Glorious Frankel set to enthral the galleries
ENGLISH racing might justifiably be feeling a little unloved at the moment -- the announcement on Friday that two racecourses will close at the end of the year will have added to that -- and thus far it has put up limp resistance to the Olympics.
However, five days on the South Downs at Glorious Goodwood and the prospect of the sport's own world champion, Frankel, running in tomorrow's Qipco Sussex Stakes should provide some sort of antidote for those racing enthusiasts who have not fully succumbed to Olympic fever, or even foreign visitors looking for a day out of London.
For whatever the allure of the Excel Centre, it is nothing compared to the old-world charm of Goodwood.
An above-average crowd -- 25,000 compared to 21,000 -- but one which will not include his convalescing trainer, Henry Cecil, is expected to turn out to see Frankel, which will face just three rivals, one of which is his pacemaker, in what is expected to be his swansong over a mile.
That is tomorrow, though. Today, Frankel's younger brother, Noble Mission, puts his St Leger credentials on the line in as good a bet365 Gordon Stakes as there has been for a long time.
In recent years Commanche Run (1984), Minster Son (1988), Nedawi (1998), Millenary (2000), Sixties Icon (2006) and Conduit (2008) have all won the Gordon before going on to triumph in the final Classic at Doncaster in September.
Two years ago, Arctic Cosmos was a fast-finishing third to Rebel Soldier when failing to handle the unique undulations of Goodwood, before going on to give John Gosden a third -- and William Buick his first -- Leger winner. Today, the in-form trainer-jockey combination run the rapidly improving Michelangelo and the trainer has had this trial earmarked for the lightly raced son of Galileo since he won the Cocked Hat Stakes here in May.
Ironically, Michelangelo could still cement his position as the biggest threat to Camelot at Doncaster without winning today because, on the book, he faces a very stern test against the German runner, Girolamo, which should be highly respected coming from the Danedream team of Peter Schiergen and Andrasch Starke.
The German Derby form was franked in no uncertain terms last Sunday when Pastorius, which beat Girolamo by just over half a length in Hamburg in what was regarded on the day as a 25/1 fluke victory, won a Group One in Munich by eight lengths and Schiergen has proved many times before that he does not bring horses here unless they are worth their place.
Michelangelo has many attributes but, as yet, solid Group One form is not among them.
Cecil can strike a blow with Chachamaidee in the bet365 Lennox Stakes.
The mare won the Oak Tree Stakes here last year and was just outstayed by Joviality in the Windsor Forest at Ascot last month, but seven furlongs appears her best trip and she can beat Libranno.
Richard Hughes has been leading jockey at the meeting for the past two years with five and nine winners and is the 6/4 favourite to complete the hat-trick on the basis that trainer Richard Hannon always seems to do well at Goodwood, and at this meeting in particular.
Hughes appears to face stiffest competition from Ryan Moore, who won it three years ago, and Buick, who was just touched off by Moore at Royal Ascot and is looking for his first leading-jockey award at a festival. (© Daily Telegraph, London)