IT’S time for TIMOSHENKO in the Unibet Goodwood Handicap. He hasn’t run for nearly a year but that doesn’t bother me with his trainer Sir Mark Prescott banging in the winners.
My fancy was hugely progressive last season. He won all five of his races and he signed off with a defeat of useful stayer Austrian School at Musselburgh. This thorough test of stamina should suit him well and he still looks nicely treated.
Smart staying hurdler Lil Rockerfeller bolted up by 15 lengths in this race 12 months ago when having his first Flat run for more than three years. He’s not been seen on the Flat since and he’s shot up a whopping 17lbs in the handicap. That’s a hefty anchor.
Dubawi Fifty ran a screamer when beaten a head in the Northumberland Plate on his first run for more than a year. He does go well when fresh but he has backed it up in the past so there’s no reason to think he won’t go well with this extreme test right up his street.
Mancini is another who stays marathon trips really well. He made most of the running when successful over 2m at York a couple of weeks ago but he’s unlikely to get an easy time of it in front with plenty of competition for the pace-setting role.
Recent hurdles winner The Cashel Man might be a bit too high in the weights but he’s not been with Nicky Henderson long. He wouldn’t be the first horse to have improved for switching to the former champion jumps trainer.
MARK JOHNSTON has won the Unibet Handicap three times in the last seven years and his SIR RON PRIESTLEY looks just the right type for this 1m4f contest. My fancy scooted home at Ripon before winning on his handicap debut at Haydock.
His Royal Ascot run when among the backmarkers in the King George V Handicap was too bad to be true so it was good to see him bounce back when seeing off stablemate Mind The Crack over 1m6f at Haydock.
That stamina is sure to be put to good use today and I would imagine he will be tried in Group races at some point. Mind The Crack didn’t appear to be suited by the return to 1m4f at Ascot last time but at least he should get a stronger gallop this time.
Johnston also runs Persian Moon. He’s yet to win this season but he has faced some stiff tasks. His fourth over today’s course-and-distance in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes in May reads well but he should really have done better when favoured by the weights at Hamilton a couple of weeks ago.
Kosciuszko is a likely improver now he steps up to 1m4f on his handicap debut. He looked likely to step forward for his first run since winning at Sandown in September when fifth over 1m2f at Newbury. Frankie Dettori should be able to get a nice position from
stall one so he looks a big danger.
Desert Icon, Durston and Dubai Tradition are others to keep an eye on in a red-hot handicap.
Templegate's Goodwood tips
- 1.50 Goodwood – Timoshenko (Bet now)
- 2.25 Goodwood – Sir Ron Priestly (nb) (Bet now)
- 3.00 Goodwood – Liberty Beach (Bet now)
- 3.35 Goodwood – Phoenix Of Spain (Bet now)
- 4.10 Goodwood – Mighty Spirit (treble) (Bet now)
- 4.45 Goodwood – Naqaawa (NAP) (Bet now)
- 5.15 Goodwood – Aljady (Bet now)
TAKE a Liberty in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes. LIBERTY BEACH has done little wrong in four starts. She started off with wins in the calmer waters of Redcar and Beverley but she certainly wasn’t out of place in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
After cruising through the early stages she stuck on well to finish fourth behind Raffle Prize. That effort was even better than the bare form as she was first home on the unfavoured far-side group.
She showed just how good she is when it’s a level playing field when bolting up in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown and he turn of pace will always be a potent weapon. Her experience is never a bad thing in a race like this and I fancy John Quinn’s filly to continue her progress with another win.
Wesley Ward’s US raider Maven was withdrawn from the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot before making most of the running to land a Chantilly Group 3. I’m not sure that’s the strongest form and he wouldn’t want it to rain overnight.
Dr Simpson’s debut second behind Lambeth Walk has worked out nicely and she couldn’t have won much easier at Chester last time. Her trainer Tom Dascombe won this with Kachy four years ago and he’s got another speedy youngster on his hands.
Hand On My Heart is bred to be a quick two-year-old and she made a nice debut when successful at Windsor. It’s not easy stepping up into a Group race after just one run but she did beat far-more experienced horses that day and she looks over-priced.
PHOENIX OF SPAIN is a hot bet in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. He’s got a bit of ground to make up with Circus Maximus and Too Darn Hot having finished behind that pair when only sixth in the St James’s Stakes.
That doesn’t put me off as I think there were valid reasons whey he wasn’t at his best at Royal Ascot. Trainer Charlie Hills hadn’t been able to get him to the 2000 Guineas and it was all a bit of a rush to make the Irish version.
He bolted up from the front at the Curragh with race-fit Too Darn Hot three lengths behind in second. Given Phoenix Of Spain had little more than three weeks to recover from that race it was no surprise he wasn’t at his best on fairly testing ground at Ascot.
