LIL ROCKERFELLER (1.50) may well have been the handicap snip of the year when annihilating his field by 15 lengths in this 2m 4f contest 12 months ago.
The handicapper has reacted with a 17lb rise but with Silvestre De Sousa once again in the saddle, Lil Rockerfeller can grind out another success. Neil King has trained the eight-year-old with this race in mind and very few flat horses stay this extreme distance. Lil Rockerfeller was last seen at Cheltenham in March, finishing tenth under a big weight in the Coral Cup. He did much of the donkey work up front and wasn’t beaten far in the end.
Dubawi Fifty was denied on the line by Who Dares Wins in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle and will be a threat along with The Grand Visir. The top weight landed a touch in the 2m 4f Ascot Stakes, so stamina is not an issue. It’s a fascinating race to launch day two at Glorious Goodwood.
The 1m 4f Unibet Handicap is a crackerjack with all 14 declared in with a shout. Mark Johnston saddles three, with Sir Ron Priestley vying for favouritism on the back of his narrow win over Mind The Crack at Haydock in early July.
There looked to be a bit more in the tank when DESERT ICON (2.25) landed the Bibury Cup at Salisbury, getting first run on Kiefer. William Haggas has kept him under wraps since June, probably to preserve his handicap mark for this valuable contest.
Eminence, third behind stablemates South Pacific and Constantinople at Royal Ascot, represents Aidan O’Brien with an obvious chance, while Durston will attract support at the foot of the weights following victories at Doncaster and Chester.
LIBERTY BEACH (3.00) is a worthy favourite to land the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes. John Quinn’s filly was poorly drawn in the Queen Mary Stakes but produced a sterling performance when finishing fourth to Raffle Prize. She has since bolted up in Listed company at Sandown and stall 12 is a good pitch near the stands’ rail.
LORD GLITTERS (3.35) is the each-way bet in the Qatar Sussex Stakes trading at 10-1 in places. The popular grey turned over more fancied opponents in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and can improve on last year’s third to Lightning Spear in this Group 1 contest when not enjoying the best of runs through the pack two out. His Ascot success has been boosted by the subsequent victories of Romanised (fourth) and Laurens (sixth).
Most eyes are focussed on the Classic generation, with market leader Too Darn Hot seeking revenge on St James’s Palace Stakes conqueror Circus Maximus. Blinkers were worn for the first time by the Irish winner that day and they certainly had the desired effect. O’Brien also saddles I Can Fly and the Ballydoyle boys will want to make this a stern stamina test for the favourite.
Too Darn Hot has since won in France and this sharp track will suit him better than Ascot. Phoenix Of Spain whipped Too Darn Hot in the Irish 2000 Guineas before flopping at Royal Ascot and could well bounce back in style under Jamie Spencer.