Racing: Valley stands out in Mile

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FIVE years ago Strike Force won the Golden Mile for owner Robert Sangster. Not only did he collect the prize-money but also the winnings on a large bet. It could be Sangster's pay day again today with Stoney Valley, writes Chris Corrigan.

Valuable, ultra-competitive handicaps like this are frequently won by lightly raced, well-handicapped types, like Strike Force who was 'laid out' for the race by his trainer, Barry Hills.

The form of Stoney Valley (3.45), trained for Sangster by Peter Chapple-Hyam, is available for all to see. But this three-year-old may well prove to be better than the handicap mark he runs off this afternoon.

The colt's form consists of only three runs, the latest more than two months ago. Stoney Valley was last of four that day at York - the winner, however, was Commander In Chief. Previously, Stoney Valley beat Baron Ferdinand at Chester.

Punters behind the heavy money on Peter Davies, today's hot favourite, have a weight problem. The five-year-old has been the subject of an ante-post plunge from double-figure odds down to around 4-1 or 5-1 but, due to his recent win at Sandown Park, must carry an extra 7lb of lead in his saddle cloth.

He is the classiest horse in the race, but the burden could just stop the gamble paying off.

Three-year-olds have won the Goodwood Cup twice in the last six years and the filly Magical Retreat (3.10) can improve the ratio today. Just one piece of advice: avoid looking at her legs.

Charlie Cyzer bought this beautifully bred filly relatively cheaply because her front legs are crooked. When racing, she throws out her near-fore quite alarmingly. But it has not stopped her improving. The trainer, whose stable has hit form in the past week, said yesterday that Magical Retreat will appreciate the distance as well as the ground. He believes she is capable of shaking up the more established stayers.

The King George Stakes looks well within the compass of Keen Hunter (next best 4.15).

Yesterday's results, page 39