3.40 Goodwood – TOORMORE (nap)
This looks a reasonable enough renewal of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes, with a trio of impressive debut/last time out winners taking on a quartet already proven at a higher level, including the Coventry Stakes runner-up – notable winners of this event in recent years include No Excuse Needed, Lucky Story, Shamardal, Sir Percy, Rio De La Plata and Olympic Glory.
The selection, trained by Richard Hannon, is a son of Arakan who made a winning start to his career in a 7f maiden at Leicester back in May (5/2 joint-favourite), crossing over from his wide draw and tracking the leaders going strongly throughout, shaken up to lead over a furlong out and drawing clear with eventual runner-up Ertijaal inside the final furlong, always holding that rival for hands-and-heels riding to score by a neck (pair 7 lengths clear of remainder). The second was a very impressive winner next time out, whilst several others in behind have gone on to frank the form, and it is perhaps notable that this colt has been held back for a race in which his powerful stable has won the last three renewals. He looked well worth fast-tracking into pattern company on debut, and the step up in distance should also suit, so it would be absolutely no surprise to see this son of Arakan prove capable of preserving his unbeaten record with victory here.
Stablemate Expert is a son of Mastercraftsman who shaped as though finding five and a half furlongs on the sharp side when fourth on debut at Bath behind Riverboat Springs, and he duly improved plenty for that experience when chasing home the promising True Story in a 7f maiden at Newmarket’s July meeting two months later. He got off the mark at the third time of asking when landing a maiden back over the same course and distance as recently as last weekend, making all and winning well despite drifting over to the fair rail from well over a furlong out, scoring by 2¼ lengths from Madeed. Those in behind had either shown little previously or were newcomers who shaped as though in need of the run, but this colt did it nicely in the end and represents a stable with a fine record in this race; stable second string here, though, and this clearly demands a fair bit more just days on from his maiden victory.
The Richard Fahey-trained Parbold is a nicely bred son of Dandy Man who made an impressive winning debut in a 6f maiden at York’s Dante meeting back in May, travelling powerfully in behind the leaders and soon sealing matters inside the final furlong despite greenness to see off Art Official by ¾-length. He proved his worth at a much higher level when second in the 6f Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot a month later, towards the rear until making headway over two furlongs out, not enjoying the smoothest of passages but staying on well inside the final furlong to take a 6-length second behind War Command. He was in no way an unlucky loser, but surely would have got a lot closer than he did but for suffering a troubled passage when starting his challenging, shaping as though the additional furlong here would suit; sure to be involved, for all the form of the Coventry Stakes hasn’t been working out at all well.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Outstrip is a son of Exceed And Excel whose debut outing came in a 7f maiden at Newmarket (July) last month, going off a well-fancied 4/1 chance and duly delivering what the market expected of him. However, it was far from plain sailing for this colt, slowly away and then forced to deliver his challenge wide, coming with a sustained effort from over a furlong out to lead close home, going away at the finish as he beat stablemate True Story by 1½ lengths. The runner-up went one better in impressive fashion next time to frank the form, and the impression this colt made in beating him on debut was favourable; sometimes the case that the yard’s juveniles don’t improve as expected for their debut run, but not to be underestimated here as he takes a deserved step up in class.
The Brian Meehan-trained Recanted is a son of Empire Maker who made an impressive winning debut in a traditionally strong 6½f maiden at Newbury last month (14/1 chance), slowly away but travelling with ease throughout and making good progress into contention over two furlongs out, leading entering the final furlong and always in control as he saw off fellow newcomer Pearl Spectre by ¾-length. However, he proved to be hugely disappointing when upped in grade for the 7f Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting two and a half weeks ago, waited with in rear and making some progress from the two furlong marker, but that effort soon flattened out and he was eased off to come home last of eight behind Good Old Boy Lukey (beaten 13½ lengths). The form of his debut win doesn’t look quite as good as it did at the time, and his response of the bridle last time was very flat; interesting connections are sticking to this level with him and the easier ground may well suit, but he still arrives here with a bit to prove.
Mark Johnston’s Lanark is a son of Cape Cross who shaped well here on debut before going one better over the same course and distance the following month, albeit he was giving a big helping hand by the leader veering and unseating his rider when appearing to be in full control. He duly came up short in the Coventry Stakes next time (some way behind Parbold) and was narrowly denied in a 6f nursery at York the time after that, but he returned to winning ways when landing a small-field conditions event at Newbury 11 days ago, making all and finding plenty inside the final furlong to see off Rosso Corsa by 2¾ lengths. He seemed to relish the seventh furlong there and may have yet further improvement to came at this trip, but he was soundly held at this level in the Coventry and finished some 6 lengths behind Parbold in the process; more needed in order to figure here.
4.15 Goodwood – MUCH PROMISE (nb)
This is a traditionally strong two-year-old fillies’ maiden – notable past winners including Sheppard’s Watch, Tashawak, Suez, Beyond Desire and Rakasa – and this year’s renewal features a handful of fillies that have made the frame and shown promise to date and some interesting newcomers from leading stables to add further spice to the occasion.
