Set for a Rock solid surprise finale at Goodwood

The Sussex Stakes is the prestige race of the week at Goodwood and the superstar Baaeed will be prohibitive odds to secure another Group 1 success. However there should be some value in opposition as an each-way alternative. I have selections from three races at Goodwood, but I can’t ignore the race of the week at Galway as the Plate takes pride of place. We had two horses placed each-way yesterday with Brilliant Light (SP 13/2) and Night on Earth (advised 9/1).

Goodwood 1.50: Secret State

Despite having to shoulder top weight, I still think SECRET STATE is well treated for this handicap, considering his impressive success at Royal Ascot and remains the horse to beat.

Godolphin having been mopping up these big middle distance 3yo handicaps all season and Secret State added to the tally at Ascot, taking the step up to 12f for the first time in his stride. Whilst the margin of victory was narrow, he still displayed signs of greenness and idling in front and I think he has more to offer.

I don’t think this race is as strong as Ascot and I am confident that he will handle the track as he coped well with a turning track when winning his maiden at Chester in the spring.

Goodwood 3.35: Alcohol Free

Whilst Baaeed will surely win if at the top of his game, at odds of 1/6 he is both unbackable and short enough to make everything else in the race an each-way bet. In this case the 2021 winner ALCOHOL FREE looks the obvious one.

Given she won this race at a mile last year, and had the stamina to win a Group 1 on heavy at Royal Ascot, I did not expect her to be quick enough to win a Group 1 over 6f. Her defeat at Royal Ascot in the Platinum Jubilee seemed to confirm my impression, yet she then triumphed in the July Cup at Newmarket.

It seems she has simply come back to form as many of the Andrew Balding horses have this year after a slow start to the season. Whilst I cannot be confident she will be good enough to beat Baaeed, I am expecting her to be the best of the rest at least – and who knows if Baaeed is not quite on top form.

Goodwood 5.20: The Attorney & Titan Rock

The finale at Goodwood looks sure to be frenetic with any number of horses who like to make the running, such as Bowman and Mums Tipple – and as they are drawn low the temptation to try and go hard looks too big to resist. As such I can see this race changing dramatically late on and have two options to back.

THE ATTORNEY likes to race handily, but from stall four, I can see William Buick taking a position just off the pace in behind those two horses mentioned. A fine fifth in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket, a similarly sharp 7f, this race looks a run below that level and this 4yo has the class to take advantage.

He has been running consistently throughout his career on fast ground over this trip, including a second place here last month and a fourth at this track last summer. Whilst he is easing up the weights as a result, the way this race should be run will suit ideally and he is off the same mark as in the Bunbury Cup.

The interesting one for me though is TITAN ROCK. Representing the in-form team of John Quinn and Jason Hart, who struck with Lord Riddiford here yesterday, Titan Rock has not been in the best of form this season, but has had some excuses and there are reasons to think we will see the best of him today.

He was good enough to win a juvenile maiden at this meeting in 2020 on only his second start. He does seem to need fast ground and was twice a winner last summer at Redcar and then at the big meeting at Ayr on his final start of 2021 off a mark of 90. He surged from the back of the field that day and I strongly suspect that the stronger pace the better he will be.

His fourth in a small field at York was a decent comeback, but soft ground at Haydock ruined his chances next time. He then finished a fair ninth in the Bunbury Cup beaten 6l, coming from way back off what was not a hugely fast pace. He has been dropped 2lbs now for those runs and is back in class 3 company for the first time since his Ayr win. Although he is drawn wide, his running style means that is not the huge drawback it might have been. With the stable in-form and a fast pace guaranteed, I can see him flying home to get involved late.

Galway 6.40 El Barra & Discordantly

Front runners are often favoured around the sharp turning track at Galway, but there are plenty of them in the Plate, including plenty of inexperienced types, so I am concentrating on horses with the ability to travel, but not necessarily lead here.

EL BARRA is the one that appeals most and is the choice of Paul Townend from the Willie Mullins brigade. He emphasised his credentials for this by winning the big novice handicap at Punchestown on similar going and over a similar trip. He did race prominently that day, jumped superbly and quickened effortlessly away from the opposition.

He is 10lbs higher as a result, but he remains feasibly weighted in comparison to some of his more exposed stablemates such as Easy Game and Annamix.

DISCORDANTLY has been rejuvenated by the application of cheekpieces in recent starts and has just crept in at the bottom of the weights here.

He travelled really well in the headgear to win a Grade B handicap at Leopardstown and whilst he disappointed at Cheltenham and then got brought down at Aintree, he was back to his best when second to last year’s Plate hero Royal Rendezvous at Punchestown.

He only gave best in the closing stages after a prolonged duel and was clear of the remainder. He is only 1lb higher today and I think he is better off going right-handed. His experience of big field handicaps will stand him in good stead given the likely ferocity of the pace and a strongly run race short of 3m suits him better than an out and out stamina test.

Recommended bets:

1pt win – Secret State – 1.50 Goodwood – 5/2 general

1pt each-way – Alcohol Free – 3.35 Goodwood – 11/1 Bet365

1pt each-way – The Attorney – 5.20 Goodwood – 9/2 Skybet (1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt each-way – Titan Rock – 5.20 Goodwood – 20/1 William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt each-way – El Barra – 6.40 Galway – 6/1 Bet365, Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1st 6)

0.5pts each-way – Discordantly – 6.40 Galway – 16/1 Bet365, (1/5 odds 1st 6)

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