Glory awaits on the Sussex Downs
30 Jul 2018
We roll into Goodwood this week and from a jockey’s point of view it doesn’t get much better. It’s such a beautiful racecourse and the unique track makes it a real test of horsemanship. No two races are ever the same and you certainly have to keep your wits about you at all times.
Thankfully I come into the meeting in pretty good form, having had a successful Group one-winning trip to Germany yesterday; I hope I can keep the positive momentum rolling onto the Sussex Downs.
I kick off the Festival aboard the King Power-owned Pivoine in the opening ten-furlong handicap.
On the face of it his last run at Sandown was a little disappointing, but the tactics that day didn’t really suit him. We wound up a racing a little too close to the pace and we’ve since concluded that he’s more of a hold-up ride.
With that in mind, I’ll be looking to drop him out and ride him cold with the intention of using his one burst of acceleration late in the home straight. Goodwood is a track that’s notorious for its hard luck stories, so we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that he gets some help in running.
We then move up to Group Two company with the Qatar Vintage Stakes in which I ride Scat Daddy colt, Federal Law, for Archie Watson.
He’s a nice colt who’s done nothing wrong so far in his short career having followed up a promising debut at Newcastle with a gutsy win at Salisbury last time.
This is a big step up in class, but we think he’s a nice horse and will make a good miler in time. He’ll enjoy every yard of the seven-furlong trip and the likely quick conditions won’t be an issue at all.
Next up in the Lennox Stakes I ride an old ally, Donjuan Triumphant, for Andrew Balding. It looks a pretty deep renewal and realistically my lad has a bit to find on form with some of the market principals.
He’d have really appreciated a shower or two to soften the ground, but the dry forecast doesn’t seem to have gone his way.
The feature race of the day, the Qatar Goodwood Cup, sees a small but classy field of seven take centre stage.
While there are plenty of runners with interesting profiles, I think the Gold Cup winner Stradivarius will win this and win it well. He has the best form in the race and I think Goodwood with all its slow twists and turns will help his cause even more as the horse isn’t short of finishing pace.
What a finish as STRADIVARIUS wins the Gold Cup.
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) June 21, 2018
Torcedor will likely go from the front and try to turn it into a stamina test again, but I just think that the favourite will have too much class.
The race after I get to adorn the famous Sangster silks for Brian Meehan on two-year-old Napanook.
He’s a lovely big horse who’s run well in his three starts to date. That extra racecourse experience should give us an edge over many of his rivals, but we’re still a little watchful with him as we think he’s got a bit of growing to do into his frame.
He’s a nice horse in the making and whatever happens tomorrow he’ll be one to watch out for in the future.
My last ride of the day sees me partner Line of Reason in the sprint handicap over the flying five furlongs.
This will be his tenth race of the year, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was pretty exposed to the handicapper by now.
He’s a horse with bundles of talent, capable of mixing it with the very best on his day, so if he feels like putting his best foot forward then he’d have a massive shout.
A big positive is that his trainer Paul Midgely’s horses are in good form and he should absolutely love the faster conditions.
Horse To Follow: Showout
Archie Watson two-year-old by Showcasing – Won last time out at Hamilton at short odds and his latest piece of work suggests there’s still plenty to come from him. I’d fancy him to run well next time out in pattern company.