15:35 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes
The roof would be raised here if Stradivarius proved good enough to win yet another Group 1 to add to his magnificent career and if he does so it will be without the services of Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
The much-publicised disappointment of owner Bjorn Nielsen at Frankie’s ride on Stradivarius in last month’s Ascot Gold Cup has cost the Italian the mount on his old favourite, with Andrea Atzeni taking the reins.
Of course, we can’t rule out the great stayer from another, possibly final, glory day but the signs have been there in the past year that he is a little past his best.
That should clear the way for KYPRIOS to add to his Gold Cup win and continue his own upward trajectory. Vastly inferior to Stradivarius in terms of experience – he has run just seven times – the stayers’ world currently looks to be his oyster.
The relatively slow pace in the Gold Cup looked like it might suit him, given his form over shorter but, in fact, his sustained effort up the home straight there suggested that he would have won by further off a strong pace.
Either way, this drop back to two miles should be ideal and he is open to more improvement, which has to be a concern to all eight of his opponents.
Last year’s winner Trueshan could again have a major say, especially if there is any ‘soft’ in the going description, while Coltrane absolutely dotted up in Listed company at Sandown Park last time and is another improver who cannot be discounted.
14:25 Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes (Group 2) – 7f
HOLLOWAY BOY was pitched in at Listed level on debut in the Chesham Stakes last month. He was nibbled at in to 40/1 before being played late to land the odds in fine style, showing plenty of promise in the process.
You’d have to expect the son of Ulysses to improve on that performance and, if that proves to be the case, he should prove very difficult to beat.
Mysterious Knight is an improving performer whose staying-on third behind Persian Force in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket last time was a good performance in the context of this race. He would still need to better that if Holloway Boy repeats his debut effort but after just three runs himself, he may also improve.
The Charlie and Mark Johnston-trained Dear My Friend won a modest Carlisle novice event going away on debut (6f, good) and stepped up significantly on that when making virtually all to score at Beverley (7½f, good to firm) by 5l under a penalty last month. That excellent effort suggests that the Pivotal colt should not be dismissed lightly.
Stable companion Dornoch Castle has put up two similar performances in winning novice events at Haydock (7f, good) and then, under a penalty at Ayr (7f, good), when the 1/6 favourite.
It would have been good to see him step up on his debut effort last time but there is still plenty of time for him to step up on that and he can’t be ruled out.
Galeron made big strides on his Goodwood debut effort when returning to that track and scoring in maiden company (6f, good to firm) last time.
Marbaan is another improver, though not at the rate of some aforementioned runners, while Dark Thirty’s Group 2 Superlative Stakes third suggests he’d be no shock winner either.