This is a Class 2 sprint handicap run on one of the fastest courses in Britain where the runners race downhill for most of the six furlongs.
Seven runners are set to contest this £25,000 prize, among them horses who have competed at a higher level in the past, including in pattern race company and top sprint handicaps such as Ascot’s Wokingham Handicap, the Ayr Gold Cup, and the Stewards Cup over this very course and distance. You’re likely to see a number of these at the showcase meetings throughout this summer.
Favourite George Bowen
Richard Fahey saddles last week’s hugely impressive York winner George Bowen who ran away with a competitive sprint handicap and goes again under a 6lb penalty before the handicapper can reassess him.
The likes of Solar Flair, Pettochside and Raucous are well known sprint handicappers, while the four-year-olds Sparkalot and Open Wide both arrive here in decent form. The only three-year-old in the line-up is David Elsworth’s filly, Lady Dancealot.
This race very much centres around George Bowen who was hugely impressive when storming away with a good York 6f handicap last week. If he is in the same form then a 6lb penalty is unlikely to stop him and he is expected to be the punters’ choice.
Not often you see a handicap won like this 👀
George Bowen an emphatic winner at York!pic.twitter.com/QvOWzDrNpX
— OLBG Betting Tips (@OLBG) May 16, 2018
Richard Fahey has booked young Sebastian Woods, a 5lb claimer, whose allowance offsets George Bowen’s penalty, but Woods has never ridden at Goodwood before and this is a tricky track. In this seven-runner field the anticipated favourite will find it harder to get the cover he had at York in a 19-runner affair, so he is no certainty. While he could well run away with this if in the same mood as nine days ago, at the expected odds we prefer to take a chance and oppose him.
Robert Cowell’s RAUCOUS, although an infrequent winner, looks handicapped to go well with Jamie Spencer on board. Spencer road the five-year-old for the first time at Ascot two weeks ago, finishing fifth in a decent six-furlong handicap. It’s interesting that the former champion jockey is back in the saddle again as he may well have figured out how to get the best out of a horse who was third over this course and distance in the much higher class 2016 Stewards’ Cup off a 12lb higher mark than today.
Veteran Pettochside has won here five times and loves this track. He’s in great form and scored here again over 5f earlier this month. Despite a 4lb higher mark he looks sure to run well, while locally trained Open Wide, runner-up at Windsor on both starts so far this term, is also in good form.
There are few shrewder trainers than David Elsworth who asks his three-year-old filly Lady Dancealot to take on older horses on her first start since her juvenile season which she ended with a soft ground novice stakes win over course and distance. She gets plenty of weight from her six rivals and is a fascinating contender, despite being 1lb out of the handicap.
Top weight Solar Flair hasn’t really been firing of late, while Sparkalot is an impressive 4-8 so far but his wins have all come on the All Weather at Kempton and this is a very different challenge.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.