Goodwood Celebration Mile tips – Runner-by-runner preview of Saturday’s Group Two main event

We take a runner-by-runner look at Saturday’s feature race at Goodwood and reveal our Celebration Mile tips for the Group Two weekend highlight.

Just a few weeks on from the recent Glorious Goodwood Festival we return on Saturday to the Sussex track for another classy Group Two contest on Saturday with the latest renewal of the Celebration Mile which goes to post at 3.35pm and is the fifth race of the afternoon at the premier venue.

A field of seven runners have stood their ground to contest for the near-£35,000 first prize to the winner with defending champion Duke Of Hazzard featuring amongst the acceptors for the race.

Armchair punters can catch the action live on ITV Racing with the Group Two feature race spearheading Saturday’s televised coverage and we take a runner-by-runner look at the big race field where we reveal our Celebration Mile tips for the highlight.

GOODWOOD CELEBRATION MILE TIPS – RUNNER BY RUNNER GUIDE

REGAL REALITY


Very smart performer and relatively low-mileage still for a five-year old so may yet have more to offer.

Sir Michael Stoute’s charge boasts course and distance winning form having taken the 2018 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes before running well in defeat in runs behind Here Comes When and Mustashry.

The Intello gelding continued in form last term, scoring at Sandown and then finishing third to Enable in the Coral Eclipse Stakes although he disappointed in the second half of the campaign.

He has been running well this term, building on an encouraging return at Ascot in the Wolferton Stakes to shape better than the bare result behind the impressive Ghaiyyath in the Coral Eclipse Stakes and York Stakes respectively behind Aspetar; he got back on the winning trail latest with a ready victory over Beat Le Bon at Salisbury, sharpened up by a visor.

Headgear is retained here and Ryan Moore returns to the saddle for the first time since steering him to Sandown success last May. He has to be respected but may ideally prefer better ground however to be seen at his best.

BENBATL


Top-class globe-trotting entire who made a winning reappearance last campaign with success at Newmarket in the Shadwell Joel Stakes, his first run in eleven months since chasing home Winx in the Cox Plate.

The Godolphin runner then headed to the Emirates where he was impressive in successive starts at Meydan and he lost no caste in defeat when third to Maximum Security in the Saudi Derby where he was beaten three lengths.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubawi entire could prove a different class to this field of rivals if pitching up here with his best form and the dual-Group One winner goes very well fresh so lack of a run is not a negative.

What is a negative however is the likely ground which may not be quick enough for him and he’s disappointed before when conditions have rode on the slow side of good. Drying ground will certainly enhance his claims though and the classy performer is afforded plenty of respect given his obvious class in this field.

Benbatl makes his return in Saturday's Goodwood Celebration Mile.

Benbatl makes his return in Saturday’s Goodwood Celebration Mile.

DUKE OF HAZZARD


Took this prize twelve months ago, beating Turgenev to extend his unbeaten record here to three wins, landing a hat-trick of successes in the process having scored at Listed and Group Three level previously.

Paul Cole’s charge needed his first run back in June when beating only two home behind Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes during Royal Ascot; but he built on that reappearance to make the frame in successive starts, finishing third to Mohaather in the Summer Mile and then finding only Space Blues too good over this course and distance, relinquishing his unbeaten record here although it was another solid run from the Lope De Vega colt.

Disappointing latest when failing to beat a rival home at Salisbury behind Regal Reality, he raced too freely on that occasion and was a spent force with the run possibly just coming soon enough after his earlier exertions here.

Better can be expected from him here with more of a break under his belt, but he’s another who wouldn’t want the ground to be too soft.

CENTURY DREAM


Multiple soft-ground winner earlier in his career as a handicapper but proved progressive during the 2018 season, making the frame in Group One contests including when a close third to Roaring Lion in the QEII Stakes.

He wasn’t at his best last term following a spell in the Emirates although he was better for his reappearance at Ascot in last season’s QEII Stakes when going close behind Roseman at Newmarket and then when tried in a French Listed contest.

