It might be sponsored by Coutts, but this is the least distinguished rabble to contest the Goodwood Cup in many years. We know that Yeats owes his unprecedented four Gold Cups not just to his undoubted class, but also to the dearth of competent opposition. In his absence today, Patkai would have been hot favourite, having pulled 15 lengths clear of the third at Ascot – but he is not here, either. In fact, the form is "represented" only by Centennial, who was tailed off and last to finish.
If the field really is so mediocre, even Godolphin's most savage persecutors must acknowledge that the stable warrants maximum respect this time. Everything is in place for Schiaparelli (3.25) to outclass this field. His form is the best on offer, and a very stout pedigree raises the possibility of improvement now he tries two miles.
He made an excellent comeback over a mile and a half at Newmarket, beaten half a length by Doctor Fremantle, despite hanging in a sprint finish on unsuitably fast ground. Conditions will be more to his liking this time and, ridden positively to win three Group Ones in his younger days, he will be hard to catch round these turns.
The venerable Caracciola has been in the form of his life for Nicky Henderson, now serving his summer suspension, without any pretensions to the standard set by Schiaparelli. Only the fact that he has had just 20 days to get over his comeback effort disqualifies Schiaparelli as a five-star bet.
The class act in the Audi Stakes took a long time to attain that status. Borderlescott (2.45) compiled a fine record in the Stewards' Cup at this meeting prior to his Group One breakthrough in the Nunthorpe last year, and while his recent Chester success still fell short of that form, it implied an imminent return to his peak.
The third Group race is another pretty thin one, but Cassique Lady (4.0) could prove suited by this new trip, while much the same could be said of Mirrored (2.10) in the opener.