Thursday, 30th July 2020
Hitting the woodwork can become a habit – and I’m in the grip of it at the moment….
In the fortnight ahead of this week’s Glorious meeting at Goodwood I found placers in the Betfred Heritage Handicap, the Bunbury Cup, the John Smith’s Cup, and the International Stakes….
Yesterday Rochester House got touched off in the shadow of the post in the 2m4f handicap at Goodwood….
It’s frustrating to say the least. If you’re one of those punters who follow me in, you’ll know what I mean….
Placers can have you tearing your hair out. Especially when you don’t back them to place – I generally don’t unless they’re 20s or bigger….
But placers are also a sign that my thinking isn’t a million miles away. It doesn’t help the wallet. I know that. But it is compensation of sorts. For me at least….
I have no option but to move on – with gritted teeth or not….
The 3yos take centre stage on Day 3 (today) in the 10f handicap. If you missed my advice for that race, catch up here….
My attention is already focused on Day 4 (Friday) and the Golden Mile – where a field of 15 goes to post over the 8f trip….
I’m always 24-hours ahead of the pack at the big meetings. I get my money down early in the big handicaps – in the hope of getting the best of the prices….
It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes I get it totally wrong and I find myself on a big drifter. But, more often than not, going out early means I get the pick of the crop….
As with Rochester House, for example. I got on him at 14s 24-hours ahead of time. He was sent off at 6s….
Of course, he wasn’t quite good enough on the day. But that’s not the point. I got the best of what was going because I got myself sorted out early doors….
It’s not a normal Golden Mile this year….
For a start, there are fewer runners than normal. Fifteen runners represent the smallest field to go to post in the last 18-years – which is as far back as my personal race records go….
The tried and tested ways won’t work either….
In a normal year, savvy punters might start out on this race with a look at the 3yo runners with three-figure official ratings. The last 20 of those produced 4 winners and 6 placers – with some half-decent prices built in….
But this field-splitting method won’t work the magic this year. There are no 3yos in the field this time around – three-figure rated or not….
And I’ll tell you something else. There aren’t too many seasonal winners going to post. Just four of the 15 have gone in this term to date. More runners come into the race on the downgrade than on the upgrade….
Nobody knows what horse is going to win any given handicap – not for sure. Anybody who tells you they do is deluded….
Big handicaps were invented by the devil himself for no other purpose but to make a fool out of any man who believes himself capable of proving otherwise….
Let me tell you now – categorically and unequivocally – I do not know which horse will win tomorrow’s Golden Mile. But – I do think I can tell you what will be in front at the turn for home….
The draw is crucial around the bends at Goodwood. And that’s especially so over 7f and 8f where the turn for home looms up very swiftly….
Go forward horses on the inside are at an obvious advantage. Those trapped out wide have so much more ground to cover to get on terms and to stay on terms….
Here’s how the draw looks tomorrow in the Golden Mile along with the preferred running style of each horse (L = Lead; P = Prominent; M = Midfield; H = Hold-up).
You will see that there is no out-and-out front running lead horse going to post tomorrow. But both Vale Of Kent and Cardsharp like to race prominently and are berthed in low stalls that will enable them to get to the head of the field swiftly and control the pace to the turn for home….
We’ve seen a couple of Johnston horses try to run the race out of the rest from the front this week. Silvestre De Sousa won that way on Maydanny on Day 1 and almost did it again on Rochester House yesterday….
Joe Fanning and William Buick will no doubt try to dictate from the front tomorrow. It is up to the others to do what they can to make that plan fall through….
Some jockeys are better round the Goodwood bends than others. It’s useful to know which jockeys fall into which category….
The table below shows the performance of tomorrow’s riders in races of 12+ runners round the Goodwood bends at C4 level or better (handicap or non-handicap) since 2009 – ordered by total place percentage....
The figures suggest that Mark Johnston has the best men for the job tomorrow….
Of course, a good part of their respective good records owes something to Johnston horses. His horses go well at the track consistently and have done for years….
It’s a case of trainer, horse, style of running, track and jockey coming together in harmony and everybody looking good as a result. You can never back Johnston blind with any sense of certainty. But you can never overlook him at Goodwood either….
Expect both Cardsharp and Vale Of Kent to go well. And don’t discount Blown By Wind in stall 14. It would be just like Johnston to win with that one!
There is no end of data and information to look at. And I can’t all include it all here. You wouldn’t want me to….
Whatever you look at though, the time comes when you need to make a decision….
I’m going to give CARDSHARP another crack at the general 14s. I’ve got a theory and – if I’m right – that’s a nice price….
I backed the 5yo in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket where he ran a shocker before bouncing back to form at Ascot last time under Adam Kirby….
The first thing to note about this horse is that he is 10lb shy of his pomp rating and he’s 6lb under his last winning mark. He is potentially very well treated on a going day….
You can never be sure with Johnston horses whether or not a going day is on the cards. But the horse has shown enough in snatches this term to suggest he is good enough if he fires….
The doubt the market has is his ability to stay a mile. He’s had several goes and pretty much failed every time….
But he hasn’t really had a crack at the trip around a bend and if he can conserve energy early doors tomorrow and get them on a go-slow first couple of furlongs then he could well be a proper handful in the straight. William Buick is a good man for the job. That’s how I see it….
Nick’s contrarian picks….
To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….
In the Golden Mile (2.45 @ Goodwood).
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for now....
I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on Day 5 at Glorious Goodwood….