The Goodwood - 1200m, Morphettville R8
The Goodwood has long been regarded as South Australia’s marquee race, and while this year’s may not go down in history as a vintage edition, there are still a series of good quality sprinters looking to claim Group 1 glory.
Lofty Strike is the deserved favourite, and claims the top of the market thanks to his outstanding form this season. The Julius Sandhu three-year-old won the Rubiton Stakes first-up, defeating subsequent Oakleigh Plate winner Uncommon James, and followed it up with being second in that Oakleigh Plate and third in the Newmarket Handicap behind In Secret and I Wish I Win.
Lofty Strike has the most stellar sprinting form in this field, and we can forgive his last start failure on a bottomless track in the TJ Smith. If he has maintained his form and fitness, and runs up to his best, no horse in this field can beat him.
But if the favourite is off his game or strikes bad luck, which rivals are best placed to beat him?
Front Page is a brave warrior that has run some great races in his time, and he was incredibly brave at Wagga last start, but the weight scale here hasn’t treated him kindly.
Kementari and Savatoxl are two old battle-axes that can pop up on their best form. The latter is perennially underrated and is currently around $21 – he won this race at a similar quote two years ago, and is going just as well now.
Kallos and Zapateo from the Godolophin yard are the market choices to test Lofty Strike.
Kallos has kept raising the bar since being gelded, putting together three on the bounce including the last two at black type level. This is his stiffest test though. Zapateo was ever-competitive when running third in the Sangster a fortnight ago, and has always given the impression she could win a weaker Group 1. Any rain enhances her chances, while Kallos probably prefers it dryer.
Zoutori could be a key value chance in the race, if you squint hard enough. It’s been over two years since he won a race, which was the Newmarket, and he’s only placed once in that time. He has either had to compete at WFA, to which he isn’t suited, or been lumping big weights in handicaps.
He has only been asked to carry 54.5kg’s on Saturday, his lowest weight since September 2019, and a whopping 7.5kg drop from last start when only beaten 2.5 lengths behind Savatoxl. If it all comes together from a cosy draw, he might be the blow-out.
Frankie Pinot is another underrated horse, that could find his way into the placings. Royal Merchant is a filly that has the Maher/Eustace magic touch, which is what Ruthless Dame had when taking out the Sangster two weeks ago. Her form isn’t quite as good as her stablemate though.
Another Award will have admirers after running second in that Sangster, especially given she gets an appreciable weight drop from both that performance and her third to Kallos two starts back. She’s come along in leaps and bounds this campaign, but likely has to find another level here.
Savatoxl will set the pace, just as he did two years ago when he just kept running. Front Page will be up there, and a couple of others can race handy. Lofty Strike backers will be looking to see him lob half a dozen pairs back with cover from barrier 10, and sweep into the race like the winner upon straightening.
Selections: 1.Lofty Strike 2.Savatoxl 3.Another Award 4.Zoutori
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds