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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Glorious Goodwood Day 2

Wednesday sees the match up that the racing world have been waiting for when Henry Cecil's freakishly talented Frankel takes on Richard Hannon's star miler Canford Cliffs. It's a fascinating contest and much depends on how the classic generation form matches up against the older horses and how the race is run.

Lets get the 2 outsiders in the race out of the way 1st of all, Rio de La Plata won a Group 1 as a 2 year old but his subsequent form doesn't match up having only won 3 races since, a conditions event and a Listed & a Group 3. Freddy Head doesn't tend to travel abroad with his horses unless they have a chance but his Rajsaman has to be looking for 3rd place money, he's won a Group 2 beating the better at 10 furlongs Byword and that form isn't strong enough here.

Frankel was a brilliant 2 year old and won the 2000 Guineas in incredible front running style earning him the title of joint-top rated horse in the world with a mark of 130 alongside Australian sprint star Black Caviar. Tom Queally gave him a strange ride last time and Frankel appeared to tie up towards the end of the race when Zoffany got within a length. He has dismissed of his rivals in striking fashion although there have to be question marks over the 3 year olds overall quality in the miler division, other than Frankel little else looks that great. However Strong Suit winning in good style on Tuesday ties in with Frankel beating Zoffany, next time out Zoffany was 2nd & Strong Suit 3rd in the Prix Jean Prat. Richard Hannon will know exactly how strong that form is as he trains Strong Suit & Canford Cliffs, a horse he has described as the best he's trained. Until beating Group 1 harvester Goldikova last time there probably hadn't quite been a performance from Canford Cliffs from the absolute upper echelons. He's won 5 Group 1's in a row but the Irish 2000 wasn't great, he beat the good Dick Turpin next time, Rip Van Winkle next in this race last year was talked about as brilliant but Rip was probably better over 10 furlongs and only ever delivered one really world class performance - when beating Paco Boy here in 2009.

It's a tough decision but when you take into account that Canford has to give 8 pounds to Frankel as an age for weight allowance that just tips the tables in Frankel's favour. The fact that Frankel is versatile with regards tactics will also help, hopefully Tom Queally won't be put off giving him a front running ride due to the criticism he received last time - I had no problem with him going from the front but Queally has to judge the pace better rather than going off like a maniac. Canford Cliffs will have to be at his absolute best to turn over Frankel and we haven't even seen whether Frankel will allow a horse to pass him if it comes to a battle, my suspicion is he won't.

Later in the day at 4.55 is a race that is an altogether less auspicious affair but it can be the source of great joy to those that heed the following advice. Lutine Bell has been running consistently well off of marks in the 90s in good handicaps, last time finishing behind the useful Noble Citizen whilst conceding 5 pounds. Noble Citizen subsequently finished 3rd behind the dangerously well handicapped Bronze Prince whilst running under a 6 pound penalty. From my reckoning Lutine Bell should have a rating of just about 96 which would make him the best in this race with arguably the best recent form. The ground should have dried today and will do further tomorrow which plays strongly into our favour. Being drawn in stall 8 should allow jockey Hugh Bowman to settle him in behind and I fully expect to see Lutine Bell surge to the front within the final half furlong, 7/1 is the best price available currently and that seems a great price.

3.10 Goodwood - Frankel at 4/5 with William Hill, 8/11 elsewhere
4.55 Goodwood - Lutine Bell at 7/1

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