Lil Guff is ideally suited to conditions of the Novice Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Goodwood today despite being penalised for consistency, which yielded success on Kempton polytrack last month, before a creditable second at Ffos Las where Daniel Kubler’s charge achieved a time-handicap best, beaten a head, following her genuine effort under Hollie Doyle.
This marks the continued weekend return of our loveable ‘pocket rocket’, out of action all last week due to being banned seven days for a riding infringement which caused her to miss the plum ride on Trushan in the ‘Cadran’ at Parislongchamp; a real sickener for Hollie given the major staying race was worth a six-figure sum and is so prestigious.
Now refreshed, from a mini-break and a tremendous ‘first day back’ at York double yesterday, Hollie will be determined to make up for lost time and 78-rated Lil Guff is an ideal opportunity to get back into the groove, which promises to produce a personal record tally during the next few weeks.
From stall seven Lil Guff needs only to hit the gate in rhythm and replicate her form on a track designed for speed and I’ll be that’s the case because Kubler’s yard is operating at an impressive 80%. That is such a vital factor at this stage of the season with so many thoroughbreds over the top as a result of their rigours during the last six months.
Visits to the paddocks on racecourses were usually a ‘tell-tale’ experience during my time on tracks; it was possible to effect a ‘process of elimination’ from nous of decades watching and observing the beautiful beasts. Of course I miss it but travel, age etc precludes sufficient energy nowadays and, believe me, walking miles daily was all about fitness.
Front runners take some pegging back on yielding surfaces and jockeyship is often at a premium; none better than championship-chasing rivals William Buick and Oisin Murphy, set to ‘lock horns’ respectively on Secret Image and Electress in the Novice Stakes over nine furlongs, which will represent a tremendous stamina test for two-year-olds on the ground.
Preference is for twice-raced progressive Electress, (by Galileo!) on a point of course experience over a mile last month and strongly-fancied by in-form trainer Ralph Beckett, whose operation targets the back-end purposely; he’s a wizard with fillies!
Should be a cracking race and watch out for both Schmilsson and Rolymolypoly; they are bound to improve for ‘quiet’ first-up runs and should be worth monitoring for future purposes.
Rest of the card looks difficult but on ‘good to soft’ Newton Abbot don’t oppose Yggdrasil in the eight-runner Novices’ Hurdle over two miles; should be a real ‘special!’
Selections, Newton Abbot, 1.00 Yggdrasil; Goodwood, 2.20 Lil Guff (e.w); 4.05 Electress (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019