Impressive John Smith’s Cup winner Green Destiny heads a total of 48 horses remaining in the £125,000 totesport Mile (3.10pm) following the six-day confirmations for the prestigious mile heritage handicap, highlight of the fourth day of Glorious Goodwood, Friday, July 29.
The William Haggas-trained four-year-old, who is set to carry 9st 3lb (including a 3lb penalty) at Goodwood, is currently the 7/2 favourite with totesport following his impressive Knavesmire victory on July 9.
Ed Walker enjoyed a dream start to his training career as he sent out his first runner Riggins (9st 6lb) to dead heat in a Kempton Park Listed contest under William Buick in November and the Newmarket handler is hoping that the seven-year-old can become the oldest ever winner of the totesport Mile.
A 20/1 chance with totesport, Riggins was eighth over a mile and a quarter in the Listed Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot on June 17 but boasts good form around Goodwood, having captured a mile handicap in May, 2009, and taken a close sixth in the seven-furlong Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes 12 months ago.
Walker revealed: “Riggins did a nice piece of work on Friday morning and he is on track for the totesport Mile. The weather looks like it is going to come right for us, with dry conditions forecast, and he heads there in good shape.
“I think that it was the good to soft ground rather than the trip that beat him at Royal Ascot. The handicapper dropped us 4lb for that run, which brought the totesport Mile into consideration - he was runner-up in the Royal Hunt Cup over a mile last year and has great form around Goodwood.
“William Buick sat on him on Friday and he was very happy with him. He will take the ride next week, which is good news because he has a 100% strike rate on the horse, having won on him at Kempton.
“The draw will be crucial but I am pretty sure that Riggins will stay nine furlongs, so we can make use of him if he is drawn well or drop him in if he is drawn badly - he has run very well dropped out the back in the past and is pretty versatile.
“He is not a straightforward horse, as has been well documented over the years, but he has plenty of ability. He can make himself very wound up before races and the acid test of knowing how well he is going to run is usually in the preliminaries - if he relaxed and calm in the paddock, then he usually runs a good race.”
The weights for the totesport Mile, which has a safety limit of 20, are headed by the Ed Vaughan-trained Dance And Dance (9st 10lb & 12/1), who was runner up in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot on his latest start.
Other notable contenders include the Hughie Morrison-trained Sagramor (8st 7lb & 10/1), successful in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot, Highland Knight (8st 12lb & 12/1), who triumphed in a valuable Sandown handicap for trainer Andrew Balding on July 2, and George Baker-trained Belgian Bill (8st 8lb & 12/1).
Friday’s action also features the £60,000 Group Two Tanqueray Richmond Stakes (3.45pm). Richard Hannon has sent out the previous three winners of the six-furlong contest for juveniles with Prolific (2008), Dick Turpin (2009) and Libranno (2010) and the East Everleigh handler is responsible for three of the 17 entries this year including impressive Newmarket scorer Harbour Watch.
A seven-race card gets under way with the mile and a half Group Three £50,000 Coutts Glorious Stakes (2.00pm), which has attracted an entry of 18 headed by Group One winners Campanologist, Redwood and Jukebox Jury.
Talented but quirky Group Two winner Memory is among 24 fillies and mares in the £50,000 Group Three Oak Tree Stakes (4.50pm) over seven furlongs, while the mile Listed RSA Thoroughbred Stakes (2.35pm) has attracted an entry of 19 including Dux Scholar, who landed a Newbury Listed contest on July 16.
The seven-furlong £15,000 Rothschild Waddesdon Wines Nursery Handicap (4.20pm, 36 entries) and the £15,000 Turf Club Handicap (5.25pm, 16 entries) over the minimum trip of five furlongs complete the racing action.
The going at Goodwood is now Good, Good to Soft in places (from Good to Soft, Good in places).
Seamus Buckley, Clerk of the Course at Goodwood, reported on DSaturday evening: “Having walked the course this morning, the going is now officially described as Good, Good to soft in places. There is a going stick reading of 7.6 which is indicative of the described going.
“We are forecast to be dry up until Tuesday and at this stage I don’t want to look beyond that. I couldn’t be more happy with the condition of the course and we are exactly where we want to be three days ahead of the Festival.”