Stradivarius and Expert Eye lay down classic claims with impressive Goodwood victories
The first two days of the Goodwood Festival may have produced several results that even those with a crystal ball or time machine at their disposal would have found difficult to predict, in particular the defeat of Europe’s leading miler Ribchester at the hands of an exposed seven-year-old gelding in the shape of Here Comes When.
Soft to heavy conditions were almost certain to blame for one of the biggest Group 1 shocks of recent years in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes but the previous day saw a couple of performances which caused bookmakers to revise their odds for the final Classic of 2017 and first of 2018.
Just about everyone attending the ‘ glorious ‘ racecourse were willing the hugely popular Big Orange to a third victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup and while the mount of Frankie Dettori showed his usual battling qualities the six-year-old was always fighting a losing battle in an effort to fend off the three year younger Stradivarius who put up possibly the best St Leger trial seen so far this season, earning top quotes of 5-1 from several bookmakers including sponsor William Hill, Bet365 and Betvictor.
Receiving the three-year-old allowance of 13lb from the older horses the John Gosden-trained son of Sea The Stars was delivered by Andrea Atzeni with an irresistible challenge to the market leader over a furlong
out, of which his handler said: “ Our fella stayed it out well, I knew he’d get the trip. We’ll go to the St Leger now.” The only horse at a shorter price for the final Classic of the season is Irish Derby winner Capri who is currently a best price 4-1 with Betfred and William Hill.
Betting on the 2018 Qipco 200 Guineas was shaken up following the hugely impressive victory of Sir Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes. The Acclamation colt showed an impressive turn of foot to put daylight between himself and his nine rivals. The 2000 Guineas 11-2 ( Betfair Sportsbook ) market leader is likely to take in Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes next according to owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.