Cross Counter can spoil the party for Stradivarius in what promises to be an enthralling renewal of the Qatar Goodwood Cup.
John Gosden’s Stradivarius has dominated the staying division for the last two seasons, most recently claiming his second Gold Cup at Royal Ascot to stretch his unbeaten run to seven. He will bring the house down today if he can make it eight on the Sussex Downs, because in doing so he will complete a Goodwood Cup hat-trick – emulating the feat of the hugely popular stayer of the 1990s, Double Trigger.
On the one hand it would seem folly to back against a horse who appears to have very few, if any, chinks in his armour. However, there is just a chance that coming back to two miles could tip the balance in Cross Counter’s favour.
Charlie Appleby’s charge was an impressive winner of the Gordon Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago, before proving he possesses that potent blend of speed and stamina required to win a Melbourne Cup – becoming the first British-trained winner of the Flemington showpiece.
He picked up where he left off in the Dubai Gold Cup in March, and was then fourth behind Stradivarius at the Royal meeting.
Cross Counter was beaten less than two lengths, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a horse who will almost certainly be seen to better effect back over this shorter trip can turn the form around.
It looks like being another big day for Appleby, who also has outstanding claims with Pinatubo in what looks a strong Vintage Stakes.
The Shamardal colt has come a long way since winning a lowly novice event at Wolverhampton on his debut in May, following up in the Woodcote at Epsom before completing his hat-trick with a dominant display in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Appleby immediately identified this seven-furlong Group Two as the next port of call, and Pinatubo is fancied to consolidate his position as ante-post favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas with a fourth straight win.
Sir Dancealot can successfully defend his crown in the other Group Two on the card, the Qatar Lennox Stakes.
David Elsworth’s charge is something of a seven-furlong specialist, with six of his eight career victories coming over this distance.
Unfortunately, suitable Pattern level opportunities at his trip are few and far between and, as a result, his two outings this season have come over a mile, finishing a creditable seventh in the Lockinge at Newbury before being caught out in a slowly-run race on soft ground at York.
With a bigger field assembled, Sir Dancealot is likely to get a strong gallop to run at on his return to seven furlongs at Goodwood – and he can make the most of the opportunity.
Beringer is the one to be with in the Unibet Handicap.
Alan King’s charge has been in good form this season at a mile, but has won at 10 furlongs and only just failed at that trip at Sandown last time out.
He would, in fact, have probably won in another stride and is clearly still capable off his current mark.
The evening attention switches to day two of the Galway Festival, when the COLM QUINN BMW Mile is the main attraction.
Jessica Harrington’s Onlyhuman was due to make his jumps debut last week, but has waited instead for this sizeable pot.
The six-year-old has been highly progressive for his new stable this season, and was a comfortable Limerick winner when returned to a slightly shorter trip last time.
He is worth a shot at a big race from a mark which still gives him a decent chance.
LEE SOBOT’S SELECTIONS
BEVERLEY: 2.05 Tell Me All, 2.40 Lafilia, 3.15 Harry Love, 3.50 Ginger Jam, 4.20 Seductive Moment, 4.55 Muatadel, 5.30 Colony Queen.
GOODWOOD: 1.50 Beringer (treble), 2.25 Pinatubo (next best), 3.00 Sir Dancealot, 3.35 CROSS COUNTER (NAP), 4.10 Good Job Power, 4.45 Count Otto, 5.15 Al Messila.
PERTH: 5.45 Purple King, 6.15 Nietzsche, 6.50 Heavey, 7.25 Old Salt, 8.00 Sleepy Haven, 8.30 Roll Of Thunder, 9.00 Oceanus.
WORCESTER: 5.35 Starlight Court, 6.05 Dandridge, 6.40 Dalkingstown, 7.15 Volturnus, 7.50 Takingitallin, 8.20 Hallings Comet, 8.50 Cardy.
YARMOUTH: 1.40 Global Acclamation, 2.15 Hariboux, 2.50 Maroon Bells, 3.25 Knowing, 4.00 Majaalis, 4.30 Just Later, 5.05 Han Solo Berger.