Celebration Mile Preview with The Snout
The Celebration Mile is the big race of the weekend and although it doesn’t quite have the depth as some of the competitive handicaps taking place over the coming few days it certainly sees some of the better milers locking horns over the unique Goodwood track. Last year Kodi Bear absolutely hacked up beating some Group 3 level horses such as Gabrial and Breton Rock, but this time around there is no clear stand out on form and the market is priced accordingly.
Glorious Goodwood winner Thikriyaat currently heads the market at 15/8. He won a little cosily that day, although only by just a little under a length, in what will probably turn out to be quite a nice form line for the rest of the season. His form at Ascot in the Jersey Stakes behind Ribchester has clearly been franked with his successes since Royal Ascot, and on that alone he has credentials that could see him successful at Group 2 and eventually Group 1 level. With that in mind, 15/8 looks fair.
3 year olds in this race have a very strong record, with 6 of the last 10 renewals being taken by those in receipt of 6lb plus, and Thikriyaat isn’t the only 3 year old lining up as Zonderland is the 2nd favourite here at 5/2. He was a Group 3 winner last time out at Salisbury and won that race very convincingly. But I question how strong a Group 3 it was, with handicapper Master The World in 2nd who he was getting 7lb from, and horses such as Master Carpenter and Belgian Bill further down the field. That doesn’t scream great form and although he looked very good that day I would class it a league below Thikriyaat’s level.
I do think Toormore sets a really good standard of the race, and his Group level performances over the past 2 years has shown that he is a model of consistency. He has an excellent course record and his form behind The Gurkha last time out in the Sussex Stakes is proper Group 1 form. He does have a penalty to carry, which is never easy to do, and a horse hasn’t won this race when carrying a penalty in recent history. For that reason, I would like to look elsewhere although if he wasn’t carrying that penalty you would have to say he is right up there with the jolly’s form level.
The field is completed by the two Qatar Racing horses, Arod and Lightning Spear. Arod is ridden by Jimmy Fortune after Oisin Murphy chooses to go aboard Lightning Spear, and Arod has looked a shadow of his former self this year. He hasn’t really had his conditions though, which is quick ground over a mile. His comeback run was a good one at Ascot on soft ground behind GM Hopkins, but then they experimented with him when dropping back to 6f and he was subsequently tailed off as that was never going to suit him and his game, at any aspect. I really dislike trainers tampering with horses distances when they are clearly not going to be suited with it. Tiggy Wiggy is another example of that when they tried her over a mile but she never seemed to rekindle that same speed she possessed. Arod can be passed over although his 2nd behind Solow over C&D last year clearly reads very well and if he were to come back to his best he may well prove a tough nut to crack.
Lightning Spear is very interesting. To be completely honest I think he has had 2 shocking rides on his last two starts. In the Sussex Stakes he was held up to the extreme and then delivered too late after finding trouble. His finishing speed was equal to that of Ribchester’s who the media focused on as the fastest finisher. Then in Deauville, he was again held up with restraint and delivered way too late. Again, he was one of fastest finishers in the field. I can’t believe that Oisin Murphy will somehow to do the same here. He will love the ground and is the top rated in the field. He is adequate value to take on Sir Michael Stoute’s improving 3 year old.
My Advice: 1pt win LIGHTNING SPEAR 6/1