Veteran Escobar offers value

Glorious Goodwood selections Friday 30th July

A more typical Glorious Goodwood card with some fiercely competitive handicaps combined with some quality pattern races. I am taking on the two big field handicaps, plus the Group 3 12f contest.

Goodwood 1.50: Elysian Flame & Just Hubert

The marathon moves back to a Friday slot, but I fancy the horse that won this in 2020 along with a northern raider.

ELYSIAN FLAME ran a cracker on ground probably faster than ideal at Royal Ascot to finish third in the equivalent race at that meeting. He stayed every yard of the 2m4f that day so this looks an obvious target. He has been progressing really well throughout 2021.

He has never really got the hang of hurdling but did win a modest race at Carlisle in March. However his form on the level has been impressive. He sprang a surprise at Newbury in April and in the circumstances did well to finish fifth in the Chester Plate having been knocked to the rear at the start at the one track that most inconveniences horses in that situation. He won’t mind the cut in the ground at all today and provided he does not get too far back early, he still looks more than competitive off a mark just 2lbs higher than Ascot.

JUST HUBERT has not been in the form that saw him win this in 2020, but he does like this track (was also second here last autumn) and can race off a lower mark for the first time since that win. He also has top claimer Ray Dawson removing a further 3lbs to his burden. After a fine comeback third at Haydock on unsuitably heavy ground, his performances since have been underwhelming. However there have been some minor excuses and this track can often bring about a revival in fortunes for these handicappers.

Goodwood 3.00: Escobar & Magical Morning

A very high draw is likely to be a disadvantage, especially with fresh ground on the inside today, so my two are safely drawn in centre field.

ESCOBAR looks the rock solid option. I thought he ran with great credit to finish just 2l behind Kinross in a Group 2 on Tuesday and he had previously been a close fourth in a good handicap at Sandown. However it is these big field handicaps that really bring out the best in him, his last win coming in the Champions Day handicap at Ascot in 2019. He was third in this race in 2019 and can race off the same 103 mark as when a strong finishing third in the 7f Victoria Cup at Ascot in May.

MAGICAL MORNING is a horse I will continue to follow this summer. He did us a favour when winning that Sandown handicap last time having previously produced a very promising reappearance effort when eighth in the Hunt Cup having looked in need of the run. Any significant rain would be an issue, but that looks to be holding off at the moment. This 4yo is really only coming to himself now and I thought he won with a bit in hand at Sandown – certainly more than the 3lb penalty he has to carry here.

Goodwood 4.10: Passion and Glory

Mogul is the class act here, but he has not been in the greatest of form of late and he could be vulnerable to a fast improver in PASSION AND GLORY.

He made no show in Dubai over the winter but he has produced two wide margin handicap wins back in Britain and looks well worth a switch to group races. He demolished a solid field at Ascot recently, winning by 6l and is quite comfortable racing up with the pace which is often an advantage in a smallish field around here. He handles cut in the ground well and this does not look the strongest of Group 3 contests.

Recommended bets

1pt each-way – Elysian Flame – 1.50 Goodwood – 17/2 Betfred (1/5 odds 1st 5)

0.5pts each-way – Just Hubert – 1.50 Goodwood – 10/1 William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt each-way – Escobar – 3.00 Goodwood – 16/1 Paddy Power, Bet365

1pt each-way – Magical Morning – 3.00 Goodwood – 13/2 general

1pt win – Passion and Glory – 4.10 Goodwood – 3/1 general

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