The selection, trained by John Gosden, is an Invincible Spirit half sister to this year’s Epsom Oaks winner Talent and connections’ Listed-placed 7f-1m winner Skilful, and she made her debut outing in a 6f fillies’ maiden at Lingfield a fortnight ago, for which she went off an easy-to-back 14/1 chance beforehand. She raced up with the pace from the outset and travelled nicely, but she tended to run green off the bridle from the top of the top of the home straight, getting the idea entering the final furlong and staying on well to run odds-on favourite Along Again to half a length at the line (pair a fair way clear of the remainder). Her conqueror went on to finish in a Group 3 last weekend (sixth place filly already a winner next time out), and this daughter of Invincible Spirit shaped as though she would be sharper for the experience; entry in the Cheveley Park Stakes an indication of the level she is expected to reach by her top handler, and no surprise to see her go one better here en route to bigger and better things.
The Henry Candy-trained Valonia is a daughter of Three Valleys who shaped with a huge amount of promise in a 6f fillies’ maiden at the Newmarket July meeting three weeks ago (33/1 chance), close up until taking over two furlongs out, ridden and drawing clear with eventual winner Qawaasem inside the final furlong, finding that one’s experience just too much in the closing stages as she went down by half a length at the line. However, the winner went close in a Listed event while the third gave the form a further boost by winning earlier this week, and the fact this filly has been given an entry in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes says a lot (trainer not one to hand out big-race entries indiscriminately); sire’s progeny don’t always improve as expected, but this daughter of Three Valleys should be involved if showing any signs of improvement from her debut run.
The Richard Hannon-trained Autumn Sunrise is a daughter of Camacho who has found one too good in a pair of fillies’ maidens at Newbury so far, chasing home stablemate Gold Top there last month (7f) before finding only the highly promising newcomer J Wonder too strong for her back at the Berkshire venue 12 days ago (6f), attempting to make all on that occasion. She commands respect for the Hannon/Hughes combination that enjoys so much success here, but one or two others in the field appeal as open to that bit more improvement that this daughter of Camacho; very much entitled to be involved, but may just find something progressing past her here.
The Clive Brittain-trained Aqlaam Vision is a daughter of Aqlaam who finished third behind Corncockle in a 6f fillies’ maiden at Newmarket (July) last month, and she took a step forward when narrowly losing out to Green Room in a 5f maiden at Lingfield at the beginning of last month, tapped-for-toe before finishing off strongly to run the winner to a head. The step back up in distance ought to suit her well, and connections saddled the winner of the 6f maiden here yesterday; booking of Kieren Fallon signals intent, but this looks by far her toughest assignment to date and others make that bit more appeal here.
Mick Channon’s Kanz is a daughter of Kyllachy from a good family, and she shaped as though having ability when seventh of 15 behind J Wonder in the same 6f fillies’ maiden at Newbury in which the re-opposing Autumn Sunrise finished second, losing her position in midfield passing halfway but making steady late progress under considerate handling to finish within seven lengths of the principals. Her yard’s youngsters tend to improve plenty for their initial outing, and it is interesting that she has been given a Cheveley Park entry since her debut outing; potential big improver who shouldn’t be at all underestimated here.
The Richard Fahey-trained Flycatcher is a nicely bred daughter of Medicean who shaped as though there would be a fair bit better to come at some stage when debuting in a 6f fillies’ maiden at Haydock towards the beginning of this month, travelling kindly towards the rear of the field but taking a while to hit top stride when asked to improve well over a furlong out, finishing off well inside the final furlong to take fourth behind Hot Coffee (beaten 5¾ lengths). She is bred to stay further and will want another furlong sooner rather than later, but she is entitled to prove all the sharper for that debut run and should therefore be able to prove more competitive on this occasion; contender.
There are one or two interesting newcomers in the field, the first of them being the Brian Meehan-trained Fashion Fund, a daughter of Oasis Dream who is a half sister to 12f 3yo winner Silk Sari out of an unraced half sister to 1m 2yo Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Ibn Khaldun out of a Fillies’ Mile/Irish 1000 Guineas winner who was a half sister to Barathea. This well-bred filly cost 155,000gns as a yearling and hails from an excellent family, bred to make her mark at two at around this distance; comes from a stable whose youngsters generally benefit for a run, but they have sent out a pair of winning newcomers in recent weeks (including in these colours) and have won this twice in recent times, so interesting to see how their representative here goes in the market beforehand.
The Roger Charlton-trained Stars Above Me is a daughter of Exceed And Excel who is the third foal of an unraced half sister to top-class miler Soviet Song, useful 5-6f winner Baralinka, 8-10f Flat winner/high-class 2m hurdler Penzance and two other winners out of a fairly useful 7f 2yo winner. This filly makes a fair amount on pedigree, certainly bred to make a two-year-old at around this trip, and her stable has already sent out a pair of winning newcomers from this age group this term; will need to be above average to follow suit in what looks a good maiden, but still interesting to see whether she meets with any pre-race market support.