The Celebration Mile Stakes is the highlight of Goodwood’s card on Saturday 26 August. We’re taking an ante-post look at this Group 2 race for which 12 runners have been declared at the five-day stage, but the field looks sure to cut up if the forecast rain arrives.
Soft ground or worse would be a big negative for the highest-rated horse Benbatl, who has done his winning on good or faster ground. He also must concede a Group 1 penalty to his rivals and he’s yet to be tested on the unique undulations of Goodwood.
Regal Reality is another of the market leaders for whom connections will be hoping the rain stays away. He is a course and distance winner but seemed to relish the stiff uphill climb at Salisbury on good-to-firm ground last time.
Duke Of Hazard is the other horse that’s vying for early favouritism in the ante-post market and it’s easy to see why as he has an excellent record at Goodwood, winning both his starts over course and distance. But those wins all came on much faster ground and he was well-beaten by Regal Reality last time.
If the three favourites are withdrawn or flop on rain-softened ground, it’s interesting that the bookies are going 6/1 bar the front three, suggesting there’s a case for finding an each-way selection against them.
Urban Icon ran a terrific race in a handicap at the Qatar Goodwood Festival off a mark of 109 and that gives him the beating of the re-opposing Bless Him and Sir Busker, though soft ground would be an unknown for all three. Look Around also has no soft ground form and was well-beaten on her only previous visit to Goodwood.
The 3-year-old Positive ran second to Pinatubo on his only visit to Goodwood but his worst two performances have come when soft was mentioned in the going description. Dark Vision has won a Group 2 at Goodwood as 2-year-old but is another that looks best on a sound surface.
That leaves us with three soft-ground winners in Century Dream, Escobar, and Happy Power. Escobar is also entered to run in a Group 3 on Sunday, and he may find that easier. Century Dream is respected but shouldn’t be improving at the age of six.
Happy Power is our ante-post tip for Celebration Mile Stakes. The formbook says he’s unplaced in two starts at Goodwood, but he was beaten just a length by Too Darn Hot in a Group 1 and was third of six runners in last year’s edition of this race. He absolutely relishes soft ground and looks an each-way bet at this early stage.
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