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As the flat season rolls on, it won’t be long before attention turns to Glorious Goodwood. The five-day meeting was held behind closed doors last year, but fans and punters alike will be able to revel in the atmosphere as the racecourse opens its doors for the 2021 festival.
With 14 races across the five days, there’s plenty of action – and Glorious Goodwood kicks off with three Group 1 races in as many days! So, while you check the Smarkets horse betting markets for the latest odds, we thought we’d take a look at these Group 1 races in more detail.
The Goodwood Cup is the feature race on the opening day of the festival, and is one of the most prestigious events for stayers. It acts as the second leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown – preceded by the Ascot Gold Cup, and followed by the Doncaster Cup. It’s a two-miler, and open to horses aged three years or older.
Stradivarius was not only last year’s winner, but has won the previous four Goodwood Cups – making him the most successful horse in the race’s history. Could the John Gosden-trained veteran make it five? Well, he is the favourite going into the race – but having suffered defeat in the Ascot Gold Cup as the market leader, will the added pressure of making further history become too much?
Spanish Mission won the Yorkshire Cup in May, and placed at the Gold Cup and the horse from Andrew Balding’s yard is also highly fancied at Goodwood. Trueshan won last season’s Long Distance Cup and while he was well beaten at a handicap in Newcastle last month, the distance should suit him.
The Sussex Stakes is raced on day two of Glorious Goodwood, and is a one-mile race, open to horses aged three years or older. Frankel is the most successful horse, landing back-to-back wins in 2011-12; while last year’s winner was Mohaather, who was sadly retired not long after the race due to injury.
Palace Pier is the current favourite, and the Gosden-trained colt is unbeaten this year with wins in the Sandown Mile, the Lockinge Stakes (Newbury) and the Queen Anne Stakes (Ascot). Don’t discount Poetic Flare, who finished second (by a short head) in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and recently won at Royal Ascot in the St James’ Palace Stakes. Both colts are in with a chance of being named Cartier Horse of the Year. Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien fancies his chances with St Mark’s Basilica, also unbeaten this season. He won the French equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp, as well as the Eclipse at Sandown.
The third and final Group 1 race of Glorious Goodwood takes place on day three – which is also known as Ladies’ Day. The Nassau Stakes is only open to fillies and mares, over the age of three, and is run over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 197 yards. It was promoted to Group 1 status in 1999.
Fancy Blue was last year’s winner for Donnacha O’Brien, son of Aidan – and it will be O’Brien snr who will be looking for success in this month’s race. His best chance is Love, the filly who already has the 2020 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks titles under her belt. Unbeaten in four starts, you can’t look beyond her. Although stablemate Snowfall may have something to say about that. Two wins from two starts this season, including the Oaks at Epsom – it could prove to be a thrilling race.