Saturday at Goodwood for some people is pure heaven. Big field sprint handicaps everywhere you look.
As with all big sprint races, the draw is going to be crucial in order to finding a horse that has the potential to run well.
Having watched every race run at Goodwood this week, it’s clear that the golden highway is against the far rail – as shown perfectly by Ryan Moore aboard Master The World on Friday and the first four home in the Group sprint won so impressively by Battaash.
Being drawn low looks to be a big advantage for Saturday’s two big sprint handicaps.
Age is only a number and it’s worth bearing that in mind if you’re keen on the chances of HOOF IT – like I am at 25/1 – in the Qatar Stewards Cup at 3:00.
This horse is a remarkable campaigner who always seems to be bordering on being well handicapped.
He showed last season at the age of nine that he still carries plenty of ability when winning the consolation off just 3lbs lower than gets in off today.
It’s frightening to think that in 2011 he was winning this race by over two lengths off a mark of 111.
The roof would be lifted off Goodwood if he could get involved again – and he has the draw from four and the course form in the book to justify that faith.
His run at Hamilton would have blown the cobwebs away with this race surely being his main aim of the season. Go well, old boy.
In the Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap at 1:50, it’s hard to get away from the chances of the Andrew Balding-trained SCORCHING HEAT, who runs of the same mark of 84 from which he was denied last weekend at Newmarket.
That effort was a huge performance. Racing up with the pace, the selection had to make his own running – hardly an ideal situation – but still led his rivals a merry dance before only getting nabbed late by The Feathered Nest.
The quick turnaround is a bit of a worry, but the ground and draw are very much in his favour. Even around the 7/1 mark, he rates as a very strong wager.
The Qatar Summer Handicap is less reliant on the draw as it’s over the 1m6f trip.
The horse to keep a close eye on and back in PLATITUDE, who has the course form in the book off a mark of 105 to make a big bid for glory.
He was shockingly impressive when landing a Listed contest at Goodwood last season and if you had told me then you’d be getting 8/1 on him off his current mark 12 months later, I would have laughed in your face.
But that’s the reality. He’ll run a big race under Andrea Atzeni.
1:50 Scorching Heat 7/1
2:25 Platitude 8/1
3:35 Hoof It 25/1