Hidden promise in form figures
Southwell 15:20: Goodwillhunting 1pt e/w 50/1
Three horses dominate the market in the 2m4f maiden hurdle at Southwell but there are doubts over all three. Colden’s Dream has been backed into favouritism and ran quite well when second on debut at Newton Abbot but he was making late headway in a race where the pace collapsed and the winner has only been given a rating of 118 so this isn’t an overly high standard of form.
Rapid Flight is second in and he comes into the race on the back of a fall at Ludlow. Having led, he was headed and pushed along shortly before turning into the home straight and then fell at 3 out. He was rallying and may have been involved at the finish but it’s worrying that he was reported to have made a noise on his previous run at Warwick after a wind op which suggests he may still have an issue on that front.
The only other horse shorter than 14/1 is Sounds Russian who finished second on debut over C&D. He stayed on well that day having been outpaced around the final bend but he was hugely flattered to get so close to the winner and the fourth and fifth had been well held on their hurdling debuts previously so I’m not sure it’s as good as it seems.
After that there are mostly horses who have already shown themselves to be moderate at best over hurdles and/or in bumpers. However, there’s one horse coming from the Irish pointing field who has been completely overlooked by the market.
Goodwillhunting had four starts for Colin Bowe and showed some ability on three of those. On debut, he made headway to be just behind the leader at 2 out before gradually being left behind by the front pair and after a slight mistake at the last, was beaten seven lengths in third. The runner up has since won a bumper while Goodwillhunting’s stablemate, Pay The Piper, was just ahead of him was coming down the last and is now rated 140 over hurdles.
His jumping let him down on his next start at Tinahely when finishing sixth. He had dropped back to second last going down the back for the final time and made another mistake at 3 out. He made some headway on the inside after that and moved into fourth at 2 out but couldn’t sustain the effort and finished sixth. There are mixed signals from the form of that race with the winner having struggled since under rules while in fourth was Onagatheringstorm who is now rated 130 over hurdles.
Goodwillhunting sunk into the bottomless ground next time and was beaten a long way out before returning to a better level at Dromahane on his last start for Bowe. He was in a leading line of four that had broken away from the rest turning in but he dived at 3 out and landed awkwardly. He dropped back to fourth as a result and gradually faded from that point to finish fifth. Again there are mixed signals from the form with the winner having struggled since while the third, Don’t Matter Now, was second to the 131-rated Meticulous at Cork, and the fourth, Clay Rogers, has since run well in defeat over hurdles behind the 125+ rated trio of Brazos, Folcano and Panda Boy.
Goodwillhunting’s runs not only show that he has a good level of ability but also that he’s likely to be more suited by today’s race than those races. He looked to not quite see out the three miles so the drop back to a sharp 2m4f should help and his action suggests that he doesn’t want the ground too soft, so that the rain seems to mostly be missing Southwell and it’s only good to soft ground should help him too. His jumping has also let him down on a couple of occasions so the switch to hurdling could bring improvement.
There is the possibility that he’s just a weak finisher and some horses just don’t transfer the ability they show in points to racing under rules due to any number of factors including the different pace of the races so he’s not certain to repeat the level he showed in points.
However, based on what he’s shown I think he’s the most likely danger to the leading trio in the market and any 14/1 or bigger appeals.