Goodwood Day One Tips: Four big priced fancies to back

Tony has four to back for day one at Glorious Goodwood
Tony has four to back for day one at Glorious Goodwood

The weather isn't exactly 'glorious' but an exciting Goodwood is in prospect nonetheless and Tony Calvin is here with four big priced fancies for day one of the festival...

Recommended Bets (all Goodwood)

Back Spa's Dancer at 17.016/1 in the 14:00

Back Oasis Fantasy at 9.08/1 in the 15:45

Back Chilworth Icon at 15.014/1 in the 16:20

Back Volunteer Point at 15.014/1 in the 17:30

With the ground described as soft at Goodwood on Monday morning and with an unsettled forecast for the start of the week, we have shades of Ascot last weekend in trying to assess what the going will be like come race-time.

Let's hope that we don't see any repeat of the possible knee-jerk and premature withdrawals that we saw at Ascot on Saturday - oh, hang on, Gleneagles hasn't been declared for the Sussex on Wednesday because of the ground, and Limato and soft ground winner Glory Awaits have been withdrawn from Tuesday's Lennox, as has Air Vice Marshall from the Vintage Stakes - where, according to Timeform analysis of the times, the ground was riding good to soft come the King George.

If it dries up significantly in the next 48 hours, not a big price on a free-draining track, Gleneagles will have missed an odds-on chance of winning another Group 1 prize.


But let's get stuck into the what will happen, instead of what might have beens, and first up is Spa's Dancer at 17.016/1 in the opener at 14:00.

Mark Johnston launched a three-pronged pace attack on this race last year and was rewarded with first, third and fourth, and you can give his trio in here leading chances - Zand, backed from an opening 16/1 yesterday, being the most interesting of the trio on his debut for the stable - but Spa's Dancer appeals more at the prices.

This horse is at his best with cut in the ground around a right-hand bend - apparently the jockeys who have ridden him say the bend is important - and he is effective from 1m-1m2f, so the trip isn't an issue.

His recent tendency to miss the break could be though, but if this hold-up performer doesn't give away too much ground at the start then he is handicapped to run a massive race.

He has slipped down to a mark of 93 (from a high of 102 last summer) and he caught the eye in no uncertain terms when given an easy time of it when third over an extended 1m at Nottingham on his latest start. Go and take a look at the video and judge for yourselves.

The only nagging doubt in my mind is him falling out of the stalls - it could be game over after three seconds - but he has run well at this track before and 5lb claimer Tom Marquand is another positive.


***


I don't have a strong opinion in the Vintage Stakes at 14:35 - Twin Sails would be my token selection at a double-figure price if you are interested - and while I won't be betting in the race personally then I couldn't put you off Dutch Connection at 3.412/5 in the Lennox Stakes at 15:10.

In short, I think he will win but the point of this column is not to steer to you to the bleedin' obvious. That said, I think connections may have missed a trick in not giving him the Sussex Stakes option on Wednesday - I'd have backed him each-way against Solow in that race - so promising have been his last two efforts.

He won his maiden at this meeting last year, was impressive in winning the Jersey Stakes and confirmed himself as a Group 1 performer when second to Territories in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly a fortnight ago, where he momentarily looked like winning.

However, in finishing a half-length second to the Guineas runner-up in France, with six lengths back to the third, he ran to a level that can see him take care of market rival Toormore, second in this race last year. Famous last words, but I am not bothered by the prospect of ease in the ground for him.


***

It's an interesting call to step Ajman Bridge up to 1m6f for the 15:45 and he would just about win this if staying. But I have my doubts and my two against the field are Oasis Fantasy and Farquhar.

At 9.08/1 or bigger. Oasis Fantasy gets the vote.

He wasn't given much of a chance from dropped in from a wide draw in the Northumberland Plate last time, having previously been given too much to do when third over 1m4f at Epsom.

The form of that Epsom handicap isn't strong but his earlier course and distance second to Quest For More isn't too shabby. In fact, he hasn't run a bad race in three starts here, the ground isn't a problem, and let's hope Richard Hughes gives him every chance to shine today from a decent draw in three.

***



Chilworth Icon is narrowly preferred to Top Boy in the 16:20 and rates a bet at 15.014/1.

His best recent efforts have come with cut in the ground and his descent down the handicap continued with a 2lb drop after his Chester run last time, even though he was beaten only three lengths from the widest draw at Chester last time, the latest in a line of creditable recent efforts.

He is on a winning mark at present, even if 1lb out of the handicap, and 7lb claimer Paddy Pilley is one of the most improved jockeys this season.

This time last year I would have rather Paddy the vet from Emmerdale riding for me instead of Pilley (that is the best soap by the way) but hopefully he can produce the selection late on - there is a danger this fast 5f could just find him out, hence we are getting the price - to take this.

***



No opinion in the two-year-old race at 16:55 but I think Chilworth Icon's trainer Mick Channon could have a quick double with Volunteer Point at 15.014/1 in the 17:30.

She has course form, and the handicapper has left her on the same mark after a good fourth at Newbury last time, where she pulled clear of the fifth. She has only eight starts on the clock and, being out of a Pivotal mare, may improve for the softest ground she has encountered to date.

Stick those four in a yankee, and let's all retire....

Good luck.

Recommended Bets (all Goodwood)
Back Spa's Dancer at 17.016/1 in the 14:00
Back Oasis Fantasy at 9.08/1 in the 15:45
Back Chilworth Icon at 15.014/1 in the 16:20
Back Volunteer Point at 15.014/1 in the 17:30

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