Early Bird – 31st July

1:50 Goodwood – Alfarris – 1pt e/w @ 7/1 WillHill, Paddy Power & Boylesport 1/5th odds 4 places

3:00 Goodwood – D’Bai – 1pt win @ 9/1 Bet365, Ladbrokes, WillHill, Coral & Betway

4:45 Goodwood – Dark Shot – 0.75pt e/w @ 14/1 Ladbrokes, Paddy Power & Boylesports 1/5th odds 4 places

7:40 Galway – Dream Walker – 0.75pt e/w @ 12/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 5 places

 

 

1:50 Goodwood – Alfarris – 1pt e/w @ 7/1 WillHill, Paddy and Boyle 1/5th odds 4 places

 

Lovely handicap to start Glorious Goodwood where Hamdan Al Maktoum has a great chance of beginning with a winner. The question is which one? With Afaak currently favourite with most bookmakers and Alfarris not far behind. Not much between them either, though I am siding with Alfarris for a few reasons which I will go in to. Firstly it is proven at the trip, a two time winner over this distance whilst has run creditably over further also. Afaak has yet to try this far and though ran really well over 1m 1f on good to soft last year, there is still a question to be answered over this far. Secondly, the Haggas yard has been in great form, operating at a 33% strike rate for the last 14 days and a 72% run to form rate. This compares with Charlie Hills, the trainer of Afaak who is 3/24 for the last 14 days with a 42% RTF. The most significant factor though could well come down to the jockey. Crowley is the retained rider for the Hamdan horses and he is riding Alfarris instead of Afaak. Interesting as he has ridden Afaak six of the last seven times it has run including the last four. This compares to just twice in the last six with Alfarris, though includes last time out. Not only that but jockeys like to ride better horses, win bigger races and therefore earn more money. When there is an option in a race they will often pick the better horse to maintain the partnership given the option in future to ride in a higher class of race. Therefore why has Crowley picked the horse that is rated 9lb lower? For me he must feel that this horse has a better chance of winning this race. It is often joked that jockeys make the worst tipsters, but they are in the best place to see what is going on in a yard and how the horses are working and so in this scenario I hope can be trusted. Factor number four is of course the price, Alfarris is the bigger price of the pair despite having more seemingly going for it. I wouldn’t be surprised come race time that the pair have flipped in price. You can’t ignore it on the form lines either. Alfarris was the last horse to beat Rainbow Rebel who has since won three on the bounce and competes again here. Just got a bit outpaced last time by a lightly raced Stoute horse, the stiffer finish of this track should be much more to its liking. It shouldn’t be out of the frame.

 

3:00 Goodwood – D’Bai – 1pt win @ 9/1 Bet365, Ladbrokes, WillHill, Coral & Betway

 

Another where I have the race between two and it is the price that is swinging me again. I have gone with D’Bai though I could easily have sided with Sir Dancealot who has won its last two races over 7f and holds D’Bai on a line through Larchmont Lad by 1 3/4 lengths. However there are reasons to be optimistic for D’Bai in this contest. Excluding 2yo days it is two from three over 7f and is pretty unexposed over the distance. Not disgraced when outpaced in the Diamond Jubilee finishing 6th of 12 when last seen. With form over further it should appreciate the stiff finish whilst it has leading jockey William Buick in the saddle. Has a few pounds to find at the weights but there could well be more to come from this 4yo and at almost twice the price of Sir Dancealot then this looks to be the value.

 

4:45 Goodwood – Dark Shot – 0.75pt e/w @ 14/1 Ladbrokes, Paddy & Boyle 1/5th odds 4 places

 

I am determined that Dark Shot will provide a decent payday for us at some point this season. Took the trainers eye when unlucky in the Dash last year, he was particularly bullish on its chances again this year but never really got the cover it needed though still ran well in 5th. Can ignore its run in Ireland last time when it was continually denied the gaps needed. Will need luck again from stall 2 but is well suited to a downhill 5f, racing off the same mark as when a close 2nd at the beginning of the season in a race working out very well. Should benefit from stronger handling, I am never keen on apprentices in sprints as the jockeys have to make such split second decisions that no matter what weight allowance is given, it cannot make up for in experience in those situations. At a big price it is worth chancing e/w.

 

7:40 Galway – Dream Walker – 0.75pt e/w @ 12/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 5 places

 

An old stalwart who has 2 wins and 2 3rds at this meeting in the last couple of years. Both thirds have come in this race whilst when dropped to 7f it has won. However, at 9 years of age you have to think it may start to lose some of its speed at some point, especially when it is a horse who often gets behind in its races before staying on. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if an extended mile was more suitable. Has dropped to the same mark as when placing in this race before, connections have also booked the same jockey who won both times on him here before, significant with such a tricky ride. Obviously it is susceptible to less exposed rivals but with 5 places on offer it is worth a bet.