Wednesday’s best bets, by Chris Cook
Steve Cauthen once said of the start of the season, all your geese are swans just now, and that’s how it is for a punter on a summer’s morning like this one. You make your picks for Goodwood and Galway, read some previews, look at the odds, find out what others have plumped for. Some of it makes you feel even more excited about your own fancies…
Yesterday, I hope you shared with me just about the sweetest experience Goodwood has to offer, when Sir Dancealot got up on the line after it seemed for all the world that he’d left it too late and had met too much trouble. If you didn’t see it, think Roger Moore in Octopussy, flailing his way through a scrum of clowns to defuse the bomb at the last possible moment, but with an Ian Bartlett commentary.
Opposing Stradivarius was not profitable but I’m still happy to take on another John Gosden favourite today. Without Parole goes into the Sussex Stakes unbeaten but he’s only had one try at the highest level and the form of the St James’s Palace Stakes is less than compelling; for a start, it was the closest Gustav Klimt has come to winning a race in his last four starts.
I generally think of the Racing Post’s Newmarket man as being conservative in his approach, so it’s pretty interesting to see that he’s not just tipped against Without Parole, he’s actually napped Expert Eye (3.35) to win the race at 7-2 and I’m very happy to find myself on the same side of the fence. Sir Michael Stoute’s charge bolted up in the Jersey in the style of a horse who is a lot better than he had been showing earlier in the season, when temperament undermined his efforts.
Supposedly, he’s calmed down a bit and I have my fingers crossed that he stays cool through the preliminaries. Beat The Bank is tempting, from the same yard that caused an upset last year, but I still have a memory of how flashy Expert Eye looked in the Vintage at Glorious Goodwood last year and hope to see something similar.
The nap is Making Miracles (2.25), running in a middle-distance handicap that Mark Johnston has won four times in 10 years. He wasn’t suited by the way his race panned out at Royal Ascot but won his other two recent starts, including a Haydock contest that was rather more valuable than this one. He’s 9-2.
There’s been some interest in the 8-1 shot Imphal (1.50) in the marathon that opens the card. Hayley Turner takes over in the saddle from a 7lb claimer on this Marcus Tregoning runner who included a win here among his four-in-a-row last summer. He met trouble in running last time, one of several efforts that suggested today’s extra half-mile could help.
I shall let the Molecomb sail over my head. The 5-2 about Soldier’s Call is short enough and Royal Ascot winners have apparently not followed up in this race since 1993.
A case can be made for Mazyoun (5.55) at 20-1 in the last, the soft ground having been against him when he ran in midfield here last year. He has excuses for his two efforts this year and James Doyle returns to the saddle, the pair having won on their last two starts together.
The Galway Plate is not the most appealing handicap chase of the year, for me, but I feel like supporting Tully East (7.20), who needs a decent surface and has struggled to find it since scoring at the Cheltenham Festival last year. He went well to the third-last in the BetVictor in November, when the effect of that day’s monsoon took its toll, and I feel sure he’ll go well again here at 12-1.