'We're hoping for a bold run' - leading trainers on their Golden Mile contenders
Friday: 3.00 Goodwood
Unibet Golden Mile Handicap | 1m | 3yo+ | ITV/RTV
There will be a lot of talk about the draw for Saturday's Stewards' Cup and consolation but the Golden Mile is also a well established draw race and lower-numbered stalls are highly favoured, not only in terms of winners but on virtually every metric you wish to examine.
The principal reason is that there is a false rail in place for the first three days of the festival, but on Friday that is removed and the track is reduced to its tightest configuration. The home bend is therefore sharper on Friday and Saturday than it is at any other point during the week.
Higher-drawn runners are then faced with a conundrum because if you stay wide you end up running a lot further around the sharper bend than those on the inside but, if you drop in and take a sit in behind, there is no longer the cutaway to give extra room to race in the straight.
Goodwood is well known for being prone to producing rough races with trouble in running and the likelihood of that is greater as the false rail goes and the cutaway disappears.
This year there might be an added dimension to the bias because the going for the opening day of this week's Goodwood Festival was the softest it has been this century and, even after it has dried out, three days of racing might have churned the ground more than in most years.
Therefore, the fresh strip of ground opened up by the removal of the false rail might also be the quickest part of the track and low-drawn runners will be best placed to take advantage.
Horses in single figures might dominate and the drying ground should bring Johan (drawn two), Path Of Thunder (three), Maydanny (five) and Orbaan (six).
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
Magical Morning out to confirm Sandown form
Magical Morning arrives at Goodwood on the back of two fine starts this season following a gelding operation and is the sole runner of the card for the powerful John and Thady Gosden yard.
Found wanting in Listed class last season, the son of Muhaarar looks to have his feet in the handicap ranks and performed admirably on his first start this season when eighth in the Royal Hunt Cup.
He followed that with a cosy success over Maydanny in the Coral Challenge at Sandown, his first racecourse success since taking a novice at Doncaster in June 2020.
That same rival reopposes this time but is now 6lb better off at the weights as the pair get set to lock horns in what is traditionally one of the hottest handicaps of the week.
John Gosden said: "He won very nicely at Sandown and showed a great attitude to get the job done there after a nice run at Ascot. He's drawn in the middle but you need luck in running around Goodwood – especially in the straight.
"We're hoping for a bold run from him provided we get a clear run. We wouldn't want too much rain for him but we get is what we get."
What they say
Richard Hannon, trainer of Qaysar
He's a model of consistency as his form will tell you and he'll absolutely love the ground if it stays softer than good. I think the return to handicap company is a big plus. He's back off a winning mark and could be well drawn up against the stands' side rail.
William Haggas, trainer of Johan
He's got a lovely draw. I thought he was quite harshly penalised for winning at Salisbury, going up 4lb. He's very well and very genuine so should run a good race.
David O'Meara, trainer of Escobar, Orbaan, Rhoscolyn, Hortzadar and Shelir
Escobar ran a nice race in the Lennox the other day – he loves Goodwood. He didn't have a really hard race so should be fine. Shelir ran very well at Ayr recently when beaten narrowly by Marie's Diamond. Any cut in ground will suit Hortzadar and Sean Kirrane takes the ride who got a good tune out of him in the Lincoln. Orbaan is another who likes a bit a cut in ground and could go well if getting some cover. Rhoscolyn ran a hell of a race at Pontefract and he's won at Goodwood before so should handle the track well.
Hugo Palmer, trainer of Acquitted
Consistency is the stick that the handicapper beats us with unfortunately so he's going to have to produce a career-best performance by some margin. They should go a good gallop and he's in great nick but everything will have to go right, particularly at Goodwood.
William Muir, joint-trainer of Epic Endeavour
He ran well on Wednesday from an impossible draw and only got beaten by four lengths. He's not got a very good draw again so it's the same sort of situation, whether we drop in or ride him a little bit differently I don't know but he's capable of winning one of these big races.
Reporting by Tom Ward
Friday's race previews:
For all our exclusive free bet offers and must-have daily promotions click the free bets button or go to racingpost.com/freebets