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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Lil Rockerfeller favourite to make a winning return to the Flat in marathon

Lil Rockerfeller: switches to Flat under Silvestre De Sousa at Goodwood
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1.50 Goodwood
Matchbook Betting Podcast Goodwood Handicap | 2m4f | ITV/RUK

This race is a highlight for many who make the five-day Goodwood pilgrimage as it provides the magnificent spectacle of a big field winding its way across the picturesque Sussex Downs. 

Ian Williams had proved a dab hand at winning it in recent years, successful with Cool Sky (2017), Teak (2014) and Baddam (2008).

Cool Sky, a winner over hurdles at Aintree in May, will defend his crown, but it is another hurdler, Lil Rockerfeller, who tops the market.

The Neil King-trained seven-year-old was due to embark on a novice chasing career at Perth last month, but was pulled out due to unsuitable ground.

Rated 153 over hurdles, Lil Rockerfeller, who won the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle last November, gets into this Flat race off a mark of 82 and will be ridden by champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

King said: "One of the owners has had a desire to win this race for a long, long time. Lil Rockerfeller won't go into the starting stalls and this is a flip start so it's perfect.

"In the year of the heatwave we've been fortunate to have some rain. He’s in very nice form, and we’ve got the champion jockey, who is also in top form. There are lots of things in his favour."

Northwest Frontier on the upgrade

Northwest Frontier is unbeaten in three starts over two miles and gives the impression he could find further improvement stepping up in trip.

The son of Galileo beat Master Archer at York last time with more in hand than the three-quarter-length margin suggests and looks sure to play a major role.

Northwest Frontier and Jack Garritty winning at York in July
Trainer Richard Fahey said: "It looks like he'll stay all day and all night. It's well worth having a punt at the race with him.

"You can't knock his form – even when he was beaten at Ayr the winner went on to win the John Smith's at York next time. He's progressive and has a big chance if he stays."

What they say

Gary Moore, trainer of Kloud Gate and Altaayil
Kloud Gate ran a nice race at Newbury. The extra half-mile should suit him and I hope he's got a good chance. Altaayil hasn't run for a good while. I'm hoping he's fit enough to do himself justice. If he stays he's got a chance too.

Alan King, trainer of Coeur De Lion
He's done us proud on the level this season and, although he's now on a career-high mark of 92, he never lets us down and ran another blinder against Stratum at Newbury last time. The weekend rain will have taken the sting out of the ground so hopefully he can be competitive again.

Coeur De Lion finished third in Newbury's JLT Cup earlier this month
John Butler, trainer of Denmead
He ran a very encouraging race in the consolation Northumberland Plate at Newcastle last time. He finished fifth in this fixture last year and it's been the plan since June.

Josephine Gordon, rider of Cool Sky
I won the race on him last year and am looking forward to riding him again. Last year the ground was bottomless and I remember Ian [Williams] saying he would be better on better ground. He's won a couple over hurdles on good ground since. He clearly likes Goodwood and I think he'll go close.

Luke Dace, trainer of The Secrets Out
He's in really good form and it’s just a question of whether he stays the trip. I'm hopeful he will. I know we're out of the handicap, but sometimes you've just got to take a chance. There will be horses in there who don't stay two and a half miles.

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He’s in very nice form, and we’ve got the champion jockey, who is also in top form. There are lots of things in his favour
E.W. Terms
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