Cosmic Prince can make all

Greg Wood selects a front-runner with a high draw to land the big handicap
Click to follow
The Independent Online
It will probably pass unnoticed amid the punting and drinking, but the 11th and final renewal of the Schewppes Golden Mile Handicap this afternoon will mark the end of one of racing's most enduring commercial associations. The drinks firm was one of the sport's first significant sponsors - indeed, many racegoers still refer to the Tote Gold Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Newbury as the Schweppes, even though the company stopped backing it more than a decade ago - but now it has decided that its money would be better spent elsewhere.

Racing's clientele does not match the young, affluent profile the promotions department requires. As backers who have spent a decade trying to find the winner of the race will testify, however, this is a little rich, as the Golden Mile consistently leaves them impoverished and prematurely grey. Twelve months ago, Moscow Mist appeared from nowhere at 66-1 to beat the favourite by a short-head, and in 10 runnings, only twice has the margin of victory exceeded a neck.

It would be foolish, then, to expect anything different from today's contest, and after the events of last year, even Pride Of Pendle, the 50-1 outsider of the 22 runners, will find a few supporters. None the less, there are a few angles of attack which could prove rewarding, not the least of which is to learn the lessons of the first two days of the meeting. In races on the round course, the winners have tended to either set the pace or sit close behind it, while the first four home in the eight-furlong handicap on Tuesday were drawn 17, 13, 15 and 19 - in a field of 19.

Khayrapour managed to win this race from stall one in 1995, but with a sharp left turn so soon after the start, runners with a low draw will inevitably be forced to launch their challenge around the rest of the field. A front-runner with a double-figure draw is the ideal combination, which must give Cosmic Prince (next best 3.50) every chance this afternoon.

Michael Jarvis's colt was a winner at Epsom earlier this year, so the Goodwood gradients will hold no fears, and seems sure to lead the field into the home turn. With further improvement still likely, he is an excellent 14-1 chance (Hills) to lead all the way to the line.

Grey Shot was yet another winner to make all here in the Goodwood Cup 12 months ago, and while his stamina did not seem to stretch to an extra four furlongs and soft ground in the Ascot Gold Cup last month, he is over-priced to follow up last year's success.

A horse who is less likely to relish fast ground and a sharp track, however, is Daggers Drawn, who is expected to start the favourite for the Richmond Stakes. LINDEN HEIGHTS (nap 2.45) will take advantage of any discomfort on the part of Henry Cecil's colt, while My Branch (2.15), who ran poorly when fancied for the Oak Tree Stakes 12 months ago, should set the record straight today.