'He looks serious value at 33-1' - eight dark horses for Goodwood and Galway
Seven of the last ten winners of the 6f maiden on day one at Glorious Goodwood arrived with experience and this juvenile fits the bill after a promising debut at Newbury.
Marcus Tregoning won this race with Alkumait last year and Olivetti, a half-brother to the similarly-owned stablemate and dual Goodwood winner Perotto, shaped with plenty of promise earlier this month despite signs of greenness.
Oisin Murphy is booked to ride and a big run should be in the offing.
This well-bred son of Showcasing was a big eyecatcher when third behind a couple of more experienced rivals in a 5f novice at Newcastle on his debut last month and can build on that here.
The William Haggas-trained colt dwelt at the start and ran green when asked for his effort over two furlongs out but he kept on steadily under only hands and heels inside the final furlong.
He was no stronger than at the finish that day, so looks sure to improve for the extra furlong, and this looks a good opportunity.
Yielding to soft ground at Limerick presents a very different test to a fast dirt track at Jebel Ali, but the beautifully bred Mazagran made the transition between the two surfaces seamlessly this month and proved he's a very capable operator.
At least a 12lb rise was to be expected– given the ease of that three-length success– and he rates an intriguing contender for premier handicap glory on the secondday of the Galway festival, still potentially better than his new mark of 94.
Initial indications following that Irish debut win suggested Joseph O'Brien's UAE import would be bound for Listed or Group company immediately, but this valuable handicap may well be within his grasp on his way to biggerthings.
The form of her Naas maiden win has worked out particularly well with the second, fourth and fifth all winning maidens on their next outing, while the eighth home won a maiden the following month and is now rated 80.
Espouse was a shade disappointing in a conditions race at Limerick next time, but the race wasn't run to suit and she was squeezed out inside the final furlong. She would have finished closer but for that and was still only beaten four lengths.
She strikes me as the sort of filly who will continue to progress as the season goes on and an opening mark of 88 for her first handicap seems fair enough. Stall two is ideal and she looks the only one in the line-up with the potential to progress into a stakes performer.
It could be that the mammoth rainfall that hit Goodwood over the weekend plays nicely into the hands of Ebro River, who won the National Stakes at Sandown in May on soft ground.
The Hugo Palmer-trained colt has been defeated twice since then in much quicker conditions at Royal Ascot and Newmarket, but put up a creditable performance onbothoccasions.
His best run on RPRs remains his Sandown effort and it could be that a return to a softer surface brings out a new level of improvement in the son of Galileo Gold.
Nurseriesat Glorious Goodwood are very difficult to pry off Richard Hannon or Mark Johnston, but this runner looks a ready made winner and that daymay come at Goodwood.
The Simon and Ed Crisford-trainedjuvenile comes here off a mark of 84, achieved after three good efforts against talented types. He ran well behind Saturday's Listed winner New Science on debut at Yarmouth before excellent second places on his next two outings.
He bumped into good rivals that day so there's every reason to feel handicapping is the right way forward with this son of Caravaggio. The stable are in much better form now, too.
The Tony Martin-trained nine-year-old is back down to the same mark as when winning the race two years ago and makes some appeal.
He has not managed to win since then but he is a big-race player and looked set to challenge before making a bad mistake two out in last year's contest off an 8lb higher mark.
He has been campaigned mostly on the Flat since then and comes into this year's race on the back of two very nice runs in handicaps at the Curragh and Leopardstown. He looks to have had asound preparation, and looks serious value at 33-1.
The 2m4½fcontest is so long they don't even have starting stalls. However, distance has never been a problem for2017 Cesarewitch winner Withhold, who is the class act off topweight in this contest.
Withhold was third last time out at Newbury but he arguably should have finished closer, and jockey Oisin Murphy surely won't be holding on to this out-and-out galloper this time.
Carrying 9st 10lb is a hefty burden, although a look at recent runnings shows four horses have made the frame carrying that weight in the last nine years including Hurricane Higgins, who struck in 2012. Withhold is a classier sort and well capable if he puts everything together.
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