Celebration Mile Ante-Post: Lightning Spear could be the value

A small field looks certain for Goodwood's Group 2 Celebration Mile on Saturday
A small field looks certain for Goodwood's Group 2 Celebration Mile on Saturday

Timeform's Ben Fearnley takes a look ahead to the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday and recommends a value bet.

"All things considered, then, we could well have a something of a two-horse race on our hands on Saturday..."

Unsettled weather conditions at Goodwood this week means that the field of 11 remaining in the Celebration Mile is likely to be cut down further still, and we may see an eventual number similar to that of the 2010 or 2012 renewals, which had just four and five runners, respectively.

Dutch Connection, Captain Cat and Richard Pankhurst are reportedly already amongst the names in doubt for Saturday's Group 2, and when you consider Hors De Combat has seemingly avoided softer ground during his career so far, a small field looks almost guaranteed, which will in turn probably put paid to the chance of Balty Boys, who is much more at home in strongly-run big-field handicaps.

Two horses that won't mind the expected conditions are Gabrial and Breton Rock, but both are hard to recommend here, with Gabrial seemingly having no excuses for a poor performance in the Strensall Stakes at York last week, whilst Breton Rock has shown all his best form over seven furlongs.

All things considered, then, we could well have a something of a two-horse race on our hands on Saturday, this looking something of a match between current market leader Kodi Bear and second favourite Lightning Spear.

With his 2000 Guineas aspirations unrealised due to a setback, we did not see Kodi Bear until June, when he took the step up to a mile in his stride with a smart performance in a listed race at Windsor, showing no ill-effect from his earlier problem and matching the form of his Dewhurst second in the process. It's easy to excuse Kodi Bear's performance in the Prix Jean Prat as he got involved in a battle for the lead, doing too much too soon, and he showed his true worth when producing a career-best effort to win the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last time. Though visually impressive at Salisbury, the bare form achieved by Kodi Bear doesn't entitle him to be such a short price in this contest: he certainly shouldn't be trading at half the odds of Lightning Spear.

Lightning Spear has plenty to recommend him on the back of a good fourth in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, where he finished best of the quartet of British raiders in the race. Strictly on the figures, however, Lightning Spear's best performance came in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot on his penultimate outing, chasing home the high-class Arod, a horse who has since proven himself at Group 1 level with an excellent second in the Sussex Stakes. That Ascot form - when Lightning Spear was better than the bare result having encountered a troubled passage - is a match for anything Kodi Bear has achieved and, Lightning Spear looks the value in a race likely to cut up.

Recommendation:

Back Lightning Spear in the Celebration Mile

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