Qatar Sussex Stakes
The Qatar Sussex Stakes is the main event on day two and after the withdrawal of Gleneagles, Solow has been cut to an odds on shot where he is best priced 4/6. He is clearly the best horse in the race and was an excellent winner last time out at Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes where he has Night of Thunder over five lengths back in fifth place. Solow has won his last six races on ground ranging from Soft/heavy to good so today's conditions won't be a problem at all.
Night of Thunder ran a brilliant race to win the Lockinge at Newbury where he saw off Toormore, Arod and Integral. He was up with the pace for a long time in the Queen Anne before fading away and it is hard to see him getting a whole lot closer to Solow this time around.
Arod was a length behind Night of Thunder in the Lockinge but has won his two subsequent starts in commanding fashion. They were both a big drop in class compared to today's field so it would be a surprise if he was able to put up too much of a challenge despite these wins.
Belardo is an interesting runner for Roger Varian. He was beaten less than two lengths in his latest outing by Gleneagles in the Irish 2,000 guineas and appears to be best suited when there is some cut under foot. As a two year old he was the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes which is a Group 1 race on soft ground and is quite lightly raced beacuse of his preference for the softer conditions. Being a three year old means he will be carrying eight less than his main rivals which could help to make quite a difference. If all eight runners stand their ground then I think he is an excellent value each way bet at 9/1.
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The Ashes - Third Test
The third Ashes test starts at Edgbaston today with England looking to regroup following their humiliating at Lords losing by 405 runs and being bowled out for 103 in the second innings.
Gary Ballance has been dropped with his place being taken by the inform Jonny Bairstow. This will mean that Ian Bell and Joe Root move up the order to three and four respectively with Bairstow coming in at five. This could well be the final chance for Ian Bell to show he still has what it takes at this level. Another failure in this test and the calls for James Taylor to come in will be huge. Edgbaston is Bell's home ground however and if there is one place that he is going to hit himself back into form it's here. With that being the case I am going to take the 11/2 about him being England's top batsman in this test.
Australia will be full of confidence after drawing level in the series and all of their bowlers have been among the wickets. Mitchell Johnson appears to have found that extra yard of pace and he is sure to trouble the England batsmen again. Peter Nevill had an encouraging debut behind the stumps and he keeps his place at the expenses of Brad Haddin, a move that could spell the end of Haddin's career.
There has been a determined attempt by the groundsman to prepare a pitch that has a lot more pace and bounce than the previous two from this series and although it is the Australians with the quicker bowlers, this will definitely help England as they looked completely toothless after the shine from the new ball started to fade.
The weather forecast looks pretty good for the five days so again I am confident there will be a result here, England will have to be very much on top of their game if it is going to be in their favour. A loss here would mean the Ashes were a long way away with them needing to win the final two tests.
Goodwood 15:10 Belardo - 1 point each way @ 10/1
Ian Bell top England batsman - 1 point @ 11/2
Australia win - 3 points @ 10/11