Goodwood Placepot: Wednesday July 31

Toronado makes the cut in the Sussex

Fewer big fields than day one make Wednesday's Placepot at Goodwood a realistic target, which ought to pay quite well even so...

"Toronado has to be the first name down, with Declaration of War taken as a backup in case either he improves or one of the much-discussed first two in the betting fails to do themselves justice."

13:55 - There's always going to be a certain degree of guesswork involved in the first race, which is run over the less-travelled distance (at least on the Flat) of 21 furlongs. Brockwell, for instance, has never run over further than Haydock's extended two miles, but he's looked to have abundant stamina all through his career, including when a fast-finishing third in the Northumberland Plate. Consistent to a fault (a mark in the low-90s has barely shifted in almost half a dozen runs), he gets a place in the hope he sees this out. Lieutenant Miller proved himself over this trip- or near as dammit- when third in the Ascot Stakes and this surprise package on the Flat (barely bettered a fair level of form over hurdles) is still unexposed in this sphere.

14:30 - Quite an open renewal of the Gordon Stakes, which sets itself as a St Leger trial but could prove more in this case, with a couple of these having the potential to mix it in good races over short of the Leger trip. Chief among them are the fast-progressing Cap o'Rushes, who has excelled himself both at Royal Ascot and the Curragh in the last month or so, and Excess Knowledge, who is bred to excel over 12 furlongs or more but has already shown smart form over 10.  

15:05 - The strategy for picking a winner in the Sussex Stakes has been covered again and again in recent days, but the Placepot approach hasn't been and is likely to be more nuanced. You couldn't really argue for a banker, aside from perhaps Toronado, with Declaration of War possibly not quite as good as the duelling three-year-olds and there still being a fear that Dawn Approach could boil over, such is his zealous style. Still, Toronado has to be the first name down, with Declaration of War taken as a backup in case either he improves or one of the much-discussed first two in the betting fails to do themselves justice.

15:40 - Although we at Timeform would never ask you to back a horse solely on the strength of a trainer's opinion, it's clear in this case that the regard Richard Hannon has for Toormore matches the profound impression he created when winning at Leicester on his debut. Toormore and Ertijaal pulled seven lengths clear of a fairly useful rival (Major Crispies) that day, with the runner-up doing his bit for the form when sluicing up at Yarmouth next time. He still boasts a 'large p', as does Toormore, and the fact that Hannon has kept his charge back for a race he so often targets (the last three winners of the Vintage Stakes have all been Hannon-trained) only boosts our faith.

16:15 - Although she's currently favourite, there's so much going for Much Promise that it's worth banking on her in order to keep our lines down. Beautifully bred (half-sister to Skilful and Talent) and in excellent hands, Much Promise has shown that she can handle uneven ground, having finished second at Lingfield on her debut. Winner of that race was Along Again, who finished third in a Group 3 at Ascot on Saturday. Ideally, Much Promise would be stepping up in trip for this second start, but other than that it's very difficult to doubt her claims, even in a strong event like this.

16:50 - The logic for banking on Much Promise reveals itself here, as leg six is a fiendishly difficult fillies' handicap. Great Timing has to go in, her progress sure to continue such is the way she's bred, while on breeding this longer trip will pose no problems. Ribbons is similarly forward-going and ought to see this out, from a family of milers but having the stamina influence of Manduro as a sire. Finally, Opera Box is worth a try, her front-running style perhaps keeping her out of trouble and her form this year strong aside from a blip at York in May.

13:55 - 2, 6
14:30 - 1, 3
15:05 - 1, 7
15:40 - 7
16:15 - 11
16:50 - 4, 5, 8

= 24 lines

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