Jamie Spencer fancies his chance on Farquhar on day one at Goodwood
I really admire Seamus Buckley, the Clerk of the Course at Goodwood, and what he says the ground is, is always what it is. So if he’s calling it Good to Soft then that’s basically what you’re going to get. He’s not one of those Clerks who are afraid to call it soft and who always want to say there’s some good in their going description. Seamus always calls it as it is. Seamus, along with Andrew Cooper at Epsom & Sandown, are my favourite Clerks of Courses.
When the ground rides on the softer side at Goodwood everything just happens a little bit slower. When the ground’s very fast it can be a really slick track and there are lots more hard-luck stories because horses are able to keep their energy for longer. With softer conditions some won’t like it, so that’s three or four that will be gone by the half mile pole, and then generally by the three pole, if they’ve gone any kind of gallop on the ground, they’ll start to spread out. So there will be less hard-luck stories today than if the ground was quick which is good.
In the 2.00 I ride Forgotten Rules who was fourth in the Magnet Cup last time. He has a bit of ground to make up on Mount Logan but he will like the ground. That just might make it closer between them. I thought Collaboration had been running well until his last start and a bit of rain would probably help him. But he’s gone right up the handicap so might be a bit difficult for him. It’s a very open race with no standout horse. I suppose Master of the World would have to have a chance on his Newmarket run. He was very impressive. I’ve ridden him once and he’s a monkey but he’s got plenty of ability. He’ll be on the pace again. And then you’ve also got to keep an eye on the Mark Johnston horses, Sennockian Star, Zand and Fire Fighting because of his record at this meeting.
I haven’t got a ride in the 2.35 Vintage Stakes but thought Birchwood did well at Newmarket. He ground it out well there and he obviously likes the going that day. He’s a Dark Angel colt and got through the ground well so I’m sure he’ll go well again.
In the Lennox Stakes at 3.10 I thought Toormore would be hard to beat. He’s had two very strong runs this year and I think the drop back to seven furlongs will suit and they’ll let him roll along up front. It could be plain sailing for him. There doesn’t look too much competition for the lead. Dutch Connection is a nice horse and he ran well in France but I think he was flattered that day as the leaders went flat to the boards and him and Territories couldn’t go with them but then ran through at the end. It looked a top class performance but I’d be wary of the form.
In the 3.45 I’m on Farquhar. He’s got good form. I rode him in his first start and he was a bit fresh and keen and wasn’t beaten that far. He stepped up on that last time at Haydock. He won that nice handicap at Newmarket at the backend of last season off a mark 7lb lower. But I think he still has a bit of improvement in him. He will like the ground as he has a big round action. And he’s a four year old who’s still improving. What I also know is that he does get the trip. Notarised was a couple of lengths in front of him last time but he’s up 7lbs for that. I have a 7lb pull for two lengths which should in theory give me the chance to turn that around. Battersea has that one good performance at Ascot where he looked a star last season but he’s been a little bit disappointing on his last two starts. It looks a nice race but Farquhar is my best chance of the day.
In the last the 5.20 I’m on board Tournament. He ran well on his first start but then got no run at Ayr. He then ran very disappointingly last time and needs to get back on track. He’s a horse I like as I won on him on the all-weather last year. It’s a very open race. I think the ground is a big deal for this meeting now as everyone has aimed at Goodwood on the basis that it will be good to firm but it’s now a totally different surface. This guy will like the ground and more rain wouldn’t worry him.