Thursday 23 November 2017

Lightning looks set to strike big at Goodwood

Lightning Spear finishing third in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot behind Tepin and Belardo. Photo:
Lightning Spear finishing third in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot behind Tepin and Belardo. Photo:

Wayne Bailey

Having just spent the best part of two weeks in Ontario, where off-course betting is largely illegal, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the cards today and having a good battle with the old enemy.

Although no top races are scheduled for today, there's some reasonably good fare across Goodwood and Windsor, including some Group contests.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time on our Canadian trip and I didn't get to visit Woodbine racecourse in Toronto - although any time I've had a bet on North American racing it's turned out disastrously, so I probably saved myself a few bob.

I did get to take in a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game, which was a great spectacle, and I'd imagine that the sport lends itself well to betting, especially in-play trading as there are lots of ups and downs in the scoring and the direction of the game can change quite quickly.

A trip up the 1500ft CN Tower for a walk on the glass floor was terrifying for a bloke who is afraid of heights, and I'm told the structure gets hit by lightning up to 80 times per year.


Talk about lightning brings me back to today's racing where I'm surprised to see David Simcock's Lightning Spear trade as one of the outsiders at 6/1 in the five-runner Group Two Doom Bar Celebration Mile at Goodwood (4.30).

Michael Stoute's Thikriyaat will probably go off as favourite around 15/8 largely based on a Group Three win at Goodwood last time and while he has strong claims, it's not as easy as it looks to step up in class from that level and those odds look a little skinny to me.

Zonderland, which won the Group Three Sovereign Stakes last time, should also be popular from the Clive Cox yard, although he tends to struggle when he races beyond that level.

Lightning Spear began his career with four straight wins in 2015 and although he hasn't won in seven races since, he was better than even when third in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot behind Tepin and Belardo.

On that piece of form, he's entitled to go close today and his subsequent sixth place in the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is overlooked as he never got into any sort of rhythm and Oisin Murphy left it too late to make a move.

It's hard to know what to make of his ninth place in a Group One at Deauville last time, but a step down in class back on home soil should give him every chance.

Toormore is also worth a mention around 9/2. Fourth in the Sussex Stakes last time, he's got some good form at this level but he's racing under a penalty today, which doesn't help his cause.

A little earlier on the same card, Kilmah is tipped around 3/1 in the Group Three Fillies' Prestige Stakes (2.45). Mark Johnston's charge got off the mark in her first race at Newmarket in May, and the fact that she's only raced in Group company since (albeit without winning) shows that Johnston believes she has potential.

Fourth in a Group Two at Newmarket and second in Group Three at Ascot, she put in a below-par effort in a Group Two at York last time, but I'm willing to overlook that race as she broke badly from the stalls and couldn't get into her preferred position near the head of the pack.

Grecian Light beat a number of these when second in the Sweet Solera Stakes last time out and should be popular in the betting around 9/4. Described by Charlie Appleby as a straightforward filly, she previously won a maiden at Newmarket and looks quite promising.

This evening at Windsor, Foundation is worth a punt around 5/2 in the Group Three Winter Hill Stakes (6.0) for John Gosden under Robert Halvin.

As a juvenile, he won three races out of four, and hopes were quite high that he'd become a top horse so it would be fair to describe his three-year-old campaign as a disappointment with no wins in four attempts.

There have been a few glimmers of hope, such as his third place to Wings Of Desire and Deauville in the Dante at York, and although I opposed him in a Group Three at Haydock last time, this race looks wide open.

Fire Fighting beat a number of today's Sri Lanka August Stakes rivals (6.35 Windsor) recently at Newmarket and a forecast price of 6/1 seems quite fair.

Mark Johnston's gelding has won some decent handicaps in his time and should be able to go close at this level although he has had a busy season so my main concerns relate to his fitness.

Second Step is the obvious danger but I usually worry when I see a horse in blinkers for the first time and 5/2 seems short.


With 20 runners going to post, the Goodwood Revival Stakes Handicap (3.20) could be a tough race to crack, although there seems to be some good value out there with a number of decent horses priced in double figures.

The favourite in the early markets, Certificate, looks a little short around 5/1 as he carries an extra 6lbs for his recent win at Doncaster. Rex Imperator is also coming in for some support although most of his best form comes at 6f.

Available at 25/1 yesterday evening, Richard Fahey's Farlow ticks the right boxes for me under jockey Jimmy Fortune. Rated 96, the eight-year-old was fourth in this race last year off a mark of 101, and although he hasn't set the world alight this season, the handicapper has taken action and he's now down to a more realistic level.

The most recent each-way selection, Nameitwhatyoulike, won at 16/1 (August 13)


2.45 Goodwood: Kilmah

3.10 Beverley: Muthmir

3.20 Goodwood: Farlow (e/w)

4.30 Goodwood: Lightning Spear

6.0 Windsor: Foundation

6.35 Windsor: Fire Fighting

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