It's been a great week so far at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and our two Billesdon fillies, BILLESDON BESS and BILLESDON BROOK, did the business for us and I thought Sean gave the last mentioned a superb ride to get her nose right there on the line. It was very Richard Hughes-esque and I see she traded at 1000/1 in running. She looked to have absolutely no chance whatsoever because she was stuck in a pocket and got bumped around but when some room eventually became available, Sean galvanised her to hit the line where it mattered and, ironically, beat stablemate ROYAL HOUSEHOLD. Both fillies are smart and could head up to York next for something at the Ebor meeting.
A busy Saturday ahead with runners at four different tracks and my thoughts on their chances are below.
GOODWOOD - SATURDAY
4:10 - QATAR MAIDEN STAKES
BATHSHEBA BAY (Martin Harley)
He's getting the hang of things very quickly and ran a cracker at Sandown last time. The ground will very much be in his favour as will the track and I rate him very highly in a race like this.
ROGUE (Ryan Moore)
We're going up to 7f with him which will definitely suit as he has been staying on nicely in both races to date. As with our other horse, I've got no worries about the ground and think he has outstanding claims. To be honest, these two are difficult to separate; they both turn up with solid credentials.
4:45 - QATAR HANDICAP
MEDAHIM (Frankie Dettori)
(pictured, above) I was extremely impressed with his win at Newmarket last time and have been particularly pleased with him ever since. There is still a lot to come from him and we know he handles the course as his good effort when second two starts ago will testify. Obviously, the ground is a slight concern but it's the same for all of them and he goes there in top form. If he can eek out a little more improvement from his new mark, he'll be bang there. He's the sort of horse that once he's got his head in front, could run up a sequence.
ELYSIUM DREAM (Sean Levey)
She's a lovely filly who I've got a little share in myself so it would be nice to get some owners prize money here! Her run in the Chesham at Royal Ascot was good but she let me down at Newmarket afterwards when we really fancied her but the ground was too quick there and she'll be much better suited by some cut here. She's back over 6f which may help and if she can reproduce her earlier form would have a decent chance.
TIG TOG (Tom Marquand)
This is her first handicap run and she gets in off 78 which could be a decent mark. All her runs have shown she's more than capable of winning a race or two and she's not short of pace too so the step back to 6f will suit. This is a good opportunity for her and she would be my best bet of the day.
3:15 - NOVICE STAKES
EASTERN SUNRISE (Sean Levey)
A very well bred filly from a good family who shaped with promise on debut at Newmarket but ran quite green and desperately needed it. She's come on a bundle for that though and has improved in her work at home too. This looks a decent race with some interesting newcomers but she won't disgrace herself, I'm certain of that.
MAJESTE (Sean Levey)
We had him gelded in the hope that it may help him concentrate on the task at hand but he disappointed at Newmarket so I'm not quite sure what to expect this time around! That said, he may have found the ground on the soft side so that could have been against him but he isn't going to get much different here. He has lots of ability and if putting it in, he's up to winning this, but he has a big question mark over him at the moment.
2:10 - HANDICAP
WEFAIT (Hollie Doyle)
Another horse owned by Mohammed Al Shahi who is a loyal supporter of the yard and I was pleased when this horse got his head in front for him again at Windsor two starts ago and then back that up with a great effort on soft ground at Newbury last month. I think his mark is about right so we're making use of Hollie's claim again and he should hopefully finish in the money The ground isn't a problem.
5:35 - HANDICAP
QATARI RIYALS (Hollie Doyle)
She's quite a speedy filly who has just been struggling to see her races out so we're dropping back down to 5f. Hollie takes 3lbs of which will be a big help and it doesn't look a great race so I'd say she has every chance here.
5:45 - HANDICAP
HELF (Tom Marquand)
He makes his Handicap debut off 82 and only time will tell if that's a realistic mark. His effort at Lingfield last time wasn't great and he needs to step up on what he's shown so far. On the plus side, he worked well on Wednesday so is in good spirits.
6:45 - NOVICE STAKES
ZALSHAH (Tom Marquand)
This is obviously not a Weatherby's Super Sprint and despite finishing 13th, he still ran well and wasn't actually beaten that far. We've always thought this horse has the ability and I'd hope he's up to winning a race of this nature although I am a little worried about Richard Spencer's horse Littlelordconford who is quite well bred!
7:45 - HANDICAP
GETNA (Tom Marquand)
It's disappointing that she's yet to win a race as she's been ultra consistent and deserves to get her head in front. The Handicapper has given her a chance and on the evidence of her last two runs, you would be right to have a few quid on.
Thanks to everyone who's tweeted messages of support this week and a big thank you to all the team behind the scenes who have worked really hard all week. Their efforts on Wednesday, when it chucked it down all day, were immensely appreciated, but the winner definitely helped brighten our spirits! I hope you've enjoyed reading my musings over the past few days too and next week it's the Shergar Cup, a meeting that divides opinion, but we love it and always support it so I'll be back with news on my runners there and elsewhere next Friday.
Have a good weekend,