Home Of The Brave can give Palmer a flying start
Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30
In the old days, successful trainers with young families bought holiday cottages in places along the south coast of England such as West Wittering; handy for both Glorious Goodwood and the beach.
However, investments are more likely to be on a lesser scale this week at a course where having the best horse has never been a guarantee of a winner.
The best system at Goodwood in the past five years has been backing Mark Johnston's runners blind, so often does he win with a horse perceived to be his third or fourth string in a big-runner handicap. And you could have improved upon it still further by cutting out his two-year-olds.
But, though well represented in the handicaps, the Middleham trainer has nothing for either of the Group races on the opening day of this Qatar Goodwood Festival.
The Qatar Lennox Stakes is a popular destination for horses that are neither quite Group One sprinters nor Sussex Stakes material over a mile.
It looks a good opportunity for Hugo Palmer to open his account for the week courtesy of the Godolphin-owned Home Of The Brave.
He is a solid four-year-old, which has won both starts this season, is a specialist at seven furlongs and, having performed respectably at Group One level last season, seems more than ready for this step back up in class after his hard-fought Jury Stakes win at Haydock.
The runner-up there, Convey, won at Pontefract last Sunday, while the third, So Beloved, has been lobbed into the Sussex Stakes.
Dutch Connection looks the danger and put two average runs behind him when runner-up in the Summer Mile recently. The Charlie Hills-trained colt, winner of the Jersey Stakes last year, will appreciate the ground.
Ryan Moore is 4/6 to be leading jockey this week. He has been selective with his rides today, taking only three, but the Aidan O'Brien-trained War Decree will be a warm order in the Qatar Vintage Stakes - a race which has pinpointed future stars Galileo Gold, Highland Reel, Sir Percy and Shamardal in the recent past.
War Decree was beaten by three-quarters of a length by Godolphin's Boynton at Newmarket last time and Boynton's 3lb penalty suggests, on the book, that War Decree should gain revenge.
Boynton is already a course-and-distance winner, which is a nice little advantage to have on this undulating course. However, Richard Hannon's first-time-out winners should always be respected and Larchmont Lad - very impressive at Sandown on his debut - can beat them both in a race his father Richard Snr won four years on the bounce before his retirement.
Tomorrow's £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes has always attracted the best milers, but not always in numbers. However, ten are due to go to post, including the English, Irish and French Guineas winners Galileo Gold, The Gurkha and Awtaad, which were also the first three home in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot last month. The three-year-olds look like holding sway.
One of their rivals is Toormore, which has never been out of the first two in three starts at Glorious Goodwood.
Another is the seven-year-old Gabrial, one of the few horses still going to have raced against Frankel, which will be having his third start in the race and the 46th of his career.