The Qatar Goodwood Cup is a Group 1 contest over 2 miles at 3.35 at Goodwood on Tuesday, July 31st. Here we take a look at the main contenders and reveal a strong fancy to win the race.

Idaho

Aidan O’ Brien sends over a sole representative from Ballydoyle in the shape of the five year old Idaho. Generally available around the 8/1 mark, this full brother to the brilliant Highland Reel has mostly plied his trade in Group 1 company over 12 furlongs. A second place finish in the Irish Derby and a third in the Epsom equivalent are evidence of his undoubted class.

Those runs were as a three year old though and as a four year old he largely failed to progress from those efforts. Exceptions were a good win in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over 12 furlongs at Ascot and a third place finish in the King George. He also ran a solid race for fifth in the Japan Cup, again a Group 1 over 12 furlongs.

So far as a five year old he has ran four times, and except for a good win over an extended one mile and five furlongs in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester in May, he has been very disappointing. Another worry has been that, for all of his last three runs, this full horse has sweated up badly before his races.  This was something his brother Highland Reel always did and it didn’t affect that one, but Idaho himself wasn’t especially prone to sweating so profusely prior to this year. It’s a worry.

He also of course has the step up in trip to deal with. If he relaxes I would give him a good chance of getting home, especially as the yard has of course done so exceptionally well in the past with turning ex-Derby horses into staying superstars. I do however find it hard to see Idaho continuing that thread. He has a chance and is the class act of the race for sure, but personally I would look elsewhere for the winner of this years Qatar Goodwood Cup.

Torcedor

Another strong challenger from Ireland is the Jessica Harrington trained Torcedor. This cheekpiece wearing six year old has progressed relentlessly since joining Harrington early last year. He ended last season with two very solid seconds to Order of St. George in the Irish St Leger and over two miles on Champions Day at Ascot.

He then had his excuses for a rare lacklustre display when trailing in last of sixteen on World Cup night in Dubai last March. Back in Europe he destroyed his rivals in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in early May before a very solid third in the Ascot Gold Cup.

This teak tough son of Fastnet Rock, whose dam was a full sister to two times Goodwood Cup winner Yeats, will not go down without a fight here and will expose any chinks in his opponents armour.

Call to Mind

The William Haggas trained four year old Call to Mind is fresh from his recent win stateside in the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes. However, the bare form of that win doesn’t stack up so well at this level as European stayers are far superior to those in the US.

His form at home is solid and he must be respected given his powerful stable, but this Queen mother owned son of Galileo is likely playing for places at best here.

Stradivarius

My idea of the winner of this years Qatar Goodwood Cup is recent Ascot Gold Cup heroine Stradivarius. This four year old son of Sea the Stars is the defending champion here having won this last year from the mighty Big Orange.

He then ended his three year old career with a close up third in the highly competitive Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster before another third place in the Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on unsuitably soft ground. Just ahead of him on that occasion and in concession of eight pounds was Torcedor.

However, as a more mature four year old, Stradivarius was able to turn the tables on Torcedor off level weights in the Ascot Gold Cup last month and I fully expect him to do the same here. I don’t think he has a huge amount in hand and obviously his odds are short, but I still rate him banker material here.

With regular rider Frankie Dettori currently banned, Andrea Atzeni, who won last years Goodwood Cup aboard Stradivarius, takes the ride.

Qatar Goodwood Cup verdict:

Stradivarius, at a best priced 8/13 with Bet365 is the clear selection.