Having undergone wind surgery in the wake of that run, Simon Crisford’s charge made an impressive reappearance at Newbury to claim the Group Three Diomed Stakes, beating King Of Comedy, and he has since finished a creditable fifth to Persian King in the Prix d’Ispahan over further than this distance.

The drop back to one mile won’t be an issue and any easing of the ground will be in his favour. While he probably has a shade more to find he’s entitled to be there or thereabouts if putting his best foot forward.

Goodwood Celebration Mile tips. Can Century Dream win Saturday’s Group Two feature?

SIR BUSKER


Progressive sort who continues to run well and William Knight’s charge almost snatched an unlikely win at York last week when denied only by a neck behind Montatham.

A dual-winner earlier in the campaign which included victory in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup, he endured a hopeless run here in the Golden Mile where he was constantly denied any daylight and a line can be struck through that performance.

He was right back to his best latest, finding only one too good despite racing on the unfavoured part of the track, finishing strongly from well off the pace to almost claim the victory.

He likely would have won in another few strides and for all this is a much tougher test of his credentials now stepping out of handicaps and into a strong Group Two he can continue to give a good account of himself although it remains to be seen whether he’s quite up to this much higher grade.

His ever-rising handicap mark would likely see him pitched into Pattern company before too much longer given his consistently solid runs but he does look to have a bit to find taking on proven Group performers now.

URBAN ICON


Lightly-raced sort for a four-year old who has shown some good form since his juvenile days where he won twice.

Last campaign saw him fail to win, but he ran well in defeat in Pattern company including behind defending champion Duke Of Hazzard at Newmarket on his final start in a Listed contest at Newmarket.

Off for eight months following that run, he was an all-weather scorer at Wolverhampton in March, taking the Lady Wulfruna Stakes and was far from disgraced back from lockdown when finishing seventh to Space Blues at Haydock.

Richard Hannon’s Cityscape colt has finished runner-up in two of his next three starts, latterly meeting trouble in running when finding only Prompting too good here in the Golden Mile and he can give a good account here although bare form leaves him with a bit to find while the likelihood of softer ground isn’t ideal.

Trainer Richard Hannon will saddle Urban Icon in Saturday’s big race, the Celebration Mile.

POSITIVE


The outsider of the seven remaining entries, Clive Cox’s charge is the sole three-year old in the race and wasn’t beaten far behind Regal Reality when last seen contesting the Sovereign Stakes at Goodwood where he finished third.

The Dutch Art colt kept good company as a juvenile, locking horns with the likes of Pinatubo and Kameko, beating the 2000 Guineas winner at Sandown in the Solario Stakes before possibly failing to handle softer conditions at Newmarket in the Dewhurst.

He has continued to keep a good level this term, finishing fourth to Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes on his return and then possibly stretched by the extra furlong behind Persian King in the Prix d’Ispahan on his next outing.

Back at one mile for his last outing he posted that solid Salisbury effort where he was beaten around four lengths and connections now try cheekpieces as opposed to the blinkers he wore last time. Not dismissed on the pick of his juvenile form, he could have further improvement to come and gets weight all round from this field.

Softer ground though would also be a worry for him and he probably has a bit to find in any case with this field of older rivals.

VERDICT


The weather could hold the key with rain forecast ahead of post-time and any softening of the ground could make life tougher for a couple of these with both Regal Reality and Benbatl better on a less testing surface.

Course specialist Duke Of Hazzard has to be respected given his record here but might also prefer better ground so CENTURY DREAM gets the vote with no qualms over the likely conditions and Simon Crisford’s charge can get back on the scoresheet.

The Cape Cross entire has winning form on soft and heavy ground and has proven himself at this higher level, placing in Group Ones at Ascot and Meydan and striking on his reappearance at Newbury in June.

Better than the bare result in the Prix d’Ispahan when last seen out he can give a good account in this open renewal of the Celebration Mile and if the ground does cut up then his proven ability to handle softer conditions will prove a big positive to his chances.

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