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Time figure Preview: Goodwood Festival

Timeform's Research and Development team look at the best timefigure performances ahead of the 2018 Goodwood Festival.

Time figure Preview: Goodwood Festival

Timeform's Research and Development team look at the best timefigure performances ahead of the 2018 Goodwood Festival.

Tuesday

Stradivarius winning the Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
Stradivarius winning the Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Picture:Racing and Sports


The Goodwood Cup sees Stradivarius Horseform attempt to repeat his win in the race last year and move one step closer to winning the Weatherbys Hamiltion Stayers’ Million. He boasts rock solid timefigures having taken his form to a new level this year, with four of his last five performances rated 121 (adjusted) or better, though last year’s St Leger - where he was third behind Crystal Ocean and Capri - remains his best (125).

Tuesday’s race lacks a confirmed front runner, with Torcedor Horseform, who made the running when third in the Gold Cup, or Idaho ridden by Ryan Moore the likeliest candidates to go forward. Regardless of pace, Stradivarius has proven himself increasingly flexible, capable of travelling powerfully in a strongly-run race (Yorkshire Cup) and quickening smartly in a weakly-run one (Gold Cup).

Torcedor winning the Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3)
Torcedor winning the Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3) Picture:Pat Healy Photography

The Vintage Stakes is the opening two-year-old race of the festival, with impressive maiden winner Confiding the current favourite. Held up in a slowly-run race, he travelled strongly before reeling in the front-running Almurr to win by a length, and though the time was only modest (53), sectionals confirm that he was worth more than the bare margin.

However, while lightly-raced horses may not have had the opportunity to record fast times, there are a couple in here that are clear on timefigures.

God Given
God Given Picture:Pat Healy Photography

The first is Cosmic Law, courtesy of his maiden win at Epsom (116). He finished ninth in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot next time, racing on the stands side with Calyx, and is likely to make a bold bid from the front. The other is Dunkerron - fourth in the July Stakes (115) - who remains open to further improvement. He has shaped as if he’ll be suited by this step up to seven furlongs.

Battaash
Battaash Picture:Press Photo

Wednesday

The Sussex Stakes is often dubbed as the ‘Duel on the Downs’, with recent clashes between Frankel and Canford Cliffs (2011), Dawn Approach and Toronado (2013) and Toronado and Kingman (2014). This year’s renewal features Without Parole and Expert Eye, two horses that have impressed on the clock.

Expert Eye exploded onto the scene at this meeting last year, impressively winning the Vintage Stakes in a strong time (121). He lost his way after, but showed his best form in the Jersey Stakes last time, winning emphatically in a very good time (127).

Without Parole, on the other hand, marked himself out as a potential superstar with his win at Yarmouth (124 adjusted timefigure). He missed the 2000 Guineas with a bruised foot, but since then has scrambled home in the listed Heron Stakes at Sandown, before confirming that Yarmouth promise in the St James’s Palace in a very impressive time (129). With just four performances to his name, he could still have more improvement to come.

Thursday

The Lillie Langtry Stakes is the first group race on day three, and the two at the head of are God Given Horseform and Pilaster. God Given is top rated, but marginal preference is for the latter, who recorded a good timefigure (111) in her last start at Kempton. She was well supported that day in what looked a very competitive race, and made short work of her opposition. She will have to improve again, but with just three starts under her belt and the step up to a mile and six furlongs likely to suit, she is taken to do just that.

There is very little to separate the top five in the Richmond, three of whom ran in the July Stakes last time: Konchek (118), Charming Kid (118), and Dunkerron (115). Mount Tabora is yet to win for Aidan O’Brien, but recorded a good time (114) in defeat last time behind Guaranteed at the Curragh, usually one of the more informative maidens, and he is still going the right way.

Urban Fox is the current favourite for the Nassau Stakes. She has improved on her three starts for William Haggas this year, winning the Pretty Polly last time out in a solid time (118). Veracious finished third behind Alpha Centauri in the Coronation Stakes on just her third career start last time, making the running and ensuring a decent pace, which resulted in a timefigure of 118. The leading timefigure in the race, though, is held by Lockinge Stakes winner Rhododendron (125); she is a very likeable filly but wasn’t quite in the same form in the Queen Anne last time.

The 1000 Guineas winner, Billesdon Brook, was behind Veracious last time, but her Newmarket win (122) makes her a serious contender - coupled with a terrific record at the track, she represents a bit of value at 10/1.

Friday

Battaash Horseform heads the market in the King George Stakes and is looking to repeat his deeply impressive win in the race last year, where he recorded a race-leading timefigure (139). He lost little in defeat in the King’s Stand last time, only surrendering late to Blue Point having set a strong early pace which burnt off his main rivals; Goodwood should play to those strengths more than Ascot.

Much will depend on the draw and some good fortune in the Golden Mile Handicap on day four. Firmament hasn’t won for almost two years, but is constantly contesting these competitive handicaps. He was just building up a head of steam last time at Ascot before running out of room close home, and while his hold up style will always mean he is hostage to circumstance, he has some strong claims on time.

The Richard Hannon-trained Sergio Leone was stepped up to ten furlongs last time in a slowly run race (111% finishing speed resulting in a 34 timefigure) which saw the winner get first run. Sergio Leone did well to finish as close as he did and looks to be an interesting runner.

Saturday

The Stewards’ Cup takes centre stage on the final day of the meeting. It’s sure to be a strongly-run race, which should produce a fast time. Bacchus is the ante-post favourite following his win in the Wokingham, where he beat Dreamfield who dropped out at the five day stage. Tis Marvellous, Spring Loaded and Growl were further down the field.

The horse that makes most appeal at the prices, though, is Growl. He was a touch disappointing in the Wokingham when finishing in midfield, but his mark has since dropped 3 lb and he bounced back to form with a decent run at York over the weekend. He has finished fourth in the last two renewals, his mark now 10 lb lower than a year ago – that effort represents the best time performance of any horse entered in the race.
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