Trainer Michael Appleby believes Bancnuanaheireann can bounce back to his best when he lines up under top-weight in the £15,000 32Red Handicap (2.30pm) over nine furlongs at Goodwood on Thursday.
The six-year-old, formerly trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger, ran one of his best races of last season when a neck second in a competitive mile handicap at Glorious Goodwood in July, the Poker at Bet365 Handicap, and went on to finish fourth in the valuable Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September.
He has failed to reproduce that form in two starts this season but Appleby is hoping a return to Goodwood will see the six-year-old show some of his old sparkle.
Appleby said: “Bancnuanaheireann is in good form. I don’t think Ripon really suited him last time but he ran really well at Goodwood last season when he just got touched off.
“He has got a lot of weight to carry on Thursday (10st) and that’s a bit of a concern but I do think he will run a big race. He is 16.2 hands so he will carry the weight.
“He was fourth in the Cambridgeshire over a mile and one so the trip won’t be a problem but I just hope they don’t get too much rain - that won’t suit.”
Bancnuanaheireann, partnered by Tom Queally, takes on eight opponents including the Mark Johnston-trained Enzaal, who won at Wolverhampton on April 22, and the useful performer Lucky Henry from the stable of Clive Cox.
A seven-race card at Goodwood on Thursday is topped and tailed by two potentially informative maidens. Racing starts at 1.55pm with the Goodwood Business Club Maiden (10 runners) over a mile and Morpheus, a half-brother to the mighty Frankel, will be looking to get off the mark for Sir Henry Cecil after encouraging efforts at Nottingham and Newmarket. Frankel, winner of two successive QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, was rated the best horse ever last year.
Cecil also runs Squire Osbaldeston in the concluding Three Friday Nights Maiden (5.15pm, 10 runners) over a mile and a half. The son of Mr Greeley holds an entry in the Investec Derby and ran a promising race when fourth on his seasonal return at Newbury on April 20. He will clash again with Shwaiman, who was one place ahead of him at Newbury.
Hayley Turner, Britain’s top female jockey who is the Racing Ambassador of Goodwood Racecourse for 2013, has her first rides at the beautiful Sussex course this year on Thursday.
She partners Enobled, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, in the Goodwood Business Club Maiden and the unbeaten James Fanshawe-trained Ribbons in the Nissan Innovation And Excitement Fillies’ Handicap (3.30pm).
Goodwood staged its first fixture of the season on Opening Saturday, May 4, which saw an increase in attendance over the previous year and Kieren Fallon stole the show with a treble.
One of Britain’s leading jockeys, Fallon celebrated his 100th winner at Goodwood on Opening Saturday when successful on the Luca Cumani-trained Khione (4/1) in the Listed 12-furlong Betfred The Bonus King EBF Daisy Warwick Stakes.
Not content with just one winner on the day, Fallon enjoyed two more successes, in the next two races, for a 136.5/1 treble.
His other victories came on George Guru (10/1), trained by Michael Attwater at Epsom, in the seven-furlong Betfred Mobile Lotto Handicap and on Duke Of Firenze (6/4 favourite), trained by Sir Michael Stoute, in the five-furlong Betfred Mobile Sports Handicap.
Fallon, 48, has been champion jockey six times in Britain. His biggest successes at Goodwood have come in the Sussex Stakes (Ali-Royal 1997) and the Nassau Stakes (Islington 2002, Russian Rhythm 2003 & Favourable Terms 2004).
The going at Goodwood is currently good to firm. Seamus Buckley, Clerk of the Course, reported today: “We had a great start to the season on Saturday, which was very satisfying. It was nice, fast Flat racing ground without any jar which is always our aim at Goodwood.
“The course remains in great condition ahead of racing on Thursday and the May Festival later this month.”
See our tips for the meeting on this website on Thursday morning