Alva Glen should get the space he needs

It has not, even they concede, been the best of seasons in Britain for the crack troops of Godolphin. The horses have underperformed generally, the best of them was lost on a morning patrol at Newmarket and even the field marshal has been removed from the theatre of action.

It has not, even they concede, been the best of seasons in Britain for the crack troops of Godolphin. The horses have underperformed generally, the best of them was lost on a morning patrol at Newmarket and even the field marshal has been removed from the theatre of action.

Dubai Millennium will never come back, but at least Frankie Dettori has returned to the fray for Team Dubai. The Italian is back at Goodwood for the first time since his light aircraft crashed while taking off for the Sussex racecourse from Newmarket on the first day of June.

Dettori rides Bachir in the main race of the day, the Celebration Mile, which has been taken twice in the last four years by his paymasters with Cape Cross and Mark Of Esteem. Godolphin are enjoying his return to the fold.

"Obviously, it is great that Frankie is back," Simon Crisford, the team's racing manager, said yesterday. "He has been a great loss to us while he was out.

"We are still not performing on all cylinders on the domestic front. Worldwide, we have had eight Group Ones and £7 million in prize money in nine different countries - but we expect better in England.

"We cannot put too much of a global spin on it and we are looking at what is happening on the domestic front.

"It would be fair to say that we are having a poor season by our high standards. We are underachieving. We hope that, long-term, the show will get back on the road."

The Celebration Mile would be a nice place to start and Bachir already has two Classic victories in the locker. He won the French 2000 Guineas and then defeated Giant's Causeway in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh in May. Not many horses have that particular scalp dangling from their belt.

"He will need to reproduce that form to win because he is heavily penalised and he is coming up against improving horses, progressive types like Medicean and Observatory," Crisford added. "Royal Ascot [where Bachir was down the field in the St James's Palace Stakes] was a big disappointment because he was never going." Maybe that was one dance too many.

Medicean was well ahead of Bachir at Royal Ascot and now finds himself 6lb better off. In addition, his third to Giant's Causeway and Dansili in the Sussex Stakes is arguably the best form in the race, but that would be to ignore Observatory (3.20) who won the Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting and then another Group Three race here over the same distance of seven furlongs. He is now raised in both class and distance, but looks up to the task.

The preceding sprint has the look of the unsolvable about it, but if there is a chink in the armour, it appears to be in the shape of Cadeaux Cher (next best 2.45). Barry Hills's gelding has gone missing a while since his memorable 1998 season, but now finds himself at the bottom of the snake in racing's weights game. He was fifth in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last weekend and, on that form, can reverse placings with the winner and runner-up, William's Well and Blue Mountain.

The first televised contest, the March Stakes, contains what should be the bet of the day. ALVA GLEN (nap 2.15) was sixth in the Ebor at York on Wednesday, running on boldly from a quite impossible position. The road will not be quite so busy this afternoon.

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