A little over an hour and half after Illustrious Blue landed the 2010 Artemis Goodwood Cup (3.15pm), Overturn was in the west of Ireland storming to a rousing victory in the Galway Hurdle.
This year, the front-running seven-year-old will take his place at Glorious Goodwood for Thursday’s £100,000 contest over two miles, for which a record field of 16 runners is due to face the starter. There were 15 runners in 2007, 2006 and 1994.
Overturn is a high-class hurdler, having landed the Grade Two Scottish Champion Hurdle in 2010, but has also proven himself to be one of the country’s top staying handicappers on the Flat over the past two seasons.
The seven-year-old’s all-the-way victory in the historic Chester Cup over an extended two and a quarter miles in May followed last season’s Northumberland Plate triumph over two miles at Newcastle. Having annexed two of Britain’s most competitive handicaps, trainer Donald McCain is happy to let his charge step up to Flat race Pattern company.
Overturn was foiled in his attempt to win back-to-back Northumberland Plates on June 25 when, racing on good to soft going, he was sixth of 19 to Tominator.
McCain revealed today: “Overturn is in good nick, we just feel that a combination of weight and the ground collared him up the straight at Newcastle last time.
“We have always had it in the back of our minds that we would like to take him to the Artemis Goodwood Cup and see how he gets on, so that is what we are doing.
“His Chester win was a good run and I have always felt that Goodwood might suit him. We have put up a good jockey (Richard Hughes). Overturn seems in very good form and the quick ground will be in his favour, so fingers crossed.”
A high-class field is headed by Godolphin’s Opinion Poll, runner-up in the Group One Gold Cup over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot in June for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor runs John Smith’s Cup third Lost In The Moment.
Trainer Mark Johnston has an excellent record in the Artemis Goodwood Cup, having landed the prize with the great Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998), Royal Rebel (2000), and Darasim (2004). He is set to saddle Fox Hunt, winner of the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot.
The Clive Cox-trained Electrolyser was runner-up to Illustrious Blue in last year’s Artemis Goodwood Cup, while the Jamie Osborne-trained 10-year-old Geordieland was runner-up to the great Yeats in the 2006 renewal and fifth to Allegretto in 2007.
Another contender with classy hurdle form to his name is Blue Bajan who has been in good heart for trainer David O’Meara this term. The nine-year-old saw off the Mick Channon-trained Montaff to land the Group Two Henry II Stakes over two miles at Sandown in May.
Group Three Jockey Club Cup victor Tastahil, trained by Barry Hills, was runner-up to Overturn in the Chester Cup before being pulled up in the Ascot Gold Cup, while the John Dunlop-trained Swingkeel was successful at Royal Ascot in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over an extended two miles and five furlongs.
Also among the field are the Michael Bell-trained Group Two winner Allied Powers, who is stepping up to two miles for the first time, as well as Bergo, Red Cadeaux and recent Listed Esher Stakes first and second, Chiberta King and Aaim To Prosper.
The tremendous card on Thursday, July 28, also features the £80,000 Group Two Audi King George Stakes (2.45pm) over five furlongs.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Kingsgate Native landed the sprint in 2009 and is one of 12 speedsters declared for the thrilling contest.
Masamah from the Dandy Nicholls stable defeated the Henry Candy-trained Amour Propre to land the Listed City Wall Stakes over the distance at York on July 9, while the Ed McMahon-trained Noble Storm, successful over the course and distance at Glorious Goodwood in 2009, easily won the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock in May.
Others of note include the David Barron-trained Group Therapy, runner-up to Borderlescott in last year’s Audi King George Stakes, and Humidor from the George Baker stable.
The other Pattern race on the fantastic seven-race card is the £50,000 Group Three i-Shares Fillies’ Stakes (3.45pm) over a mile and three quarters in which the exciting Sir Henry Cecil-trained Wild Coco heads 10 runners. The three-year-old filly stepped up from a maiden win to defeat Meeznah in a Newmarket Listed contest on July 16.
French trainer Mikel Delzangles is set to run the lightly-raced three-year-old Shankardeh, beaten a neck when third in the Group Two Prix de Mallaret at Saint-Cloud in June.
Thursday’s racing kicks off at 2.15pm with the £45,000 Betfred The Bonus King Handicap over just short of 10 furlongs, which has 16 runners.
Also on the card are the £17,500 EBF Medicean New Ham Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm, 19 runners) over seven furlongs, the £20,000 Tatler Handicap (4.55pm, 15 runners) over the same distance and the concluding £15,000 Betfred.com Handicap (5.25pm, 15 runners) over two miles, three furlongs.