Saturday’s Group 1 Darley Goodwood has been buoyed by the return of South Australian mare Viddora as she attempts to claim a hometown Group 1 after her heartbreaking scratching from the UBET Classic.
Viddora was scratched the morning of the Group 1 UBET Classic after hurting her hind leg in her stable the night before the big race. After a couple weeks off, she’s recovered well according to her trainer Lloyd Kennewell and should tackle the $1 million Goodwood. The mare is the second favourite for the Goodwood at $9 with UBET and on her best form, she will more than take it up to last year’s winner Vega Magic.
The Lindsay Park trained Vega Magic has been installed as the $2.70 favourite to reclaim his crown but will have to defy 103 years of history to do so. No horse has won back-to-back Goodwood’s since Musket Belle in 1911/1912 and things have not been made any easier for the two-time Group 1 winner after drawing barrier 14.
The gelding will tackle the race first-up again after claiming the $1 million feature fresh last year but will have a new jockey aboard, with Damien Oliver taking the ride. While history may be against him, Vega Magic flies fresh with three wins and two seconds from six first-up runs. He also loves the 1200m with a 60% winning strike rate over the distance.
In an amazing turn of events, Lindsay Park’s other runner, Thronum has been flown from Brisbane to Adelaide on a private charter plane to run in Saturday’s Goodwood. The four-year-old was supposed to run in last Saturday’s Doomben 10,000 but was a late scratching after he suffered a minor head wound. The horse, who is set to become a sort-after stallion, was flown from Brisbane by Sun Stud to help his future stud credentials and a win could add a lot of value to his future service fees.
Eight-year-old and 2015 winner Flamberge, returns to have another crack at the Goodwood on Saturday. The Ellerton & Zahra trained veteran finished 1.5 lengths, fifth behind Dainty Tess in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes in April but has not won a race since his Group 1 William Reid Stakes victory in March 2016. The in-form Damian Lane takes the ride on the three-time Group 1 winner.
Darren Weir has claimed a Group 1 on each of the two days of the UBET Festival of Racing so far and he will have three runners in the Goodwood in his quest to claim a third. Voodoo Lad is his most favoured runner and the four-time Stakes winner will be having his first run from a spell since finishing fifth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes behind She Will Reign and Viddora. The gelding is a first-up specialist with four wins and two second placings from six goes first up and apprentice Ben Allen will be hoping he can give him his first Group 1 win, like Sopressa did for Harry Coffey in the SA Oaks. Weir will also saddle up the Listed Wangoom quinella, of Stellar Collision and Handsome Thief.
Alongside Viddora there are five other locally trained runners in the Goodwood including Will Clarken’s Steel Frost who will step back from the 1400m where he won the Listed City of Adelaide Stakes in his last start. Fellow Listed winner Lope De Capio has also gained a start alongside UBET Classic placegetter Mica Lil, as well as Grant Young’s Exalted Adam and Barry Brook’s Nipperkin.
Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane flashed home in the Group 3 McKay Stakes for third in his final hit-out before the Goodwood. The Anthony Freedman trained gelding will be hoping for a win in this year’s race after finishing fifth in the 2017 edition. He will have the services of two-time Goodwood winning jockey Ben Melham who has ridden him to two of his five career wins.
Secret Agenda ran fourth in this race last year and looks to be in fantastic form, after finishing second behind Shoals in the UBET Classic two weeks ago. Dwayne Dunn takes the ride on the Mick Price trained mare as he aims to complete a clean sweep of all the Goodwood Day Stakes races.
The chances don’t end there with last year’s runner-up, Missrock returning for another crack at her first Group 1 after paying the late entry fee to get into the race, while Jamie Kah will be hoping Super Cash can be the horse that gives her a maiden Group 1 victory. The Andrew Noblet trained mare encountered a lot of bad luck in her UBET Classic run a fortnight ago and will be looking to bounce back on Saturday. And while Shoals was the talking point from Oaks Day, it was actually the $151 winner, I’ll Have a Bit who ran the fastest 1200m of the day, running the distance 0.06 seconds faster than the UBET Classic winner.
Vega Magic - $2.70
Viddora - $9
Voodoo Lad - $10
Thronum - $11
Secret Agenda - $12
Santa Ana Lane - $13
Super Cash, Viridine - $18
Others - $21+