Why Saturday's big staying handicap can remain a Mark Johnston benefit
Unibet Summer Handicap (Class 2) | 1m6f | 3yo+ | ITV/RTV
Mark Johnston's recent record in this race should come as no surprise. A staying handicap at the Goodwood festival is design-your-own-race stuff for Johnston, who has won three of the last five runnings.
The most recent was King's Advice last year, who was on a roll at the time and returns from a 4lb lower mark. He still carries top weight, something three of the last four winners have had in common.
The record of topweights is not some sort of magic charm unique to this race, but it does hint at something beneath the surface: a lack of truly progressive sorts. Although the race is open to three-year-olds, it is ten years since such a young horse ran in the race.
This is probably something to do with the high standard of the race, which is Ebor-like. The average winning RPR over the last ten years has been 111. That is basically Listed class and just 1lb below the Ebor, which is now worth nearly ten times as much, over the same period.
King's Advice is admittedly the lowest-rated top weight in six years. The progressive choice, Laafy, is only 3lb off King's Advice and behind only him and his stablemate, course winner Themaxwecan, in terms of weight to carry. He has gone up 12lb for his two runs this year, the latter of which coming when he was just touched off in the Old Newton Cup. He has already won over this far, in heavy ground, so stamina will be no issue.
Keith Melrose, betting editor
What they say
James Given, trainer of Indianapolis
He ran a solid race at Ripon last time and was doing all his best work at the end. This will be the furthest he has been but we've been riding him with a bit more restraint and it seems to be working.
Richard Hughes, trainer of Calling The Wind
I'll check the ground tomorrow but at the moment it's looking like it will be too quick. It's a shame as it looks the perfect race for him.
Harry Bentley, rider of Hochfeld
Mark Johnston has a fantastic strike-rate at Goodwood and he has won over this distance before. He was fourth at Sandown last time, where he wasn't beaten too far, but he probably needs to step up slightly on previous form.
Gary Moore, trainer of Quloob
We're hoping the track will suit him and there aren't too many negatives. He's in good form after running ran a nice race at Ascot last time and the drop back in trip should help.
Richard Hannon, trainer of Mordred
We're going a little further than he normally goes and we'll ride him to get the trip. He's a talented horse with plenty of ability and if he settles he might get it.
Reporting by Andrew Dietz