The younger, more progressive looking types will head the market in what was formerly the Suffolk Stakes over the specialist trip of nine furlongs. Sharjah Bridge, a lightly raced four year old represents the ominous trio of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni and has to be respected @ 11/4. Well related and open to improvement he should go well though he does lack the experience of Newmarket and this class of race. Tricorn in a similar vein is open to improvement after a slightly curtailed three year old season which ended in July. Now gelded, he is another for the shortlist @ 10/1 along with stablemate Dommersen, who missed all of 2017 only returning in March at Kempton and should come on plenty for that run. Cheekpieces made the difference to Oasis Charm when applied on his penultimate start last July and he made a successful return at Chelmsford last month and is worth a try at this trip @ 11/1. Cambridgeshire third and fifth Cote D’Azur and Brorocco are worth consideration, especially the former @ 20/1 who may benefit from the lack of front runners in this race while Banditry was improving on the flat last summer before he went hurdling and could go well @ 25/1.
With Titi Makfi and Snow Winter in the line-up this should be run at a solid pace, Titi Makfi has claims though the penalty does not help and she will have to produce a much improved effort on her seasonal debut at Newbury. Snowy Winter has some good form on the all weather and if transferring that to turf she may be able to hold on for a place. This does look a good opportunity on ratings for Mori @ 3/1 presuming she can reproduce the form of her Ribblesdale second. Fitness will be the key here, already a listed winner it is likely that the Middleton Stakes at York is the main early season target so she may not be fully wound up for this and aligned with her disappointing efforts on softer ground last backend, she may be worth taking on. Isabel De Urbina was inconsistent last term never quite showing the resolution to win at this level though she did run well first time out at Newmarket a year ago while Wingingit and Jet Streaming are not without a chance @ 10/1 and 25/1 respectively. William Haggas enters two potential improvers who are worth a second look, What A Home won a handicap at Doncaster last September and looks capable of making the step into at least this class, as does Mam‘Selle, a half-sister to 1000 Guineas second (demoted) Jacqueline Quest who looked progressive last season before finding a trip to France not to her liking.
The Palace House Stakes usually provides us with a top class performer or two with the likes of Marsha, Profitable and Sole Power winning this in recent years. This year’s renewal looks a little on the weak side and the standout horse is the three year old Havana Grey @ 5/2. He defeated Wednesday’s Ascot winner Invincible Army as a two year old before two very good efforts at Deauville and on his final start last season where was just touched off by the very smart Heartache. He is the one to beat. All weather sprinter Encore D’Or has been better than ever this spring and can be competitive if reproducing that form on turf as can Jumira Bridge who should strip fitter for his outing at Kempton and can go well @ 14/1. Mabs Cross was progressive at three and is open to improvement though she has to find a fair few pounds on the figures while Alpha Delphini, Judicial and Equimou are capable of putting up good efforts.
Gossiping won this race last year, surprisingly from stall fourteen but generally it pays to be drawn relatively low. Medahim has course form, made a good return at Newmarket and is the obvious contender @ 15/2 but he will want the ground to dry out and has plenty on his plate getting over from stall ten. Masham Star is on a very dangerous mark and from stall one is an interesting contender @ 12/1 while stablemate Love Dreams is in good form and has to come into calculations, as should Gallipoli, Right Action and Graphite Storm but all have to prove they can handle the unique contours of Goodwood. Two that do go well at this course are The Warrior and Donncha and though both are very difficult to win with, they are solid place options.
Though the betting may say different, this is not a foregone conclusion with only two pounds separating Defoe, Khalidi and Count Octave on Quickened Clear’s figures. There is every reason to believe that Count Octave may go from the front in an attempt to make this a real test of stamina and he could be dangerous @ 13/2 if that scenario plays out. Defoe is the one to beat @ ½ with the promise of more to come and connections of this one time St Leger favourite opt for this instead of the ten furlong group one Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland. Master The World looks out of his depth while Red Verdon is not the horse he once was but Khalidi can be forgiven his run in Dubai and his seasonal debut over an inadequate ten furlongs and is interesting @ 9/1. A return to his strong finish in the King Edward VII Stakes would put him firmly in the picture here.
This is a race for champions, and very rarely do we get winners with inconsistent records or with heavy defeats. Out of the last ten winners of the 2000 Guineas only three were defeated twice prior to this race, three were defeated once and four were unbeaten and none of those beaten were heavy losses. That initially tempers enthusiasm about Masar and Expert Eye so the three to concentrate on are Gustav Klimt, Saxon Warrior and Elarqam while one to watch for the future is Raid who ran a good race in the Greenham on only his second start. Read our 2000 Guineas preview here.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Cote D’Azur – 1.50 Newmarket – 1pt win @ 20/1
Cote D’Azur won the Thirsk Hunt Cup this time last year of his current mark and also came third in the Cambridgeshire last autumn, again off 93. Drying ground will be in his favour and with a lack of pace in this race David Allan can track likely front runner Truly Scrumptious and get the run of the race. Yes there are potential improvers in the line-up but a repeat of his effort at this trip in the Cambridgeshire, a more competitive race than this, would put him in with a shout and he is worth a punt @ 20/1.
Mam’Selle – 2.05 Goodwood – 1pt win @ 20/1
Mori is worth taking on here, her runs on softer ground were less than convincing last year and being a listed winner already, her targets must be set on be group races now. Without her this is wide open and Mam’Selle, progressive last season before running below form in France is well worth your consideration. Her third in what is usually a very good heritage handicap at Ascot last September, in a good time, aligned with likely improvement, she is a half-sister to Jacqueline Quest who was a demoted winner of the 1000 Guineas and added to the fact she already has course form, suggests she is well worth a flutter at a big 20/1.