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The Group 1 Nassau Stakes is the feature race on the middle day of Glorious Goodwood this afternoon, but the big betting race of the day is the 2m Guinness Galway Hurdle one of the most valuable handicaps of the whole jumps season in Britain and Ireland.
We start in Sussex, however, where five fillies and one mare will contest the 10f Nassau Stakes. Frankie Dettori returns from suspension to ride the lightly-raced Veracious (11/4 at BetVictor) who looks sure to improve for the step up in trip having finished third in the Coronation Stakes on her belated seasonal reappearance.
A daughter of Frankel, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly was no match for the brilliant Alpha Centauri over a mile on that occasion, but she meets nothing of that calibre today and must go close. The vote, however, goes to another three-year-old Wild Illusion (3.35) who has failed to get home over a mile-and-a-half at Epsom or Ascot, but should appreciate this intermediate 10f trip. At 9/2 with BetVictor she must go close especially if there is still a bit of juice in the ground.
Mark Johnston has saddled the winner of the 10f Handicap twice in the last five years and his Communique has a plum draw in stall four. He must run well but Al Jellaby (1.50) won over a mile as a juvenile and looks to be crying out for a step up in trip, having fought back once headed at Doncaster last time. The selection is drawn in stall eight and will be ridden for the first-time by Luke Morris with regular jockey Adam Kirby unable to do the weight of 8st 5lbs.
If Pilaster (2.25) can transfer her all-weather form to grass I feel she will be tough to beat in the Lillie Langtry Stakes over 1m 6f. There is plenty of stamina in the selection’s pedigree although, as a daughter of Nathanial, she wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much. I’m pleased to see David Egan keep the ride for Roger Varian - the filly is priced at 7/2 with BetVictor.
Forseti (4.10) refused to settle in the Gp 2 Superlative Stakes on the July course, but he looks potentially well treated off a mark of 81 in the 7f nursery. He had previously won a Salisbury maiden under today’s pilot Oisin Murphy when he made all and different tactics were employed at Newmarket last time.
Lady Cosette (4.45) steps up in trip having finished a close sixth in a Newmarket maiden last time when she met trouble in running under Paul Hanagan on debut. William Buick takes over this afternoon and this Lowther entry (6f) steps up to 7f this afternoon which should suit on breeding.
Over at Galway and I am looking forward to the chase debut of Minella Beau (1.40) who won a maiden hurdle at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago for Willie Mullins. The selection clearly goes well fresh, having previously won a bumper following a near 500-day break, and certainly has the scope to jump a fence.
Cadmium (2.15) must give weight to his eight rivals in the Grade 3 Novice Chase but has looked a very useful sort in his last couple of starts and is taken to land his hat-trick upped in grade for the same Mullins/Walsh combination.
My two against the field in the big one are Whisky Sour (15/2 with BetVictor) and Project Bluebook (4.35) with marginal preference for the latter. The each way selection (16/1 5 places at BetVictor) was a never nearer sixth in the corresponding race last year from a 6lbs higher mark and has already won a valuable handicap in Ireland from this mark having scored at Fairyhouse last Easter.
The ground is described as good to soft at Stratford and I hope that the ground dries out sufficiently for Braavos (2.35) to put his best hoof forward having shown a bit more like it when fifth at Newton Abbot over a trip that may have taxed his stamina. He is 3lbs lower this afternoon.
Parthenius (3.10) is 3lbs higher for finishing second at Aintree last time to a very well treated and unexposed rival (Cause Toujours) who has been given plenty of time to get over those exertions which was his first start since a wind operation. This is a decent midweek prize and, as long as the ground is genuinely good, then he is a confident selection.
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