 form well in evidence.

This race also sees a re-match between Limato and Librisa Breeze after their joust in the Diamond Jubilee Cup, when they finished 3rd and 4 and these two dominate the betting market. However, with the ground likely to be softer than Limato would like and  Librisa Breeze having been handed trap 14, we think that the Jubilee’s 8th may come out on top. Acclaim, trained by the very much in-form Martin Meade, is a perfect 2 from 2 over 7 furlongs, had a troubled run last time and will appreciate the prevailing ground. Drawn 2 and with Signor You-know-who aboard, an each way punt at 12-1 is the recommendation.

Also in this race, the 3-y-o Godolphin colt Dream Castle is also worth backing each way at 10-1. An unlucky 5th in the Guineas, this son of Frankel’s second to Barney Roy in April is looking much better now and, from a good draw, Oisin Murphy can choose when to attack.

The Qatar Vintage Stakes is the other Group race on the card at 2.25 and the bookmakers have it as a match between Expert Eye and Seehenge, trained by Sir Michael and Aiden O’B respectively. The market may have it right, but with just one race each to go on, we’d rather go each way on two proven performers.

Zaman and James Garfield are the two beasts in question and can both be backed at 10-1, so that’s what we’ll do.

Handicaps top and tail the card and the opening Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap at 1.50 could well be between the first two in the market, so a win bet on Garcia at 9-2 and an e/w bet on UAE Prince at 15-2 should have it covered.

The day ends with the (deep breath) Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Fillies Handicap at 5.15 and although Tribute Act is probably a worthy favourite at 9-4, we are going to advise a small each way bash at Angel’s Quest at a working person’s 33-1.

Happy punting.

Bets Summary:

Big Orange 3.35 win @ evens
Sheikhzayedroad 3.35 e/w @ 12-1
Acclaim 3.00 e/w @ 12-1
Dream Castle 3.00 e/w @ 10-1
James Garfield 2.25 e/w @ 10-1
Zaman 2.25 e/w @ 10-1
Garcia 1.50 win @ 9-2
UAE Prince 1.50 e/w @ 15-2
Angel’s Quest 5.15 e/w @ 33-1



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