Be foolish to rule out our Barbury veterans at Goodwood
We had no luck with Beringer at Goodwood on Tuesday, so we’ll be hoping that Dame Fortune deals us a better hand for our two-pronged attack on the 14-furlong handicap on the final day of the Glorious meeting tomorrow.
Top Tug and Scarlet Dragon are our representatives, and, while the market suggests that they’ll do well to manage a place in what looks a hugely competitive race, both are talented individuals who are well capable of getting in the money if they take their A-game down to Sussex.
The handicappers have long memories and Top Tug has been beaten 12 times since he scored his last success over this same and course and distance and on similarly fast ground 26 months ago.
However, the official assessor has finally relented and this is the first time that Top Tug has dropped below the 100 mark since that victory, and also the first time that Ryan Moore has ridden the evergreen eight-year-old since he joined us at Barbury at the end of 2016.
Not that Ryan is unfamiliar with Top Tug. He rode him regularly when the horse was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and was aboard when Top Tug won his first race at Kempton six years ago, beating the subsequent UAE Derby winner Toast of New York.
Top Tug comes here relatively fresh, having had just the two races this season, He ran really well behind recent King George runner-up Crystal Ocean in the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury in April and was not disgraced in the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot, but going back up in distance will suit the old horse better.
In contrast, Scarlet Dragon’s stamina has to be taken on trust. He has never tried this trip on the Flat, though he does have a two-mile hurdle win at Huntingdon on his CV, and with patient riding tactics he has good prospects of lasting home.
Unlike Top Tug, the ground could also be questionable for Scarlet Dragon, whose best recent run on the Flat was his third to Morando when there was plenty of ease in the going in last year’s St Simon Stakes at Newbury.
However, there is no doubting that he does possess a potent finishing kick, so if Tom Marquand still has petrol in the tank at the two-pole then who knows.
Our other runner tomorrow is two-year-old debutant Duke of Condicote at Doncaster. He was bought for £46,000 at Ascot Sales last autumn, and his American sire, No Nay Never, has been responsible for not only impressive July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns but also Coolmore’s smart Coventry Stakes hero from Royal Ascot in Arizona. We can all dream.