Goodwood Placepot: Wednesday September 26

Roger Varian is the trainer of Ektihaam.

Goodwood plays host to a decent card on Wednesday, and that is where we head for our latest tilt at landing the Placepot...

"Nothing went right for Ektihaam in the Prix du Jockey Club last time, a run which is easily excused, and he can return to winning ways..."

13:30 - Pythagorean has finished in the places on both of his starts to date, in Newbury maidens on each occasion, and he appeared to still be in need of the experience when going down by a head to Related last month. He is equipped with a hood for the first time and should get off the mark but there is enough doubt, brought about by him not looking entirely straightforward in the aforementioned race, to prevent making him a banker. The one to include alongside him is Marju's Secret, trained by David Simcock, who looked in need of his debut experience at Haydock, when considerately handled, and is likely to prove capable of better now.

14:00 - Unlike the first leg there is no obvious one to place the majority of our faith in, but selecting both Mr Fitzroy and Sweet Deal is likely to see us safely through. The former shaped well on debut at Sandown when sixth to Flying Officer, fading only late on, and he should improve, whilst it is encouraging that Sweet Deal has managed to show a fair level of ability in two starts amidst clear greenness, and he is capable of making the places.

14:35 - It is common knowledge that the John Dunlop yard was not firing on all cylinders earlier in the season, recording just three winners between April and July, and it is of note that Man of Plenty happened to be one that hit the mark. The stable is in much better form now and there remains potential for the three-year-old to improve further still, so he is the first to make the cut. Signed Up, trained by Amanda Perrett, has had just the two starts but has impressed in both, shaping promisingly on debut before getting off the mark at Sandown in a decent maiden. He has a slight absence to overcome but appeals as the type to go on improving.

15:10 - The absence of Goodwood Atlantis has thrown something of a spanner in the works, but confidence is high that Positively and Aegaeus can do the business. The former made the frame in maidens at Kempton and Nottingham before gaining her first win, on handicap debut, returned to the first mentioned track, triumphing with plenty in hand. A 9 lb rise demands more, but it should not prevent a bold showing. Aegaeus has sizeable shoes to fill, being the second foal champion mare Ouija Board, and, whilst he is unlikely to be reaching the heights of his dam, he is still likely to improve upon the form he has shown in a trio of maidens now that he has been gelded and switched to handicaps.

15:40 - Without wishing to cast any aspersions against Roger Varian's training methods, I'm not entirely sure why Ektihaam lines up here with blinkers applied for the first time, as he appears to be a fairly free-going sort. I'm sure Varian has his reasons however, so the three-year-old goes in as a banker as, quite simply, he brings the best form to the table after his second-placed effort in the Dante. Nothing went right for him in the Prix du Jockey Club last time, a run which is easily excused, and he can return to winning ways.

16:15 - Eagles Peak is of definite interest on his return from 406 days off the track, and he could easily land the concluding leg, but he hardly appeals as Placepot material so we are willing to take him on. Cardinal Walter was unfortunate not to go very close on his penultimate start, over C&D, hampered and left in a poor position but making up plenty of ground in the straight. His run in the Melrose was another good one, again making up plenty of ground and shaping as if ahead of his mark. It's difficult to see him missing the places, so we have an excellent chance to double up with Rosslyn Castle, whose best run to date came on the only occasion he has encountered soft ground, which is convenient given the recent monsoon conditions.

13:30 - 3, 5
14:00 - 5, 7
14:35 - 1, 4
15:10 - 5, 7
15:40 - 6
16:15 - 6, 9
= 32 lines

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