Goodwood Day 1 Tips: Back Pallasator to upset the odds in the Goodwood Cup

Tony Calvin is backing three on Day One of the Goodwood Festival
Tony Calvin is backing three on Day One of the Goodwood Festival

Tony Calvin runs his expert eye over a packed card on Day One of the Goodwood Festival and recommends looking beyond Big Orange in the feature race...

Recommended Bets

Back Baydar at 23.022/1 or bigger in 13:50 at Goodwood
Back Zaman 12/1 each-way with Betfair Sportsbook in 14:25 at Goodwood
Back Pallasator at 27.026/1 or bigger in 15:35 at Goodwood

Baydar primed to go well on preferred ground

You will doubtless hear all week at Goodwood that you have to be drawn low on the round course. But I've always been a contrary soul - well, a bit more than a soul, but swearing is forbidden in these pages - so I suggest backing Baydar from the widest stall in the 18-runner 1m2f handicap at 13:50 at 23.022/1 or bigger.

A look at the recent runnings of the race suggests that being drawn wide isn't an insurmountable problem at all. The winner came from 16 last year, and from 10 in 2015. While in 2013 the first four home were housed in 13, 16, 15 and 14. Statistically, those stats aren't worth a hill of beans in the wider picture, I know, but it helps my case a bit, so in it goes.

Baydar does have a lot better chance than his recent runs suggest. For example, I thought he shaped a lot better than the final position suggests over 1m4f at Haydock last time and the handicapper has done him a favour by dropping him 2lb.

Some will look at his three runs this season and see modest efforts, but they have been on unfavoured fast ground - I know he has won on good to firm but he apparently didn't enjoy it all - and his big steps forward last autumn came with a bit of cut.

At the time of writing it is good to soft at Goodwood and that will be perfect for him (though I suspect it will be good by Tuesday afternoon). Those were the prevailing conditions when he won a 1m2f Newbury handicap last season.

That win came off only a 2lb higher mark than this, and that race worked out incredibly well. The second, fourth, fifth, and sixth have all won since, and the third has only run once subsequently. He is handicapped to win again.

Hugo Palmer thought he was a "stakes horse in the making" last season - and he went off just 9/1 for the Brigadier Gerard in May - and the key to this horse returning to form could be easier ground than of late, and stepping back to 1m2f in what will hopefully be a strongly-run race.

His hold-up style means he will need the breaks to come at the right time but perhaps his jockey will adopt to come wide, instead, and play it safe. Whatever the tactics, he is no 20/1 poke to my eye, and I just hope the ground doesn't dry up too much in the next 24 hours with a going stick reading of 6.5 on Monday morning.

I do think Garcia is the correct favourite and a fair price at 6/1+, though my days backing Oasis Fantasy finished at York last time. Not even a first-time hood, and cheekpieces, could tempt me in again!

Zaman fancied to put in a vintage performance

Tuesday is quite a tricky punting card, and I originally didn't have a betting opinion in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at 14:25. Predictably so perhaps, given that 2yo races full of lightly-raced and unexposed types don't tend to register too highly on my punting radar.

It is not hard to see why Seahenge heads the market at around 3.613/5. He represents the stable that won this race twice in the last three years, and there was a lot to like about the way that this $750,000 Scat Daddy colt beat two fair maidens over 6f at Naas on his debut. Of course, he needs to improve, but he almost certainly will. And similar comments apply to Sir Michael Stoute's Newbury winner Expert Eye.

Cold Stare, James Garfield and Zaman are the form horses though, and first-time blinkers on the latter after his Superlative Stakes fourth are interesting. And the 12/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook tempted me in to an each-way bet on him. That price simply looks too big.

Charlie Appleby is excellent when applying headgear - he is 5 from 26 with blinkers in recent years, with D'Bai on Saturday the most recent scorer - and, prior to Newmarket, Zaman beat the subsequent Prix Robert Papin winner Unfortunately at Pontefract.

A stellar renewal of the Lennox

I quickly filed the Lennox Stakes at 15:00, in the "too difficult" tray. It's an absolutely superb renewal, surely the best running of the race yet, and I can't argue with Librisa Breeze and Limato heading up the market at around 4/1.

The only problem is that you can give at least four of five others a big chance on form, notably the improving Spirit Of Valor, and I simply can't see an edge to the race. One to watch, and savour, methinks.

Big Orange worth taking on in Goodwood Cup

Limato will want sun and wind for the next 24 hours, and the same is true of Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup at 15:35. As I said earlier, it currently good to soft, and that would spell bad news for his backers at around the 10/11 mark as he is just one from eight when encountering cut in the ground.

Good ground will be fine for him, although his very best efforts have come on faster, but I just think he is worth taking on at the price, even if there were two high-profile defections from the race on Monday. I was going to back the Qatar Racing duo Simple Verse and Pallasator against him. I say was because Simple Verse was withdrawn because of a pulled muscle on Monday morning, as was Dai Harraild due to lameness.

The Simple Verse no-show was annoying because, while she cut out like out like a cheap bedside lamp in the Gold Cup and finished tailed off, she was still in there pitching coming into the straight and I thought the step back to two miles made her a big player.

But she's gone, and I am happy to rely on Pallasator at 27.026/1 or bigger. He has to bounce back from a poor run in May, and hasn't been seen out since. But reports of his recent homework have been promising, and I imagine this has been the plan for a while given his connections. He was a 1 ¼ length second to Big Orange in this race last year - and fourth in 2015 - and I just think this tricky customer deserves more respect than odds of around suggests on that run alone.

I thought Vibrant Chords would go well in the 5f handicap at 16:45 and Amabalis is still handicapped to win races in the 1m handicap at the end of the card, but neither are bets at the prices.

Recommended Bets

Back Baydar at 23.022/1 or bigger in 13:50 at Goodwood
Back Zaman 12/1 each-way with Betfair Sportsbook in 14:25 at Goodwood
Back Pallasator at 27.026/1 or bigger in 15:35 at Goodwood

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