Tanya Stevenson reckons Goodwood’s big-race line-up for next week is an embarrassment of riches.
The Channel 4 Racing betting guru cannot believe the quality and quantity of entries for the Qatar Goodwood Festival’s Group races and big handicaps and says race-goers are in for five days of top-class action.
She will again be part of the Channel 4 Racing covering the meeting and showing at least four races live each day and can’t wait for one of the flat season’s best weeks to begin.
Speaking ahead of any final cut-off points which will see race fields whittled down, Stevenson has again shared with Observer readers some of her ones to watch.
In the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, she believes the top trio of three-year-olds, Galileo Gold, The Gurkha and Awtaad could have a memorable battle and feels Roger Varian’s Belardo – second to Tepin in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot – is the big danger to them from the older horses.
“Galileo Gold ought to win – he has everything going for him and is a course winner. But he won’t get such an easy lead and if those three three-year-olds are trying to outmanoreuvre each other, Belardo could pounce. I’d be wary of him - he has immense ability.”
The other Group 1 race is Saturday’s £600,000 Qatar Nassau Stakes and Stevenson says if Aidan O’Brien runs Minding, it’s hers to lose.
“She’s the kind of filly that people will go to a racecourse just to say they’ve seen her – it will be a treat if she runs,” she said.
“But The Black Princess (John Gosden) ran a corker of a race at Goodwood in May and did the same in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. John (Gosden) also has persuasive and he loves this race – he could easily have a 1-2-3.”
Stevenson said Tuesday’s Group 2 Qatar Lennox Stakes was a Group 1 race in all but name because it has attracted the likes of Lumiere, Home of The Brave, Toormore and Dutch Connection.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good Lennox line-up,” she said. “Lumiere was phenomenal at Newmarket the other week. Home of the Brave is Hugo Palmer’s horse so he will be eyeing a nice double with that one and Galileo Gold.”
Stevenson expects another battle royale between top stayers Big Orange and Trip To Paris in the Qatar Goodwood Cup, last year’s winner and runner-up.
Friday’s two feature contests are the Betfred Mile and the Qatar King George Stakes. Stevenson said: “If Franklin D turns up for the Mile with James McDonald on board and gets a low draw, I’d look to side with him.
“And I’d be intrigued if Sir Mark Prescott was to run Celestial Path – very talented as a two-year-old two years ago.
“In the King George, Profitable, a brilliant winner at Royal Ascot, is a stand-out entry. Magical Memory is in there and you can never rule out past Goodwood winners. And fast ground could suit Robert Cowell’s Goldream.”
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup will have 28 runners and at this stage still has more than 100 hopefuls but Stevenson says Toofi, Golden Steps, Brando and Orion’s Bow are worth keeping an eye on and for those liking bigger odds in the cavalry charge, Irish entry G Force is an interesting one.
Stevenson expects Goodwood specialist Richard Hannon to have success during the week - quite possibly including with Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes - and hopes Richard Hughes gets in the winners’ enclosure in his first year as a trainer.
Any two-year-olds sired by Frankel will be a worth a watch, she says. “It’s very rare for a horse to be a legend of the racetrack and be the same to their progeny, but it’s certainly proving that way so far.”
* Stevenson will be giving daily tips for every race on our website - www.chicheter.co.uk. Joining her will be Goodwood bosses Adam Waterworth and Alex Eade, Coral PR guru Dave Stevens and Observer sports editor Steve Bone. The winner will receive £100 from Coral to give to a racing charity of their choice.
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