SIR BUSKER is fancied to call the tune in the Unibet Golden Mile (2.45) at Glorious Goodwood today.
Having marked his return with a win at Newcastle at the start of June, the William Knight four-year-old followed up in the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot 15 days later.
Oisín Murphy’s mount then stepped back from a mile to seven furlongs for the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket 20 days ago, and ran another fine race to take second to Motakhayyel.
The British Horseracing Authority handicapper has raised my selection another 5lb for that effort – but previous Goodwood winner Sir Busker is on a roll and will be well served by going back up to a mile as he seeks to return to winning ways.
1 MAFIA POWER
2 AL QAQAA
MAFIA POWER proved well ahead of his opening handicap mark at Haydock Park – and has the potential to stay ahead of the British Horseracing Authority number cruncher.
Fourth placings at Newmarket either side of the same finishing position at Kempton Park earned Richard Hannon’s son of Gleneagles a mark of 74, which was put to the test in a 16-runner affair on rain-softened ground in Newton-le-Willows two weeks ago.
In truth, Mafia Power laughed at the assessment, travelling with ominous ease under Silvestre de Sousa before launching four and a half lengths clear of Viceregent.
The official didn’t take that performance lying down and has revised my selection’s rating by 11lb to 85.
But there may still be mileage in the new figure for a horse whose best days are emphatically ahead of him and for whom faster terrain is unlikely to prove a problem.
Al Qaqaa humbled Moomba by eight lengths at Newmarket and William Haggas’s War Front colt is another who has more to offer, while Berkshire Savvy and Celestran are others to throw into the melting pot.
1 ONE MASTER
2 VALERIA MESSALINA
3 BREATHTAKING LOOK
ONE MASTER looks a worthy favourite stepping down in class and back at a specialist trip that shows her in her best light.
The William Haggas-trained mare has collected four times from six attempts at seven furlongs, including top-level triumphs in the last two runnings of the Prix de la Forêt on Longchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe undercard.
After a return-to-action sixth to Hello Youmzain in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, the six-year-old was beaten two necks and half a length in fourth behind Nazeef in the top-level Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago.
One Master would have finished even closer with a clear run and enjoys a class edge here.
Breathtaking Look, Valeria Messalina and Under The Stars are the most convincing candidates for the minor medals.
3 MY OBERON
KHALOOSY will start at short odds for his first foray into Pattern company – but is hard to oppose.
After a 16-1 second at Newcastle last October, the grey son of Dubawi had the time anoraks squealing with delight when going one better by four and a half lengths at Wolverhampton a mont later.
There was market confidence behind Khaloosy’s bid for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot last month – the Roger Varian three-year-old was second choice at 9-2 in a 22-strong line-up.
Allotted a mark of 94, Jim Crowley’s mount turned what on paper looked a tightly knit handicap into a one-horse race, striding to the front on the run to the final furlong and motoring four and a half lengths clear of Finest Sound.
There is plenty more where that came from and his new rating of 111 doesn’t flatter Khaloosy, who is expected to cope up with the step up to Group 3 level.
Tilsit scored by 19 lengths at Newcastle and has barely scratched beneath the surface, a comment that also applies to York victor My Oberon.
1 SIR BUSKER
2 BLESS HIM
SIR BUSKER has taken his form to another level in 2020 and another good account is on the cards.
William Knight, for over a decade a prominent member of the West Sussex training community, moved to Newmarket in the spring to take charge of the Rathmoy Stables vacated by David Lanigan.
Sir Busker was Knight’s first runner from his new base and got his trainer off to a flying start with a head margin over subsequent Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Vision at Newcastle a week after racing’s coronavirus restart.
The four-year-old captured the race’s consolation, the Silver Royal Hunt Cup, beating Salayel by three-quarters of a length, and produced a sterling effort to take second to Motakhayyel in the Bunbury Cup back at seven furlongs last time out.
There is a further 5lb rise to deal with, but Sir Busker has won here before and the return to a mile should suit.
Dangers lurk at every turn, with Hunt Cup second Montatham, hat-trick seeking Prompting and, at bigger odds, Bless Him all capable of getting involved.
2 LIBERTY BEACH
3 AL RAYA
BATTAASH is one for the needy and greedy as he seeks to capture this race for the fourth time in a row – but cannot sensibly be taken on.
With the obvious exception of Epsom’s flying five furlongs – and there is not a suitable race at the home of the Derby – it is hard to think of a track better suited to Charlie Hills’ speedball than Goodwood.
There are no tactical nuances to the six-year-old’s style – Battaash just tries to run faster than the others.
Most of the time, Jim Crowley’s mount achieves his aim.
Last year, Battaash reached a velocity of 48.6mph en route to justifying odds of 1-4 and, having set off speed guns in the locality, was lucky not to land himself on a speed awareness course.
With Group 1 triumphs in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly, York’s Nunthorpe Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on his CV, Battaash towers head and shoulders above his sextet of foes, and it will be shock of the meeting if his colours are lowered.
Liberty Beach and Glass Slippers, third and fifth in the King’s Stand, should fight it out with Al Raya for the remaining two places on the podium.
1 DESERT ENCOUNTER
3 THUNDERING BLUE
DESERT ENCOUNTER has everything in place to repeat his success of 12 months ago.
In 2019, Dave Simcock’s eight-year-old warmed up for Glorious Goodwood by being beaten out of sight in Group 1 company – he finished last of eight behind Crystal Ocean in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot – before a third in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival.
And the evergreen veteran has followed a similar – if not identical – path to the South Downs this time around.
A 66-1 shot for the Coronation Cup at Newmarket, Jim Crowley’s mount completed seventh of seven behind Ghaiyyath, and once again took the bronze medal home from the July Course after going under by three and three-quarter lengths behind Dame Malliot in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes.
The latter running gives Desert Encounter a length and a half to make up on Communique, but faster ground will aid his cause.
Mark Johnston’s dual Group 2 scorer Communique is largely consistent and much respected, along with Alounak and Thundering Blue, who makes his seasonal return.
1 JULIE JOHNSTON
JULIE JOHNSTON looks good under a 6lb penalty for an easy victory at York last Saturday.
The daughter of Acclamation, the winner of a Chelmsford City novice event on the second of her first three outings, started in nurseries from a rating of 68 on the Knavesmire.
That assessment underestimated Mark Johnston’s youngster, who made all the running and had a comfortable three and a half lengths to spare over runner-up Bergerac by the time she reached the winning post.
Julie Johnston has been put up 9lb to a new mark of 77 by the British Horseracing Authority handicapper, so she is 3lb well in here, and Silvestre de Sousa’s mount should once again be hard to peg back.
Zamaani has to give his rivals 11lb and more after running away with a novice event at Windsor last time, but the Crisfords’ top weight has more to offer and is feared, with Thank You Next and Rooster others to merit a second look.
1 BEAUTIFUL NEWS
BEAUTIFUL NEWS has the pedigree to make into a useful performer.
There is much to like about the William Haggas-trained filly’s ‘page’ – for a start, she is by Shamardal, a four-time Group 1 hero for Mark Johnston and Saeed bin Suroor, and one of Darley’s most successful stallions until his sad demise in April of this year.
But there is good news on the distaff side, too – my selection’s mother Besharah, who raced for both Haggas and owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, made the podium at Royal Ascot (Queen Mary Stakes) and Newmarket’s July Festival (Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes) as a two-year-old before landing Ascot’s Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes and the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York.
Beautiful News is taken to get her career off to a winning start, while fellow neophytes Enoughisgoodenough and First Lott, and experienced pair Ventura Diamond and Sarsaparilla also have a role to play.