Glorious Goodwood (14.35): Highland Reel the one to beat in Gordon Stakes
Highland Reel can take advantage of a drop in class to get back to winning ways in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood (14.35).
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt won two of his three starts as a juvenile, and looked a top notch prospect in the last of those when running out the impressive winner of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago.
Highland Reel then disappointed slightly when sent of 11/8 favourite and finishing sixth in the Group 1 Poule d’Eassai des Piulains at Longchamp on his seasonal reappearance, but the 1m trip looked on the sharp side, and the son of Galileo duly put in an improved performance when stepped up to 1m 2f and finishing runner-up to New Bay in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.
The three-year-old was unable to match the pace of the winner, but stayed on strongly to go down by 1 1/2 lengths.
That is extremely strong form in the contest of this lower grade 1m 4f contest, and although Highland Reel failed to sparkle last time out in when fifth in the Irish Derby at the Curragh he ran too baldy to be true.
There is little doubt in my mind that Highland Reel is far better than that, and the return to calmer waters can enable to bounce back and land the spoils.
Scottish has a progressive profile and looks the biggest danger in what doesn’t look the strongest of renewals.
The Andrew Balding trained colt ran really well on seasonal reappearance at Newbury when beaten just a neck by leading St Leger hope Mr Singh, and then had little difficulty going one better to open his account at the same venue when making all to score by a cosy 1 1/2 lengths.
Scottish backed that up with a career-best performance when second of 17 to Space Age in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot, racing close up before staying on willingly to go down by 1 1/4 lengths.
The son of Teofilo now meets the winner on 3lb better terms, and that may well be enough to reverse the placings given the Scottish remains unexposed after just four starts and is clearly on an upward curve.
Another worthy of a mention given the stables’ terrific record in the race is the Sir Michael Stoue trained Disegno.
The Newmarket handler has won the race eight times, and Disegno is an improving sort who ran very well when fourth to the exciting Time Test in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Coral’s top tip: Highland Reel is one for punters to hook onto here.