It wasn’t that he ran appallingly – far from it. He just faded from a furlong out and I’m expecting him to be able to last a lot longer having since been given a nice break.
It was a little surprising Circus Maximus had the pace for a mile in the St James’s Palace. He had looked a bit of a grinder when landing the Dee Stakes at Chester before finishing sixth in the Derby. Maybe the soft ground made it more than a test than it looked so he’ll appreciate any rain.
Too Darn Hot was third that day having earlier finished runner-up in both the Dante and the Irish 2000 Guineas in quick succession.
He’s since bolted up in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville over 7f but he probably didn’t do any more than he was entitled to in France. This is a whole lot more competitive.
Lord Glitters finally grabbed his Group 1 when swooping late in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. He does like that track and he was only third in this race last year and this year’s contest looks far tougher.
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MIGHTY SPIRIT should get off the mark in the EBF Alice Keppel Stakes. She might not have been able to get her head in front yet but she’s run some stonking races.
Fortune hasn’t really smiled on her as she was badly drawn when runner-up in a York Listed race on her second start and she was also on the wrong side when sixth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. That was a fine effort as only Molecomb fancy Liberty Beach finished ahead of her in the group to race on the far side of the track.
It was disappointing to see her beaten at Hamilton but Richard Fahey’s youngster certainly bumped into a good ‘un that day as the winner, Living In The Past, went close in a Group 3 at Ascot on Saturday.
Perhaps she sat too close to a strong pace when third in the valuable Super Sprint at Newbury but that was still a sound effort. I’ve no doubt she’s up to this sort of level and she looks the one in a tricky race.
Flippa The Strippa was only half a length behind Mighty Spirit in the Queen Mary. That was a solid run and she might well have this set up for her as there’s a stack of potential frontrunners in the field. The thing that puts me off the most is the 3lbs penalty she’s picked up for landing Sandown’s Listed National Stakes back in May.
Mrs Bouquet has been progressing well through nurseries. Her defeat of Mighty Spirit’s stablemate Dylan De Vega wouldn’t be bad form but she won’t get such an easy time in front this time.
GO on a Naq attack. NAQAAWA won twice when trained by Owen Burrows last season and she looked to have improved over the winter when successful on her debut for William Haggas at Chelmsford earlier in the month.
There’s more to come from her and she could easily end up being better than a handicapper.
A wide draw is not ideal but there are so many runners inside her who will likely want to settle in rear James Doyle should be able to get across behind the leaders without too much trouble.
One of those pacesetters is likely to be Vivionn. That makes her a dangerous rival but she was brushed aside by Naqaawa despite setting a steady pace at Chelmsford.
Nearooz was desperately unlucky not to reel in Ocala at Chester a month ago having endured a troubled passage. She’s sure to win a nice prize at some point but the potential lack of pace is a big concern as she likes a bit of cover in the early stages.
Ocala is likely to bag a decent position again from stall one. That gives her place claims but she does look vulnerable to anything less exposed.
Thimbleweed makes a belated seasonal comeback over a distance well short of her best but Bubble And Squeak has a chance if things pan out for her.
Moment Of Hope is unbeaten in two all-weather starts but her sole turf run was a shocker. It would be wrong to draw too many conclusions from a single race but it does leave her with quastions to answer.
ALJADY should give hot apprentice Sean Davis a decent winner. I’ve been impressed with this young jockey – attached to Richard Fahey’s powerful yard – in recent months.
He’s picked up a decent ride for his boss in the big-field handicap on this unexposed four-year-old.
He won his first three races and was far from disgraced when sixth in this race 12 months ago. It was a decent effort to run so well against battle-hardened handicappers on just his fourth start.
He kicked off this term with a fine third over 6f at York but the ground might not have been ideal when well beaten at the same track last time. This is an open race but he could be better than this grade.
Blackheath came good with a strong late run at Leicester last time. He’s not had many races over today’s 7f trip and he might be capable of improvement.
Cliffs Of Capri looked like he might be running into form on his second start since returning from a spell in Dubai. He’s fairly treated on his best form. Leicester winner Lyndon B, Light And Dark and Chapelli are a trio of three-year-olds in with a shout.
2.25 Sir Ron Priestley (nb)
3.00 Liberty Beach
3.35 Phoenix Of Spain
4.10 Mighty Spirit (treble)
4.45 Naqaawa (nap)
6.20 Beechwood James
7.30 Always Fearless
8.40 Jazz Hands
2.00 Braid Blue
2.35 Little Stevie
3.45 Creadan Grae
4.55 Game Line
5.25 Saint Or Sinner
2.10 Macho Time
3.20 First Flight
3.55 Mina Vagante
5.00 Perfect Swiss
5.30 War Ensign
6.00 Ascot Week
5.35 Grab And Run
7.45 New Jazz