1pt win Desert Encounter @3/1, 15:45 Goodwood, Saturday

It’s a tough day for punting with conditions anyone’s guess; heavy rain is forecast for most of the country yet the ground is firm at most tracks after a hot week.

As such I can’t touch the big sprint at Haydock, but there might be a bet in the Listed 12-furlong race at Goodwood this afternoon, where the forecast is kindest.

It’s good-to-firm at the moment and that possibly won’t change before they’re off, so I’m looking for a quick ground horse.

Five go to post and they all have a chance – though the market is struggling to split the first three in the betting, and Second Step currently trades favourite from Barsanti.

Second Step won a Group One in Germany, where the racing is less competitive, but his British form leaves a lot to be desired and he wasn’t impressive on his return to action this year – while the horse he beat half a length into third finished dead last on his next start.

I can’t have Barsanti on his first run this year, particularly as his worst ever performance (5th in his racecourse debut) came at Goodwood, and his very best form seems to be at flat tracks like York, Kempton and Chelmsford.


I’m much more keen on the chances of David Simcock’s DESERT ENCOUNTER, who bolted up in Listed company at Ascot last time out on quick ground.

He shoulders a 3lb penalty for that success but, such was the authority of his win, he can overcome it.

It looks like he’s still improving and he goes on any ground, but the turn of foot he showed at Ascot suggested these quicker conditions are optimal.

That was a strongly run race so stamina is no concern either, and the negatives are very hard to find.

We can expect Galapiat to make the running – and I’d say he’s the biggest threat on recent form – but he didn’t look like he loved the quick ground when last seen at Newmarket and has had three races already this season, in fairly quick succession, so might be feeling the effects.

It’s a wide-open race but quotes of a general 5/2 and 3/1 with one firm look worth taking.

1pt win Desert Encounter @3/1, 15:45 Goodwood, Saturday (Black Type)

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