Glorious Goodwood: Belgian Bill and Donncha bid for Betfred Mile glory

Wentworth on the way to winning the 2013 Betfred Mile / Picture by Clive Bennett

Wentworth on the way to winning the 2013 Betfred Mile / Picture by Clive Bennett

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A bumper 81 contenders go forward for the £150,000 Betfred Mile (3.10pm), the heritage handicap staged on the fourth day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Heading the market at 14/1 with sponsor Betfred is Donncha (9st, Robert Eddery) who came home sixth last year and has finished second in two big mile handicaps so far this season - the Spring Mile at Doncaster in April and the Coral Challenge at Sandown Park on July 2.

There are no less than 15 horses sharing 16/1 second favouritism with Betfred, the betting partner of the Qatar Goodwood Festival on the fourth day. These include last year’s first and third, Belgian Bill (9st 2lb, George Baker) and Basem (9st 10lb, Saeed bin Suroor).

The eight-year-old Belgian Bill is set make his fourth appearance in the Betfred Mile. In addition to his victory in 2015, he was also fifth in 2014 and eighth in 2012. He spent the early part of 2016 in Meydan, Dubai, where he was a close fifth in the Group Three Dubai Millennium Stakes. He returned from a break when 11th, beaten just under six lengths, in the ultra-competitive John Smith’s Cup over an extended 10 furlongs at York on July 9.

Manton-based Baker revealed: “Belgian Bill will be going back to Goodwood for the Betfred Mile, all being well.

“I was delighted with his run at York on Saturday. I think he probably didn’t quite get home over a mile and two and a half furlongs and the drop back to a mile at Goodwood will be absolutely up his street. He would have been very close to winning the John Smith’s if it had been run over a mile.

I think he probably didn’t quite get home over a mile and two and a half furlongs and the drop back to a mile at Goodwood will be absolutely up his street.

Trainer George Baker

“He goes to Goodwood in great form. The draw is more crucial at Goodwood than some places and hopefully will we will get a nice low-figure draw for a horse in great form. It should be an exciting day.”

Other leading contenders include last year’s Listed Cocked Hat Stakes runner-up Best Of Times (9st 5lb, Saeed bin Suroor), Haalick (8st 10lb, Roger Varian), who was runner-up in the valuable seven-furlong Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Handicaop at Goodwood in May and last year’s Betfred Cambridgeshire winner Third Time Lucky (9st 2lb Richard Fahey).

An interesting contender going forward is Muwaary (9st 8lb, John Gosden). The five-year-old was a close fifth in the Group One Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) in 2014 and, after missing all of last year, has shaped with promise on his two outings this season.

His owner Hamdan Al Maktoum could also be represented by the progressive three-year-old Tabarrak (8st 11lb, Richard Hannon).

Mark Tolman of Betfred commented: “There has been a bit of money for Donncha in the Betfred Mile to overcome his recent stalls’ issues and finally land a decent handicap. Robert Eddery’s charge will be looking to improve on his sixth in the race last year.

“Toofi (10/1) is solid at the head of the Qatar Stewards’ Cup market and will hope to go one better than last year.

“For those looking for one at a bigger price we have seen a few interesting bets on Roger Charlton’s Projection (8st 8lb, 20/1 and owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club).

“His run (fourth to Dancing Star) at Newmarket was a really solid effort after nine months off and he could emulate last year’s winner, Magical Memory, in being another progressive three-year-old to win the race.”

The maximum field allowed to go to post in the Betfred Mile is 20.

Betfred Mile, Betfred betting:

14/1 Donncha

16/1 Atlantic Sun, Azraff, Basem, Belgian Bill, Best Of Times, Carry On Deryck, Gabrial’s Kaka, Haalick, Jailawi, Mutamakkin, Muwaary, One Word More, Peril, Tabarrak, Third Time Lucky

20/1 Arcanada, Balmoral Castle, Celestial Path, Chil The Kite, Examiner, Franklin D, Glory Awaits, Grand Inquisitor, Here Comes When, Instant Attraction, Jallota, Kelinni, Keystroke, Master The World, Mutawathea, Out And About, Pick Your Choice, White Lake, Yattwee, You’re Fired

25/1 Above N Beyond, Afjaan, Bossy Guest, Can’t Change It, Dark Emerald, Earth Drummer, Hors de Combat, Ice Slice, Knight Owl, Melvin The Grate, Muffri’Ha, Outlaw Country, Sirius Prospect

33/1 Fieldsman, Gold Prince, Heatstroke, Imshivalla, Lat Hawill, Manson, Mohab, Oh This Is Us, Room Key, Spring Offensive, The Warrior, Zhui Feng

40/1 Boomshackerlacker, Emell, King’s Pavilion, Ode To Evening, Palawan, Whitman, Wilde Inspiration

50/1 Czech It Out, Goring, Laidback Romeo, Outer Space, Riflescope, Solar Deity

66/1 Bathos, Boots And Spurs, Montsarrat, Red Avenger, Welford

Each-Way 1/4 odds a place 1-2-3-4. Antepost rules apply.

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