There’s a low-key start to Goodwood’s Glorious meeting, with the Group 2 Lennox Stakes the feature on day one.
Three-year-olds have a great recent record in the race, winning six of the last 10 runnings, and five of those six had run in the English or French 2000 Guineas.
On account of having run seventh behind stable companion Night Of Thunder at Newmarket, Toormore fits nicely with the stats and, while the champion juvenile of 2013 hasn’t yet scaled the heights his two-year-old season promised, he hasn’t been disgraced in two hot Group 1 events since accounting for subsequent Dante and French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby in the Craven Stakes.
Last time out he was beaten just six lengths by the brilliant Kingman, and a repeat of that performance would almost be good enough. I suspect Richard Hughes will ride him close behind what promises to be a strong pace, and he can deliver him with a winning run in the final furlong.
With the way the Gosden stable has been performing all season, Gregorian would be a logical choice, and the five-year-old comes here off the back of a brilliant run behind Slade Power in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Essentially, he didn’t have the pace to mount a serious challenge but was noted running on very strongly into third place. The return to seven furlongs and drop in class are distinct positives and, while the draw could be better, the fast pace should allow him slot in behind the speed.
However, Goodwood can be a difficult course, which many horses struggle with, and this fellow’s performances at each of the last two meetings cast some doubt.
He arrived here in good form each time, as he does once more, but was a beaten favourite in 2012 and well behind Toronado in last year’s Sussex Stakes. The drop to seven furlongs for this year’s race may help, and it could be setup for a closer, but there are too many doubts to consider siding with him at short odds.
He appears to hold Garswood on Newmarket form, while last year’s Newmarket 2000 Guineas runner-up, Glory Awaits, would be a danger if able to get his own way, but that would seem unlikely.
Toormore should benefit from the drop in trip, and his winning form over course and distance swings the verdict firmly in his favour. If the Irish National Stakes winner is going to return to Group 1 winning form this season, he ought to come through today’s assignment with flying colours.
Hannon should also be on the mark with Beacon, in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes for two-year-olds. The son of the stable’s former Lennox Stakes winner and Sussex Stakes runner-up Paco Boy has plenty experience, and was most impressive when accounting for one of today’s rivals, Mukhmal, last time out at Sandown.
The runner-up wandered around a bit on that occasion and is being fitted with a hood today. He may improve for its application, but the winner has to be fancied to confirm the form.
Mukhmal’s trainer, Mark Johnston, does very well at Goodwood and his Salutation looks a good each-way bet in the opener. Despite being free and hampered at a vital stage, he ran a huge race to finish second behind Arab Spring in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, over a mile and a half, on his most recent outing.
The drop to ten furlongs isn’t a concern, and he ran really well at this meeting last year, finishing second to Pether’s Moon, who has since gone up 17lbs. It’s a typically competitive Goodwood handicap but the strong pace should help him settle better, and he’ll be hard to keep out of the frame.
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