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A close second yesterday on See The Sea, which was annoying as she definitely would've won if she jumped the last slightly better. Today, we have four selections from Goodwood on day 4 of the Glorious Goodwood festival.
A horse who I feel has been relatively unlucky in some of these marathon handicaps is, SMART CHAMPION. I've felt slightly unlucky when backing him a few times, as he is always staying on strongly, but always seems to run out of track. He is an extremely strong stayer, which is why I think the soft ground which he should encounter today, if the forecast rain arrives, it could suit, despite the fact he's only raced on soft ground once, which resulted him finishing 10th in the Cesarewitch last year.
I tipped him up for this race last year, and he stayed on strongly to grab 3rd, one length behind Just Hubert who also runs again this year. This year, Smart Champion will be 7lbs better off with that horse, and will in fact be running off bottom weight of 7st 11lbs as Saffie Osborne will take off an extremely handy 5lbs. If the ground does get soft, then the fact that he is carrying such a low weight is surely going to be a big benefit. Running 2m 4f with a much lighter weight than compared to most of the others in the race will make his life much easier going through the ground. Saffie Osborne is having a great season, and is often the apprentice to go to as the 5lb she can claim is daylight robbery.
His form this year hasn't been outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but as a result, his mark has dropped down to 83 from 88. Like I said previously, he is a strong stayer, so the races he's contested this year haven't been ideal. He's raced over 1m 6f on two occasions, and that trip is too short for him, especially the last run which was a falsely run race which was never going to suit. The run over 2m at Goodwood was a good effort, and it produced an RPR of 95, but he was dropped 1lb for that effort, which was very kind of the handicapper. The fact he's raced over inadequate trips suggests to me it's been a plan to get his handicap mark lowered, so that he has a real chance in a big handicap at one of the big festivals.
He's gone very close and ran some nice races at some of the big festivals in the last couple of years. Other than finishing third in this race last year, he finished 4th at Royal Ascot in 2020, and was 2nd in the Cesarewitch trial back in 2019.
On paper, Baaeed should run away with this race, as he does look like a future Group 1 performer. However, racing is never that simple, and though he has looked like a superstar, I think he could be quite vulnerable on a slower surface, in a race which hasn't got much projected pace. There is a chance that the ground could get quite soft, and although he has shown a good turn of foot, that ground could ruin that. With a slowly run race on the cards, on a speed track like Goodwood and with potential slow ground, I think RHYTHM MASTER offers a decent each way alternative.
Soft ground seems to be the key to this horse, as his two best runs have come with cut in the ground. He finished 3rd in a Group 1 last year at Deauville, behind Campanelle and Nando Parrado. Though the latter hasn't done any favours of boosting the form this year, the rest of the race has worked out quite well. The winner has since won a Group 1 at Royal Ascot this year, and Tactical has ran some decent races since that run in France, including a Listed win. Tactical runs in this race today, and I can't see a reverse in the placings between the selection, as Rhythm Master was well on top in that race, and was staying on the stronger, and the same can be said in their most recent starts at Royal Ascot where RM confirmed that.
There is a lack of pace in this race, so your speedier types might come to the fore, as the stamina which a few of these might not come into play. Tasman Bay is the likeliest front runner, as he likes to sit handy. If they don't go a good gallop, that should help the selection as he has ran well over 6f and 7f in the past. Baaeed looks a class apart from this field, but is very short, and it would be more profitable to back the selection each way, and if he places it works out better, and if the favourite falters then hopefully he can pick up the pieces.
I don't believe that Battaash doesn't handle slow ground, as he's won on it many times before, to me it appears to be nonsense. Whether or not he's the same force as old is the real question, but if he's going to prove that he's still a quality horse it is at Goodwood, as he is all about speed. I do think he is still the one to beat, and is currently a shade of odds against, but I'm siding with ART POWER, who might enjoy the drop back to 5f on a speed track, and will hopefully enjoy running from the front like he has done the last couple of times.
Silvestre De Sousa has recently opted for a change in tactics on Art Power; racing him more prominently, and it appears that seems to suit. On the last couple of occasions he has ran well in defeat, but his efforts have petered out in the final furlong, which is why I think the drop back to 5f on a track like Goodwood could prove to be a good tactic. If he gets the lead, then he could be hard to peg back, as he does have a lot of speed. Battaash will probably sit handy, so he can show his good turn of foot, and it would not surprise me to see him win, like I said earlier. But, if he's not firing on all cylinders, which could be the case with a decently large crowd back at the races, Art Power could potentially steal this race from the front.
As for the others in the race, I'm not too worried about. You'd have to say Dragon Symbol would be the next one after Battaash, as he has proven to be a Group 1 horse, but he sees his races out strongly over 6f on stiff tracks, which might catch him out on a speed track. Glass Slippers loves this kind of ground, but she hasn't been seen for 200+ days, and she hasn't always ran well on her reappearances, so I think she can be swerved. Suesa is the one who could spring a suprise, I tipped her up at Royal Ascot, but she completely blew up, and didn't perform at all. I think it's interesting that connections are giving her another go on British soil.
If the ground gets soft then it's hard to envisage Mogul running at all, but if he does run, then he will not enjoy that surface, and it's best to look elsewhere. I was impressed by PASSION AND GLORY the last two times, and he appears to be a horse on the up.
This lad has carried 9st 12 and 9st 11 in handicaps the last two times and has come out winning by 4 lengths and 6 lengths, which is quite astonishing for a horse who had to carry such a big amount of weight. That signals that he could be better than a handicapper, and today is the day we find out whether he is a Group horse or whether he is a horse who can carry big weights in a handicap. He has been tried at Stakes level once before, where he ran very poor. That was at Meydan, and on the back of a 461 day break, so there were excuses for that run. Since returning back to Britain, he has been brilliant, and I think a lot of that is due to him getting better with age, like a lot of Saeed Bin Suroor's do.
The ground is a bit of an unknown, but his pedigree suggests he has a good chance of handling it, if it gets slow. I think this race could be between Euchen Glen, who is such a brilliant horse, and has been in sensational form over the last 12 months. He carries a penalty, but is probably the one they have to beat. Mogul brings in the Group 1 form, but he appears to like fast ground, so I think it could be a match between Passion And Glory and Euchen Glen. Outbox will probably get an easy lead of things, but he also appears to be much better on a faster surface. Oisin should have Passion And Glory in a prominent position so he can kick on when he sees fit, whereas Euchen Glen is a hold-up horse, and hopefully it will be too late for Euchen Glen by the time Oisin has gone for home.
12:00 Newton Abbot - Race: 1
12:10 Hamilton - Race: 1
12:20 Roscommon - Race: 1