Robin Goodfellow’s racing tips: Best bets for Friday, June 5
Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Friday’s meetings at Lingfield and Newmarket.
The forbidding presence of Ghaiyyath and Stradivarius stands between DEFOE (Newmarket, nb, 3.35) and a repeat victory in the mouthwatering Coronation Cup.
Roger Varian, the selection’s trainer, believes Defoe will need to be as good as ever to win the Group One feature for a second successive year.
‘He is a horse who tells you when he’s right and he is giving us the right messages,’ he said. ‘He is on his racing weight and is tuned in for the race, but it might take a career-best to win it because the race looks a touch stronger this year.
Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Friday’s meetings
‘However, I could not be happier with his condition and he seems to have a bounce on him.’
That seems a fair assessment, with dual Gold Cup winner Stradivarius in opposition, allied to the threat posed by the bulldozing Ghaiyyath, who can grind his rivals to a pulp from the front when in the mood.
The latter certainly managed that when last seen in Dubai, as he hammered five Group Three rivals in February, and it could be dangerous for his adversaries to allow him too much leeway at the head of affairs.
At 1m 4f, this will be the shortest distance Stradivarius has contested since landing a lowly Beverley handicap off a rating of just 78 three years ago.
That said, connections have often reiterated their opinion that the five-time Group One winner doesn’t lack pace and is capable of winning over shorter than the marathon trip he has been contesting in recent seasons.
That belief will be put to the test in this event, so in many respects Defoe has fewer question marks hanging over him.
He has no issues with Newmarket’s undulations, for Varian’s warrior has finished first and second in a Jockey Club Stakes over course and distance.
Defoe is arguably a shade unfortunate not to arrive on the back of a victory, having been touched off in Dubai in March in a messy race.
That scenario is unlikely to be repeated here with Ghaiyyath expected to serve it up to his rivals from the front, but Defoe is fancied to defend his crown with his handler insistent the six-year-old has improved markedly since that run three months ago.
Later on the card, GUNMETAL (Newmarket, nap, 5.55) could give a good account in the first division of the Class 3 six-furlong handicap.
Ben Curtis boasts a good record aboard the seven-year-old, having won two of his three starts on the grey son of Clodovil, and with the stalls placed on the far side of the track today, stall two might not be a bad berth.
The selection has been dropped 10lb for a rather lean campaign last year, but that gives him a live chance at this level, especially at a track where his form figures read 3175.
The make-up of today’s race may also assist Gunmetal, who has traditionally struggled a little in the massive fields often seen in competitive sprints. In fact, five of his six career wins have been recorded in fields of fewer than 12 runners (5-12), while his stats in races of 13 or more runners stand at a rather less inspiring 1-19.
1.15 Final Offer
1.50 Dazzling Dan
3.35 Defoe (nb)
4.10 Holly Kingdom
4.45 Delta’s Royalty
5.55 GUNMETAL (nap)
6.30 Spirit Of May
2.25 Oxted (nap)
3.35 Ghaiyyath (nb)
4.10 Dubai Instinct
4.45 Jane Marple
6.30 Spirit Of May
NEWMARKET – 3.00 Sangarius (nb); 3.35 Ghaiyyath (nap).
NORTHERNER – 2.25 Brando (nap).
12.55 Mighty Gurkha
1.30 Mark Of The Man
2.40 Miss Yoda
3.15 English King
4.25 Silver Dust
5.00 Royal Dynasty
12.55 Patsy Fagan
1.30 Mark of The Man
2.40 Lake Lucerne
3.15 Berkshire Rocco
4.25 Fortune And Glory
5.00 Real Estate
NORTHERNER – 4.25 Silver Dust (nb).