Thunder Moon can bolt home in 2000 Guineas - will Mr Shady shine at Goodwood?
Goodwood racecourse provides the perfect antidote of flat racing to cure the spring blues with it’s opening fixture of the year, as an action-packed seven race card accompanies the first classic of 2021 at Newmarket.
1pm - The curtain raiser for Goodwood’s opening weekend fixture arrives in the form of the MansionBet Beaten By A Head Handicap, where six go to post to wage war over two miles.
Master Milliner is undoubtedly a deserved favourite for Emma Lavelle, having won on his latest outing at Kempton in November, but after an underwhelming run on the five-year-old’s reappearance last year it may be worth opposing him after a lengthy break.
Oisin Murphy’s booking on board Gavlar is sure to attract market attention, but given he was beaten nearly ten lengths last time out, he may also be a touch short in the market.
Instead it may pay dividends to side with the son of Elzaam, MR SHADY, who is largely unexposed at this trip.
After a brief campaign over hurdles this term, the four-year-old put in a career best effort on the polytrack surface of Lingfield Park and showed progression when upped to 1m5f - finishing behind two subsequent winners.
The form of that race is working out well and he could be slightly overpriced now upped to 2m.
Selection - MR SHADY 13/2 EW
1.30 - The Mansionbet Bet 10 Get 20 Guaranteed Handicap over 7f witnesses another short-priced favourite attemptting to oblige for favourite-backers in Billy Mill for Richard Hannon.
Whilst three of the four contestants haven’t been seen for a lengthy period of time, the Hannon-trained three-year-old has been in blistering form this campaign, notching up consecutive victories in March and April.
Although it usually requires some guesswork to know how they will progress from two to three-years-old, the favourite is opposable based on the 6lb penalty he receives from his most recent victory five days ago.
Oisin Murphy bolted up on his sole ride on NEBULOSA, and the filly could be the one to topple Hannon’s market-leader.
After looking green on debut, the daughter of Archipenko ran a very strong race into third of fifteen behind Saffron Beach, a serious contender for the 1000 Guineas tomorrow. The form of that race looks to be standing the test of time, with five of the trailing fillies subsequently going onto score.
She reinforced that point by making all at Newmarket to comfortably dismiss her nine rivals and a repeat of that performance should see her go very close.
Selection: NEBULOSA 3/1
2:05 - The feature of the day is the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Conqueror Fillies’ Stakes, where six aim to land the spoils over 1m.
Eight of the last nine winners of this affair were aged three or four, and LILAC ROAD looks poised to justify favouritism on the back of an impressive win on her latest outing.
After finishing fourth in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes last year, the daughter of Mastercraftsman was found to be out of her depth in the Fillies Mile - finishing last of ten at 50/1.
Since then, the filly made an exciting reappearance in a competitive three runner contest, turning over odds-on favourite Kestenna in the process.
Should she continue on that upwards curve, the 13lb she receives over four of her five rivals should aid her on her route to victory.
Of the others, Oisin Murphy wouldn’t have opted for Goodwood instead of Newmarket without some reason, so Amniarix could run a big race now switching to turf for trainer Ed Walker.
Selection - LILAC ROAD 2/1
2:35 - The MansionBet Proud To Sponsor British Racing Handicap over 7f looks a tight affair and one that you should approach with caution.
Marginal preference is for the Charles Hills-trained King’s Knight, who looks a progressive sort after winning on reappearance at Lingfield earlier this month. Marco Ghiani claims a useful 3lb and he may be able to continue his upwards spiral.
Magical Wish has placed on his two runs here in big field handicaps and could be well-handicapped to run a big race.
Selection - KINGS KNIGHT 11/4
3:10 - Five aim to triumph over the minimum trip in the Download The MansionBet App Handicap over 5f.
Lihou has been the model of consistency for trainer David Evans and should run his race yet again back on turf. There are a few question marks surrounding the four-year-old, with his lacklustre form on quicker ground and also the introduction of Shan Kelly, who has never ridden him before.
MOUNTAIN PEAK is an intriguing candidate back from a lengthy break and could well build on a successful season last year.
After a good performance on reappearance, the son of Swiss Spirit collected two wins over this distance at Haydock and ran a very good race on his latest start, finishing fifth behind Stone Of Destiny, whom he reopposes today.
He’s a half-brother to Listed winner Holy Moly and, given he has a 4lb swing with the Andrew Balding gelding, the six-year-old may relish the quicker conditions off a workable mark of 98.
Selection: MOUNTAIN PEAK 5/1
3:45 - As is usually the case with Maidens, the Follow @mansionbet Maiden Stakes over 1m is a head-scratcher, with General Lee and Dawndiva vying for favouritism.
Local trainer Amanda Perrett may hold the key to the winner of this tricky contest with REBEL TERRITORY, who ran a stormer at Lingfield when 100/1 outsider last month.
After taking a keen hold, the three-year-old ran a very creditable race into third of eleven behind two subsequent winners, drawing over four lengths clear of his next rival.
It’s evident to see the winner and second of that affair are very useful and, should we see a similar pattern, he could be able to strike here.
Selection: REBEL TERRITORY 4/1
4:20 - It doesn’t get any easier for the finale of the day as the MansionBet Watch And Bet Handicap throws up two well-bred contenders at the head of affairs who disappointed as two-year-olds.
Reluctant preference is for ATHERS who, having been gelded, may improve after a lengthy break. By Dubawi, the colt cost 320,000gns and is a full-brother to Group 2 winner Aljamaaheer, so could stamp his authority over market rival Rushmore, who cost a whopping 500,000gns.
3:40 - 2000 Guineas.
The highlight of the day comes over the Rowley Mile of Newmarket, where the first Classic of the season takes centre stage.
Wembley will be hoping to add his name to the illustrious 2000 Guineas roll of honour and, after finishing an ever-closer second in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst on his previous start, should have a great chance.
Mutasaabeq was supplemented to the tune of £30,000 to take place in the affair following a destructive performance over 7f here a fortnight ago, but question marks arise now elevated into this company.
The Aidan O’Brien/Frankie Dettori combination on board Group 2 winner Battleground will undoubtedly attract market support, especially considering he is drawn against the rail in 15.
He’s also got a great chance after an absence, but his sire, War Front, rarely has top-class three-year-olds so it may be worth observing his first run back to see how he’s progressed over the winter.
The Goldophin trio will be aiming to make amends for Pinatubo’s disappointment in the race last year, and both One Ruler and Master Of The Seas should run valiant races on the back of two good performances in the Futurity and Craven Stakes respectively.
But, Joseph O’Brien’s THUNDER MOON gets my vote after showing an electric turn of foot in last year’s National Stakes where he got the better of Ryan Moore’s mount.
After being hampered at the 2f pole, the son of Zoffany had to regain momentum and switch right before flying home under Declan McDonogh. On his next start he was presented with less than ideal conditions, being drawn on the wrong side of the track on soft ground, but travelled strongly up to the 2f pole.
Ultimately, he struggled to display the blistering speed at the end of the race on the ground but, considering he’s met with good to firm ground today, the three-year-old looks to hold a great chance if progressing in the manner he threatened to.
Selection: THUNDER MOON 11/2