By Andy Stephens
The Qatar Sussex Stakes (3.35) has lazily been labelled another Duel On The Downs between Ribchester and Churchill but there is an intriguing third contender who may upstage the pair of them in Zelzal.
You can forgive any horse one below-par run but I could not be backing Churchill at 7-4 after his subdued effort at Royal Ascot, especially as he had also been no more than workmanlike when landing the Irish 2000 Guineas the time before.
It is much harder to pick holes in Ribchester and he is the most likely winner but I would much rather be backing Zelzal each-way at 8-1.
Jean-Claude Rouget, France’s champion trainer, has had 13 runners in Britain in the past three years and five of them have won (three in Group One races), with another five being placed.
He clearly does not send over social runners and you imagine this contest has been at the top of Zelzal’s agenda for a long while given he carries the colours of the race sponsor.
The son of Sea The Stars looked a miler very much on the up at this time last year when easily winning the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly and should be forgiven his subsequent defeat in the Prix du Moulin as he was set too much to do in a muddling contest.
It was a similar story when he was runner-up to his stablemate, Taareef, on his belated return in a Group Three race at Chantilly last month but, on the plus side, he finished his race strongly after being one of those horses held up by the virus that had affected Rouget’s yard.
In addition, the form now has more substance with Taareef subsequently following up at the expense of Al Wukair who, to my eye, had been an unlucky loser in the 2000 Guineas.
Regardless, Zelzal seems certain to be spot-on this time and Frankie Dettori, who rides him for the first time, should get an even gallop from which to pounce.
Godolphin are clearly intent on getting a confidence-boosting win under their belts before the run of Ribchester because they have four contenders in the Better Odds With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (2.25).
Secret Advisor, third in the Queen’s Vase, is favourite for them but preference is for First Nation, who is a general 7-1 chance.
First Nation has a progressive profile and his second to Atty Persse in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last time warrants marking up because he met some trouble in running and the winner got very much the run of things.
Atty Persse has since fluffed his lines in stronger company but I would not hold that against First Nation, who clearly enjoyed moving up to 12 furlongs and is capable of better yet.
The Bombay Sapphire Molecomb Stakes (3.00) is tricky but I am desperate to find a bet because Happy Like A Fool looks a poor short-priced favourite to me. At no stage did she look like winning the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and this even quicker five furlongs may catch her out.
Invincible Army looks a decent alternative at 6-1. He was a solid fourth in a strong running of the July Stakes at Newmarket last month - travelling strongly for a long way and shaping as if this drop in trip would play to his strengths.
You can make a case for plenty in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Goodwood Handicap (1.50), which is started by flag.
For all the race is over an extended 2m4f, it often pays to be handy and Akavit, a stout stayer who likes to bowl along at or near the head of affairs, ticks plenty of boxes.
He looked better than ever when running his rivals into submission over 2m2f at Pontefract last time and his 6lb rise is offset by apprentice Jane Elliott taking 5lb off her back. If she can get the early fractions right then Akavit, a general 10-1, will take some pegging back.
How to bet £20 on the second day of Glorious Goodwood:
1.50 Goodwood: Akavit £2.50 each-way at a general 10-1
2.25 Goodwood: First Nation £4 win at at a general 7-1
3.00 Goodwood: Invincible Army £2.50 each-way at a general 6-1
3.35 Goodwood: Zelzal £3 each-way at a general 8-1
90p Each-Way Yankee on the four horses above plus 10p each-way fourfold