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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Four things to keep an eye out for on the opening day

Richard Hannon: holds a strong hand in the maiden
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On the eve of the Qatar Goodwood Festival- still Glorious Goodwood to many- we look into some of the big questions on the undercard, away from the Goodwood Cup, Lennox Stakes and Vintage Stakes.

1. The return of Tha'ir

On his first start for Mick Appleby Tha'ir will join the small, faintly unfortunate club of horse who have graced the form book after the stallion book. 

The impeccably-bred seven-year-old last raced for Godolphin in January 2016 and turned up at the start of this year standing at Lilling Hall Farm Stud near York, with a fee of £3,500. Seven months and a gelding operation later, he is back on the track in the opening ten-furlong handicap (1.50), the same trip over which he won the Anatolia Trophy at Veliefendi in Turkey back in 2015.

"He had 16 mares booked in and had covered half of them, getting two in foal, then he was sold on by the owner. He was a gorgeous horse, I was sad to see him go," said stud owner Gary Sanderson, who now trains half a dozen horses at Lilling Hall Farm and sent out his first runner, Keen's Token, at Uttoxeter in July.

2. Hannon's assault

Richard Hannon won the six-furlong maiden (4.10) two years ago with Inland Sea and his father was particularly fond of winning juvenile races at this meeting.

This year, he sends out three of the 14 declared runners: Algam, Oliver Reed and Princely. Interestingly, the last named is the sole debutant and yet he is the mount of Ryan Moore.

Hannon said of Princely: "He is a nice colt who has worked well at home. He will improve on whatever he does, but I expect a decent effort with Ryan Moore on his back." 

He added of Algam, who is owned by Al Shaqab racing and thus ridden by Frankie Dettori: "He ran very well on his debut and made a big impression before getting tired. He is a nice horse and with natural improvement he should be right there in the finish."

Finally, Hannon said of Oliver Reed: "He ran very well last time. This is a tougher race again but I would expect a decent run."

3. An even bigger day for Jacobs

Henry Candy has two runners on the card, at least he will if the weather stays dry enough for Limato, and the second also races in the silks of owner Paul Jacobs.

Vibrant Chords improved to finish first and then a slightly unfortunate second in a couple of sprints here in the spring. Has he been aimed at the five furlong sprint on this card (4.45) specifically?

The answer, according to Candy, is not quite. "He's had a nice rest, which he needed after his last run here. We decided about three weeks ago to train him for this particular race, as obviously he'd run well here a couple of times back in May. He's very well."

4. Can Tribute Act keep it in the family?

Unexposed three-year-old Tribute Act has only run at Kempton, Newmarket and Doncaster before. All very different from Goodwood, but if her breeding is any guide the track will be far from a hindrance. 

In the same colours of the Elite Racing Club, Tribute Act's half-sister Ribbons won this very race in 2013 for James Fanshawe. On top of that, their dam Sister Act is a sister to Soviet Song, who included the 2004 Sussex Stakes among her five Group 1 wins.

Fanshawe said: "She and Ribbons are two different types of filly. She's won her last two races and goes to the race in good form."

He is a nice colt who has worked well at home. He will improve on whatever he does, but I expect a decent effort with Ryan Moore on his back

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