Dee Ex Bee set to bounce back at Goodwood
On the face of it, a four-runner race should be fairly easy to figure out as there's less homework to do on each horse. But finding the likely winner of a race is one thing, making a long-term profit backing them is another. To do that, you've to try find ones which are a bigger price than they should be, which is no easy task.
In fairness to punters, the collective wisdom isn't too far off and the clear favourite in four-runner Flat races has a strike-rate of 52pc. Interestingly, while a loss was shown backing such horses in non-handicaps over the last ten years, they broke even in handicaps.
The Group Three Qatar Gordon Stakes (3.0 Goodwood) is a non-handicap obviously, but I reckon Dee Ex Bee might be one of the profitable ones to back in this four-runner contest at 13/8.
Improvement A full 8lbs clear of nearest rival Cross Counter on official ratings, Mark Johnston's colt is the class act in the field although I do concede he's got less room for improvement than his rivals.
Second to Masar in the Epsom Derby, he flopped in the Irish equivalent, although the fast ground probably played a big part in that. The ground could be quite fast again here which is a worry, but he should still have enough in hand to overcome the conditions.
He improved a bit on his Irish Derby run when third to Kew Gardens in the Group One Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, and the long-term plan is to tackle the St Leger in September.
Sun Maiden is an interesting entry for Sir Michael Stoute. She was third in a Group Two at Royal Ascot which is a decent piece of form, and should have more to come. Cross Counter is also improving for Charlie Appleby although he's yet to race at this level. It will be a useful way to measure where he's at right now.
James Fanshawe's outsider Bombyx is quite promising but has also never raced at this level. An easy winner of a minor event at Doncaster last time, he's got a lot to make up on all known form.
At Galway, Kilcarry Bridge will most likely go off as a big-priced outsider in the Grade B Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle (4.45) but with a bit of luck in-running in a large field, John Ryan's gelding could spring a surprise and land a place so I'm backing him each-way.
Bar one hurdle race in April in which he was disappointing, he's been racing in chases lately but he was very useful over the smaller obstacles last year and won a number of high-quality handicaps. The assessor has dropped him a couple of pounds in the ratings following that April contest, meaning he's somewhere in the middle of the weights today, and you just never know what will happen in a fairly open race.
Willie Mullins supplies eight of the 20 runners and Ruby Walsh has opted for the five-year-old mare Shanning.
A previous winner in France and now a two-time winner for Mullins including a race over this course and distance in October, she's been given an opening rating of 126 which could be lenient.
Another one to watch is Henry de Bromhead's Killiney Court, rated 122. Waterford native Dylan Robinson claims 3lbs on the nine-year-old, which won a handicap hurdle in fine style off 112 in Downpatrick in June. He's clearly got talent, and it will be interesting to see if the handicapper has caught up.
Also at Galway, I'm quite keen on Hyperdrive around 9/2 for the O'Leary Insurances Maiden Hurdle (5.20) following a good second on his hurdle debut at Ballinrobe recently.
I was surprised to see Solar Flair chalked up as high as 25/1 in the early markets yesterday for the Unibet Stewards' Cup Handicap at Goodwood (3.40), making him a very good each-way selection.
Trained by William Knight, a rating of 102 was a bit high last time and he finished fourth of seven in a Chelmsford handicap, but that came on the back of a career best when winning a handicap at Newcastle off 97.
While he does perform best on the all-weather, a rating of 92 today leaves him in with every chance and I suspect he'll run better than those odds suggest.
2.05 Newmarket: Melodic Motion
3.0 Goodwood: Dee Ex Bee
3.40 Goodwood: Solar Flair (e/w)
4.45 Galway: Kilcarry Bridge (e/w)
5.20 Galway: Hyperdrive
Do the double
GAELIC FOOTBALL: The hurling has proved far more entertaining than the football this year, and last weekend’s action was fantastic. However, we might have a couple of decent football matches left in the championship, and I reckon Donegal and Tyrone will be close. The sides look evenly matched, but home advantage should give Declan Bonner and Donegal the edge at 5/4.
RACING: Trained by Ralph Beckett, Melodic Motion was poor in a Listed race at Newmarket last time, but she was badly hampered and that piece of form can be crossed out. The Nathaniel filly ran well in some Group contests last year, and should make her presence felt in the Listed British Stallions Studs EBF Chalice Stakes this afternoon at Newmarket (2.05). Early odds of 5/1 seem generous.