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Five horses to add to your tracker after Glorious Goodwood

Jonathan Vine 7 Aug 2018
Molecomb Stakes winner, Rumble Inthejungle features on this eye-catching list.

Our expert looks back on Glorious Goodwood and picks out five horses for punters to track during the rest of the flat racing season.

Goodwood’s summer Festival was as glorious as ever, with several horses stealing the headlines after securing excellent races during the five-day extravaganza. Battaash was arguably the star of the show, romping to a stunning victory for the second-straight year in the King George Sprint. Lightning Spear’s win in the Sussex Stakes brought everyone to their feet at Sussex, before Wild Illusion proved her class with a dominant performance in the Nassau.

Along with the big race winners, there were plenty of other entrants who registered impressive performances. Here are five horses who caught our expert’s eye and warrant tracking throughout the rest of the campaign.

Dark Vision

The first Grouped race of the week at Goodwood was the Vintage Stakes and it was Mark Johnston’s Dark Vision who lit up the track. Silvestre De Sousa had to settle for a spot on the outside of the back after landing a wide draw, but the giant son of Dream Ahead ate up the ground when his rider asked him to win the race, powering past his rivals to extend his unbeaten record in excellent fashion.

Quotes for next season’s 2000 Guineas came pouring in following Dark Vision impressive victory. Coral have gone as low as 14/1, with Ladbrokes and William Hill quoting odds of 16/1, much shorter than the 50/1 odds some firms were quoting at the beginning of the meeting.

Although the Guineas is the long-term aim, Johnston’s stated he was unlikely to up Dark Vision up in trip before the end of the season. The seven furlong Champagne Stakes looks a likely target for Johnston’s impressive colt, with the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh in September another realistic objective.

Rumble Inthejungle

Some excellent sprinters have started their career with a big victory in the Molecomb Stakes and Rumble Inthejungle managed to follow in the footstep of his sire last week, who won the same race back in 2012. Richard Spencer’s colt sat prominently throughout that six furlong spring, comfortably pulling clear of Life Of Riley and favourite Soldier’s Call to win by over two lengths.

It was a composed performance by Rumble Inthejungle, who travelled to Goodwood on the back of a good fourth after drawing a tricky stall in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. Tom Queally didn’t have to ask his mount twice to put the race to bed and the rather lengthy margin of victory certainly didn’t flatter the winners’ display.

Three of the past four winners have gone down the Flying Chillders’ Stakes route and Spencer will take that Group Two into consideration. The Gimcrack Stakes, however, seems Rumble Inthejungle’s most likely next objective and he’s likely to take some of the best form into that prestigious sprint.

Expert Eye (centre, pink cap) could return to Goodwood in a few weeks for a crack at the Celebration Mile.

Expert Eye

I don’t think there’s anyone who would have begrudged Lightning Spear a Group One victory, after David Simcock’s charge had come so close to claiming a top-level prize down the year. Oisin Murphy claimed after the race that he was expecting Expert Eye and some of the other front-runners to fall away and leave his mount a gap, and that’s exactly what happened. Well, almost exactly.

Lightning Spear did indeed power past Expert Eye to claim the Sussex Stakes crown, but Sir Michael Stoute’s charge stayed on quite nicely in the closing stages, proving he can indeed stay a one mile trip. Whether it was a return to Goodwood which sparked that improved showing over eight furlongs – a trip he struggled to see out in the Guineas – but that second place finish would certainly give Stoute reason to be optimistic.

The Hungerford Stakes at Newbury could be next up for Expert Eye. Yet, I think dropping back to seven furlongs – a division where no Group One prize is available on British shores – would be an oversight and Expert Eye could go to post as the favourite to win the Celebration Mile at Goodwood at the end of this month.

Pretty Baby

After breaking her maiden tag at the end of last season, William Haggas expected Pretty Baby to progress, and progress she certainly has. The daughter of Orpen comfortably won her first two outings of the new season, before being pipped to the post being pipped to the Summer Stakes at York.

On Friday, Pretty Baby carried the tag of favouritism into her second-straight Group Three. Dane O’Neill’s mount got off to a good start and was produced at the two poll. Former Stewards’ Cup winner, Dancing Star made the favourite sweat, but Pretty Baby finished the race well and earned black type status with a narrow victory in the Oak Tree Stakes.

A battle against the boys and her elders in the Hungerford Stakes is a possibility, but it’s likely Pretty Baby will be kept within her own age group. Another Group Three appearance looks likely in the Sceptre Stakes, before a possible tilt at the Group Two Park Stakes over the same trip later in the autumn.

David Egan riding Pilaster (left, red) to victory in The Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.


Two impressive victories on the all-weather saw Pilaster carry a short price into the Lillie Langtry Stakes. Roger Varian’s filly was sampling Grouped company the first time and was pitched in with much more experienced campaigners like God Given, Isabel De Urbina and Precious Ramotswe.

David Egan took the ride for the third successive race and the pair made their most to close on the leaders with three furlongs still to travel. Pilaster hit the front, but was soon joined by Maid Up, who was looking for a hat-trick of her own. The two leaders came within inches of colliding on the run to the line, but it was Pilaster who stuck her neck out at the vital moment to claim a maiden Grouped victory.

While there are no entries in place for Pilaster at the moment, it’s easy to speculate where she might be seen again. The Park Hill Stakes, raced over the same 14 furlong trip Pilaster triumphed over at Goodwood, looks her most likely objective, after which Varian might fancy a trip to Ascot on Champions’ Day to round off a superb campaign.

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Five horses to add to your tracker after Glorious Goodwood

Our expert looks back on Glorious Goodwood and picks out five horses for punters to track during the rest of the flat racing season.

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