The Qatar Goodwood Festival kicks off on Tuesday with the Matchbook Betting Exchange Stakes (2.00), a Class 2 handicap run over 1 mile 1 furlong and 192 yards. An 18-strong field is due to face the starter and, with more than half of them available at odds of 16/1, or longer, in the early price lists a ‘shock’ result is a distinct possibility.
Noble Gift (20/1) has encountered good to firm going just once, on his racecourse debut at Newbury four years ago, but has yet to finish outside the first four on five previous visits to Goodwood, including on good going, so could be worth chancing even if underfoot conditions are a little faster than ideal. William Knight’s 6-year-old has been quite highly tried since winning over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Ripon in April, but is consequently just 2lb higher in the weights and just 5lb higher than fourth of 16, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Mount Logan in this race last year. The Cadeaux Genereux gelding clearly enjoys the West Sussex air and can make his presence felt once again.
Imshivalla (20/1) wouldn’t be the most consistent mare in training, but is very useful on her day and could trouble the best of these if deigning to put her best foot forward. She was certainly visually very impressive when travelling strongly and staying on to beat Gold Prince by 1¼ lengths over 1mile 2 furlongs at Epsom three starts ago and remains just 5lb higher in the weights. She ran the proverbial ‘stinker’ when tailed of tenth of 11, beaten 45 lengths, behind Newzaah in a Listed race at Newcastle on her penultimate start, but looked on much better terms with herself over a mile at York last time and the return to further appears in her favour.
Selections: Goodwood 2.00 Noble Gift (20/1), Imshivalla (20/1)