Firenze to fire in Goodwood dash

Steve Hughes looks ahead to the first of five days at Goodwood

Probably only second in prestige to Royal Ascot, Goodwood’s Glorious meeting kicks off on Tuesday with the Goodwood Cup now part of the opening day proceedings. However it is three other races on the card that have caught my interest.

Goodwood 1.50: Alfarris & Tuff Rock

Not quite as many runners as is the norm for this traditional meeting opener, but still competitive enough to go with two against the field.

Despite the presence of Hunt Cup second Afaak, Jim Crowley has opted to ride the William Haggas trained Alfarris. A winner in first time cheekpieces at Doncaster last summer, the 4yo definitely looks on the upgrade this season in the headgear. He saw off the progressive Rainbow Rebel on his comeback at Chelmsford last month and was then just touched off by the storming finish of Melting Dew at Sandown last time when arguably hitting the front too soon. With Mark Johnston horses in the field a decent gallop looks assured which should allow Crowley to time his challenge later.

Some recent rain will have done no harm to the chances of Tuff Rock who could be well treated on only his second start for David Simcock. He won his maiden at this track last summer before pulling way too hard in first time blinkers at this meeting. He has been much more consistent this term, just getting touched off in a class 3 at Thirsk in the spring. I thought his last effort, his first for his new yard was encouraging when coming off a slow pace into second at Newbury and I think he will be far more suited by a strong gallop he should get here.

Goodwood 3.00: Sir Dancealot

David Elsworth’s 4yo Sir Dancealot has always shown good form, but he seems to be so much more consistent and reliable nowadays and this sharp 7f should be right up his street.

He has run well in the two Group 1 6f sprints this summer, notably when fourth in the July Cup at Newmarket. However he has won his last two starts at this 7f trip including at that same track in a Group 3 in between those fine Group 1 efforts.

Typically held up for a late run, Gerard Mosse ought to be able to find plenty of cover from his low draw to help his settle and his natural speed can bring him through against some rivals who have perhaps seen their best days behind them now.

Goodwood 4.45: Duke of Firenze

Even at the advanced age of nine, Duke of Firenze remains a force to be reckoned with in decent 5f handicaps and this race should set up perfectly for David Griffiths’ charge – the yard having struck gold at this meeting a few times in recent years.

The old boy is yet to win in six starts this term, but undoubtedly his best run was when sixth in the Dash on Derby day at Epsom, a race that was run in a very similar way to which I see this unfolding. Coming from way off the pace that day, he was stopped in his run a furlong out which scuppered his win chance that day.

However given more luck in running today, the race should again be run at a blistering pace, potentially setting up for a closer such as him. He is drawn on what should be the favoured near side with plenty of pace from the likes of Amomentofmadness and El Astronaute to aim at.

Recommended bets:

1pt win – Alfarris – 1.50 Goodwood – 8/1 BetVictor

0.75pts each-way – Tuff Rock – 1.50 Goodwood – 14/1 general (Skybet money back as free bet if a loser)

1pt win – Sir Dancealot – 3.00 Goodwood – 11/2 general

1pt each-way – Duke of Firenze – 4.45 Goodwood – 10/1 general

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