Goodwood Cup preview: Stradivarius seeks hat-trick in Glorious stayers’ featurePublished on: July 29, 2019Author: Jamie Clark
Dual Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius is all the rage to become the first horse in history to win the 2m staying feature contest three years in a row on Tuesday (15:35).
John Gosden’s champion stayer sets the standard for this Group 1 contest at Glorious Goodwood on all known form.
As well as scoring here in each of the last two seasons, Stradivarius is a back-to-back winner of the Ascot Gold Cup over further.
The Bjorn Nielsen owned son of Sea The Stars has won his last seven races, which also include three victories at York.
Stradivarius acts well enough on soft ground, so any further forecast rain shouldn’t hinder him. He goes about winning races by doing what is required and no more.
Regular jockey Frankie Dettori has a canny knack for squeezing his relatively diminutive mount through gaps when they appear.
Stradivarius drops down in trip from Royal Ascot and, on the face of it, has nothing to fear from re-opposing runner-up Dee Ex Bee and fourth horse home Cross Counter.
Whether he is betting value at 4/5 with Betfred, however, is another matter.
A market check on Stradivarius is worthwhile though, as he drifted on the day last time out before Dettori’s scintillating form had bookies running scared. Value in the Goodwood Cup lies elsewhere.
Cross Counter and Dee Ex Be remain dangers
At this meeting 12 months ago, Cross Counter broke the course record over 1m 4f in the Gordon Stakes when bolting up.
The Godolphin owned gelding was value for plenty more than the 4 1/2 lengths winning margin over Dee Ex Bee as he was eased close home.
That set the Charlie Appleby trained four-year-old up for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
It was Cross Counter’s first try over 2m and he won the race that stops a nation in Australia going away by a length despite getting hampered.
He had to come down the outside at Flemington, but showed superb speed to win the valuable Group 1 handicap Down Under.
Although Cross Counter looked as good as ever on reappearance when readily following-up in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, his stamina seemed stretched at Royal Ascot.
As he was never quite able to get on terms over 2m 4f in the Ascot Gold Cup, the drop in trip looks a plus.
If bouncing back to the form of his international exploits and at this venue last year, then Cross Counter is respected at 7/2 with 888Sport.
Dee Ex Bee finished in front of him at Royal Ascot and Mark Johnston’s charge has relished stamina tests this season, winning both the Sagaro Stakes and Henry II Stakes at Sandown before chasing home Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.
The individual battle between Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter over a third different distance is a fascinating subplot to the race.
Odds of 5/1 with William Hill are solid each-way value for the Goodwood Cup on the former. It may also be worth chancing Dee Ex Bee in a match bet with his old rival.
Southern France looks overpriced for Goodwood Cup
Outside of the big three in the betting, a couple of older horses have claims of going well on the pick of their form.
Last year’s St Leger third Southern France is one of a few trying this trip for the first time here.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Galileo colt was seventh in the Cesarewitch over 2m 2f after placing in the Doncaster Classic.
Since then, Southern France was a length third to Master Of Reality – who split Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter in the Ascot Gold Cup – on reappearance in the Vintage Crop at Navan.
He followed that up by chasing home Stradivarius when held just three-quarters of a length in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.
While he now meets the winner on 3lb worse terms, Southern France kept on well and pulled five lengths clear of the third horse home.
Although then sixth of eight to Defoe in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, that trip was too sharp for him.
Southern France was quickly turned out just six days later in the Group 2 Curragh Cup when fourth to Twilight Payment.
While the re-opposing Raa Atoll was a neck in front of him that day, Luke Comer’s runner was a fresher horse.
It would be no surprise to see Southern France reverse that form, and he’s overpriced at 25/1 with Paddy Power for the Goodwood Cup.
O’Brien stable jockey Ryan Moore takes the ride, passing over a couple of three-year-olds in King George V Handicap winner South Pacific and Harpo Marx.
More to come from Dashing Willoughby and Wells Farhh Go
The lightly-raced northern raider Wells Farhh Go was a St Leger contender last season until injury ruled him out.
Tim Easterby’s charge landed the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at the July Festival before finishing fourth in a Group 2 at York. A winner of four of his seven career starts, this four-year-old is lightly-raced.
While he does have something to find on last year’s Great Voltigeur form with Cross Counter, Wells Farhh Go is open to further improvement.
There was lots to like about the way he stayed on stoutly on his belated return to action when landing a Listed contest at Newmarket by four lengths.
This obviously demands more and he has to prove his stamina, so Wells Farhh Go is 20/1 with Boylesports for the Goodwood Cup as a result.
If enough rain comes that the going turns soft, then Queen’s Vase winner Dashing Willoughby could bounce back to form.
This Andrew Balding trained three-year-old is the pick of a trio getting 15lb weight-for-age from their elders.
The son of Nathaniel has been quite progressive, finishing a fine third to Sir Dragonet in the Chester Vase before winning over further at Royal Ascot.
His Group 2 success on soft going there suggested that and a stamina test is what he needs.
Connections then dropped this front-running type down in distance for the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last time out.
Dashing Willoughby ran well enough over a trip that looked too sharp for him when fourth to Communique and beaten 2 3/4 lengths.
As he’s even better off at the weights here, Dashing Willoughby cannot be discounted at 18/1 with Ladbrokes for the Goodwood Cup if there is cut in the ground.