Final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, with the highlight at 3.35 when 26 thoroughbreds thunder down the straight six furlongs in the Qatar Stewards Cup Handicap. Given t he nature of the race, you will quickly realise that the headline is a ‘Stewards Enquiry’.
(“Cut the weak jokes and get on with it” Ed.)
With the ground drying out by the minute and thus negating the effects of the draw, it makes sense to pick one drawn low and one drawn high, so that’s what we’ll do.
We’ll begin with the ‘handicap blot’, or Sir Dancealot as he’s better known. As this is an early closing race, this David Elsworth trained 3-y-o is officially 9lbs ‘well in’, having finished second in the Bunbury Cup 3 weeks ago and, with Ryan Moore booked this is the ‘high’ selection, each way, at 6-1.
On t’other side of the track is the Northern trained Al Qahwa, which is lightly raced, in form and drawn 9, so at 14-1 we like this for the ‘low’.
Be advised that this race is probably not suitable for large stakes and check the place terms with your bookmaker – you will get at least the first five, but some are first six and Skybet are first seven.
The card begins with the Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap, which is the consolation race for the big ‘un and has just 17 runners and therefore is, er, just as difficult. Let’s go two against the field again with Scorching Heat at 6-1 and Rasheeq at 12-1 our picks.
There is some more serious racing also taking place and the Qatar Summer Handicap at 2.25 over 1m 6f brings us to our next bet. The meeting sponsors got on the scoresheet yesterday when our selection Al Jazi won easily and they may repeat the dose in this race with the Sir Michael trained Shraaoh. (easy for you to say)
Some rude things have been said about this horse in the past and it has been a beaten favourite almost every time it runs, but it just may be that the horse has taken longer to mature than expected and the addition of minor head-gear today might do the trick. Favourite yet again today, it’s still a decent e/w price and we recommended a fair punt at 6-1.
The Group 3 Qatar Gordon Stakes at 3.00 sees a rematch between Khalidi and Crystal Ocean and we expect that the Sir Michael trained, Ryan Moore ridden Crystal will come out on top this time. Not a huge price at 7-4, but, as the saying goes, ‘a winner is etc etc’.
The festivities end with the Qatar Apprentice Handicap at 5.20 and Karl Burke’s 3-y-o Born To Be Alive should be backed to follow up its maiden win with a victory on handicap debut. 3-1 is the price available.
Finally, a small each way bet on old Goodwood faithful Balmoral Castle at 20-1 is also advised. Winner of this race in 2015 and four from seven over CD, the old boy will be well ridden by Pierre-Louis Jamin, who is clearly a Bob Marley fan. (For younger readers, an explanation is available on request)
Sir Dancealot 3.35 small e/w @ 6-1 Skybet (7 places)
Al Qahwa 3.35 small e/w @ 14-1 Paddy Power (6 places)
Scorching Heat 1.50 small e/w @ 6-1 Ladbrokes (5 places)
Rasheeq 1.50 small e/w @ 12-1 Coral (5 places)
Shraaoh 2.25 e/w @ 6-1 Paddy Power (4 places)
Crystal Ocean 3.00 win @ 7-4 Betfred
Born To Be Alive 5.20 win @ 3-1 SkyBet
Balmoral Castle 5.20 e/w @ 20-1 bet365