Horse Racing with Jason Hall

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GOODWOOD racecourse is set for a busy spell with racing taking place at the premier Sussex venue on both days of this weekend and, after a break for the Bank Holiday, returning there on Tuesday afternoon.

The feature event of these three days is the Group 2 Summer Mile tomorrow afternoon and the event regularly attracts progressive individuals with aspirations to success at the very highest level later in the season.

Last year the Godolphin miler Poets Voice was successful in this contest before going on to record a Group One victory in the QEII at Ascot.

The now four-year-old colt is scheduled to return on Saturday as he starts his preparation for a repeat at Ascot next month and then a possible crack at the Breeders Cup if things go according to plan.

He has had a long break from the racecourse and is likely to face stiff opposition from a number of quarters in his bid to double up on last year’s win.

This season’s crop of three year olds has looked a particularly good one and they are due to be represented here by two notable prospects in Strong Suit and Zoffany. The former is trained by the Lambourn handler Richard Hannon and he recorded a deeply impressive win in the Lennox Stakes here at the Glorious meeting toward the end of last month.

The questions for this son of Rahy to answer are whether this step back up to a mile will prove ideal and if the ground will be entirely suitable on the day.

The latter is an imponderable that will only become clear nearer post time but the trainer’s belief that this horse is good enough to win a Breeders’ Cup Mile later in the year means he will have to answer any trip queries in emphatic fashion on a track which clearly plays more to speed than to stamina. At this point it is a matter of conjecture if he is a true eight furlong horse but his narrow defeat in the Prix Jean Prat over that trip will encourage many.

On that occasion he finished upsides the Aidan O’Brien trained Zoffany, who had previously finished second in the prestigious St James Palace Stakes behind the horse of the season Frankel.

Neither Strong Suit or Zoffany will be best suited by soft ground tomorrow and indeed both could perceivably miss the race if things got particularly bad in that respect. However, the Met Office forecast gives encouragement that will not prove to be the case although the ground is very unlikely to be rattling fast.

It is very difficult to split the pair and if there is at least a little dig in the ground I feel it will be another Irish raider who can sneak under the radar and significantly set back the high hopes that the connections of the two three-year-olds hold for them and cause them to rethink their future targets.

Famous Name has won a small fortune in prize money for his trainer Dermot Weld and if as seems likely he gives him the all clear to cross the Irish Sea in a bid to add to that haul, everyone should sit up and take notice.

The six-year-old has been campaigned at a variety of trips. He has won seven of his ten starts at a mile and is an extremely consistent high class performer.

Unlike his potential rivals, he has no holes in his profile for this race and he is clearly the value pick at a class level in which he has repeatedly proved he has the ability to be very competitive.