By Chris Dixon
There’s a good card under each code for racing fans in Britain on Sunday afternoon with some interesting races on the Flat at Goodwood and some excellent jumping action at Chepstow and I’ve gone for two selections at each meeting.
First up I’ll go to Goodwood where Starcaster makes plenty of appeal in the 9f novice race at 3.45. Hughie Morrison’s charge was a big eye catcher on debut when making good ground from a long way back under tender handling in a steadily run race at Leicester.
The runner-up from that race, who was also ridden patiently but for me didn’t shape quite so well as Starcaster, has since come out to win on his next start to boost the form.
With his pedigree pointing to him being a potentially smart performer over middle distances next year, I think Starcaster will improve significantly for the step up in trip and while there are dangers in a race that features other promising types, the 7-2 on offer looks good value.
In the closing race on the card at Goodwood (5.25) the unexposed Dhalam will be a popular choice and he may well prove well handicapped for top connections, but his absence since a maiden win in May and softer surface than he’s proven on place enough doubt in my mind to think he looks short enough at 9-4.
With that in mind there could be some value on offer and I eventually came down on previous course winner Noble Peace as the one to back.
Well enough treated off a mark 3lb higher than his win here earlier in the season, and 3lb lower than his good second at the Glorious Goodwood, he’ll have no problem with conditions and although all his wins have been over 7f, he sees his races out well enough to think that a mile will suit every bit as well. The form of his stable following a double at Newmarket on Friday is another positive for his chance.
Onto the jumping at Chepstow and Coo Star Sivola is my fancy in the novices’ chase at 2.15.
The highest rated of these over hurdles, with some strong form in the book, he’s always looked like horse who would make a better chaser and so could progress quite a bit this season.
His fitness is taken on trust but that’s the case with every horse in this race and given that he’s got a good record fresh and ran very well when second on his return to action at this meeting last season, I’m hopeful that he’ll be fighting fit today.
The trip is another unknown but he’s often shaped like a horse who would stay well and I’m happy enough to take the chance on his at 4-1 despite this looking a fairly warm race.
The handicap hurdle at 4.00 is certainly competitive in terms of numbers with 13 currently set to take their chance but I think I’m A Game Changer is a very well handicapped horse so I definitely want to be with him at 9-2 following a very encouraging reappearance at Market Rasen 15 days ago.
Too far back at a track that favours prominent racers that day, he also met trouble when tanking along at the top of the back straight before making good headway in the straight, despite a couple of slightly sloppy leaps at the last two flights of hurdles.
The third horse in that race, Caid Du Lin, was also too far back but didn’t knock the eye out in the same way as I’m A Game Changer and the fact he’s some out to win well since bolsters confidence.
There’s a chance that I’m A Game Changer, who has a tendency to be a bit keen and has done his winning at Ludlow and Bangor, will be better suited by sharper tracks but he’s too well handicapped to ignore in my view so I’ll take the chance that he’s effective at this stiff track. Elgin is also more than likely well treated so rates as a danger.
Chris Dixon’s Sunday selection box:
5.25 Goodwood: Noble Peace at a general 5-1
2.15 Chepstow: Coo Star Sivola at a general 4-1
4.00 Chepstow: I’m A Game Changer at a general 9-2