3.35 Goodwood – Churchill
The showpiece on Wednesday at Goodwood is the Sussex Stakes. This Group 1 contest run over 8 furlongs typically pits the best older horses against the 3-year olds and this year is no different. The race looks a match between Ribchester and Churchill. The former has been priced up as favourite based on his recent victories, whilst Churchill has something to prove on the back of his last performance at Ascot where he disappointed. Despite that reversal last time out, the SBO Racing team still believe that Churchill can be the top 3-year-old come the end of the season.
Churchill went off favourite for his racecourse debut last May, and was beaten into third place. From there, it was onwards and upwards – the son of Galileo won seven straight races on the bounce, taking in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas in the process during his 3-year-old career. Naturally Aidan O’Brien’s runner went off a hot favourite for the St James’ Palace Stakes at Ascot, but in a race that wasn’t run at a breakneck pace on fast ground, Churchill never looked happy. He ran well below par, and as such there are question marks over the horse. This time round, however, it should be a different story. The ground is going to be easier, officially described as good, and the horse has been given 6 weeks off the track to get back in top shape.
Ribchester will be no pushover. The horse has been very consistent and has seemed to improve with each start in his 4-year-old career. This is likely to be a titanic tussle and we slightly favour Churchill at odds of +175 with Bet365.
5.30 Redcar – Hamriyah
Tim Easterby’s on fire…the other trainers are terrified, Tim Easterby is on fire! The North Yorkshire trainer has recorded a very impressive 23% strike rate in the last few weeks, and more impressively, he has had a couple of first time out winners, which is very rare for the stable. With the string in such fine form, it would be mad to overlook his 3 year old Harbour Watch gelding Hamriyah. Easterby’s charge is making his handicap debut off a workable mark of 59.
Hamriyah started his career in less than inspiring fashion, and was beaten 20 lengths at Carlisle over 7 furlongs back in May. Was dropped back to 5 furlongs for his next start and improved on his debut run without troubling the market principles. Went back up to 7 furlongs for his third start at Catterick and the horse again didn’t show too much. That however can be expected on his third start as the Easterby’s wouldn’t want to ruin their horse’s handicap mark. An official rating of 59 doesn’t seem to be too generous on paper, but there is cause to think that the horse can improve. He should benefit from the switch to handicap company, drop back to 6 furlongs and the softer ground conditions than the horse has encountered before.
Tim Easterby’s 3 year olds in 3yo+ 5/6 furlong handicaps in May-September do very well; 26/201 (13%) for £42 LSP, with the horses winning 45% more often than they are entitled to based on odds. This is a particularly interesting statistic, but generally speaking, 3 year olds struggle a little bit over sprint distances in the summer months when tackling their elders. Hamriyah is no certainty but is overpriced at odds of +750 with BetVictor.
15:35 Goodwood – Churchill to win
Wednesday 2nd August
17:30 Redcar – Hamriyah to win
Wednesday 2nd August