Despite missing out on attracting Australia’s two premier sprinters in Black Caviar and Hay List, the field that has assembled for the running of this year’s Goodwood is nothing short of first class with no less than six individual Group 1 winners to face the starter out of the capacity field of twenty acceptors and one emergency for the $350,000 event at Morphettville.
In a field with several noted speedsters, the 1200m race should be run at a frantic pace and this will ensure the horses that settle just off the speed or beyond will have the required stamina over the concluding stages to feature in the finish.
Flemington based trainer Mark Kavanagh has no less than five acceptors in the final field and despite not holding the current pre-post favourite, has some real live chances in the feature sprint.
Last year’s runner up Catapulted spearheads Kavanagh’s charge and comes off a career worst run when he finished tenth in a field of eleven, beaten seven lengths behind Streetcar Magic in the Group 3 DC McKay Stakes at Morphettville over 1100 metres under the steadier of 59kgs. The steward’s report outlines that the horse pulled up lame on completion of the event. During the run the horse was caught three wide on the speed without cover for jockey Simon Price. Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver will take the mount for Sunday’s Goodwood and the pair will jump from barrier three. Oliver has ridden the son of Catbird once previously for a devastating victory in the Group 2 QTC Cup over 1300 metres at Eagle Farm during last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival. The chestnut gelding carried 55.5kgs in last year’s Goodwood and only goes up 1kg for winning three Group races and running consecutive seconds behind superstar sprinter Hay List during the early stages of last year’s Victorian Spring Racing Carnival. At $10 in pre-post markets, he looks extraordinary value.
Mornington trained Ortensia looks to provide promising apprentice Jake Noonan a real opportunity to ride a Group 1 winner for his father Tony. Another runner coming off a disappointing performance, the five year old daughter of Testa Rossa is too good to not forgive one run. She demonstrated she is a serious sprinter when she ran a closing fifth beaten under two lengths behind South African sprinting star JJ The Jet Plane in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in early December. Trainer Tony Noonan is desperately seeking to get an elusive Group 1 win for the bonny mare after she was first passed the post in last year’s Group 1 Galaxy Handicap at Randwick but was subsequently disqualified due to the return of a positive swab. Ortensia will be clearly suited with the abundance of speed in the race and apprentice Noonan should allow the mare to balance up three wide towards the second half of the field and come with a whirlwind run when the whips are cracking.
The ever consistent Darley owned sprinter Pinwheel gets his first chance to race in Group 1 company, but with a good barrier and a handy drop in weight he is in this race up to his eyeballs. Missing out on a placegetters cheque only three times out of his twenty start career gives you an understanding that this horse is consistent and always tries his heart out. Jockey Mark Zahra has his second ride on the son of Lonhro and the pair should be able to position up on the back of the breakneck speed from barrier eight. Adept in all track conditions, Pinwheel will prove to be a versatile conveyance in any circumstance.
In a field where there are possibly sixteen real winning chances, comeback galloper Toorak Toff might prove to be the real surprise packet of the affair. The Group 1 winning son of Show A Heart returns to the track after having a wind operation and postponing stud duties to chase another victory at the elite level. His quality was outlined when he sat three wide without cover in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and did a sterling job to hold on for fourth place behind Anacheeva. With a near impeccable first up record, Rick Hore-Lacy’s chestnut colt may prove to be the blowout chance in what looms as a top quality sprinting field.
In what looms as the most open Group 1 sprint of sometime without the like of Black Caviar and Hay List, punters are urged to tread carefully and play the multiples for value.