Will Goodwood festival crowd see a Perennial winner?

Trainer Charlie Hills is hoping Perennial can bounce back to form in the 11-furlong £35,000 Listed Casco Cocked Hat Stakes (3.45pm), highlight of the second day of Goodwood’s May Festival on Friday.

The well-regarded Motivator colt made a winning debut at Doncaster in September and ended a progressive juvenile campaign by filling the runner-up spot in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket the following month.

The three-year-old returned to action in the Listed Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on April 18 but could only finish sixth behind another Khalid Abdulla colt, Stipulate, in the 10-furlong contest.

Hills revealed: “Perennial is a likely runner at Goodwood on Friday. We have been happy with him since Newmarket, when he didn’t run his race. He was too keen in the Feilden Stakes and the ground was a little bit loose on top, so it wasn’t his true running.

“We gave him a bit of time after that and he worked nicely last week. The form of last year’s Autumn Stakes looks pretty solid and the step up to a mile and three furlongs will suit him well.

“He has been left in the Derby at the moment and would obviously have to win impressively to be considered for Epsom, but we wanted to keep our options open.”

A potential field of seven for the Casco Cocked Hat Stakes also includes the Marcus Tregoning-trained Cavaleiro, who won a Newbury conditions race on his final juvenile start in September and made a pleasing seasonal return when coming home third in the Group Three Betfred Derby Trial at Lingfield Park on May 12.

Tregoning commented: “Cavaleiro might head to Goodwood, although he also has the option of going to Epsom for the Derby. He will work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning before we make a decision and he won’t run in both races.

“I thought that he ran really, really well at Lingfield as he was possibly a little short of work going into the race. He has come out of that run really well and I think that he will come on a ton.

“He certainly looks in good form and my horses are running very well at the moment.”

John Gosden has entered Feilden Stakes fifth Jungle Beat and Michelangelo, who made an impressive debut when taking a close third in the Listed Newmarket Stakes on May 5.

Expense Claim could make a quick reappearance for Andrew Balding after capturing a 10-furlong handicap at Newbury on Saturday, while the entries are completed by the William Haggas-trained Stencive and Polydamos, representing Harry Dunlop.

The Casco Cocked Hat Stakes has proven to be a springboard for future top-class horses since it was introduced in 2007. Rewilding took the spoils in 2010 and progressed to win the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Masked Marvel, successful in 2011, also graduated to Group One honours with a scintillating victory in Britain’s oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Goodwood hosts a six-race card on the first day of the May Festival, Thursday, May 24, when the three-year-old fillies get their chance to shine in the £35,000 Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes (3.45pm), over just shy of 10 furlongs.

An entry of 11 for this year’s race includes Italian Group One heroine Nayarra and Coquet, who won a Newmarket Listed contest on her latest start.

The third and final day of the May Festival, Saturday, May 26, features a pair of Listed races for older horses.

The £35,000 32Red Festival Stakes (2.45pm) over 10 furlongs has attracted 16 entries including Beaten Up, who was sixth in the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic in March, and last year’s Group Three bet365 Gordon Stakes runner-up Fiorente.

Both horses are also among 15 entries for the £35,000 Southern Daily Echo Tapster Stakes (4.25pm) over two furlongs further, which could feature Group Two winner Dandino and Grade One Breeders’ Cup Turf second Sea Moon.

This year marks the return of the three-day May Festival at Goodwood for the first time since 2006.

The going at Goodwood is currently good, good to soft in places

Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley commented: “The course is drying out and is currently good, with good to soft in one or two places.

“The weather is set fair and I anticipate the we will start the May Festival on some very nice ground.”

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