Who wins the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday (3.35pm)? With softening ground and a competitive field, it is hard to rule too many of the talented field of seven runners out of contention.
With this Celebration Mile preview, JustBookies tries to unravel the conundrum and we conclude with a betting tips selection.
Classy Benbatl is the favourite with most recommended bookmakers at best odds of 3/1 but that price might not last long. The six-year-old has a clear advantage on official ratings (rated 125) and is proven at the highest level on the Flat. He has won three Group 1 races, including a valuable race at Caulfield in Australia in October 2018.
Benbatl was the unplaced favourite in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot last autumn but was not suited by the heavy going. The son of Dubawi finished third in the highly lucrative Saudi Cup in February, picking up £1.5million, behind Maximum Security and that level of form gives the Saeed bin Suroor trained runner a good opportunity. The issue could be ground conditions, with a lot of rain around in the run up to this weekend.
Regal Reality, rated 117 and receiving 3lb, is vying for favouritism with Benbatl. The betting market on the day of the race will be informative but Regal Reality has something to find with the market leader. Michael Stoute’s gelding ended a run of seven starts without a win in a Group 3 race over 1m at Salisbury earlier this month. He was beaten five and a half lengths by Ghaiyyath in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July. That form sounds outstanding until you consider he only beat one home and finished 6th of the seven runners. Regal Reality will have to improve to beat Benbatl in the Celebration Mile.
Duke Of Hazzard would be a good each way bet at 6/1 if there were eight or more runners. However, only seven horses have been declared to run so there are only two payout places. The four-year-old colt has won at this level but is behind the jolly and second favourite on handicap ratings at 114.
Duke Of Hazzard has been consistent this season and has run to the same level in four races over the last two months. However, he was beaten 20 lengths when last of eight behind Regal Reality in that Salisbury race on his latest start. It was an abysmal run from trainer Paul Cole’s charge and while his usual level of form is much better than that, Duke Of Hazzard is not likely to reverse the form.
Century Dream is just ahead of Regal Reality on ratings (115) but a bigger price in the early betting. The distance and going should not be issues and the son of Cape Cross is a Newbury Group 3 winner this season.
Century Dream is fully exposed at this level and has won eight times in 25 starts. The six-year-old may be improving after a wind op at the end of last season but will have to produce a career best effort to win this race. It does represent a drop in class as Century Dream was 5th of 8, beaten a little over five lengths, in a Group 1 race at Chantilly last month behind the talented Persian King. However, other horses have consistently produced better form so winning this race might be beyond Century Dream.
Sir Busker has been running well in lucrative handicaps this season but may struggle at Group 2 level. The horse has gradually improved his rating over four races from June to August but contests a Group race for the first time. Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup off top weight at Royal Ascot earlier in the season. The second place finish in a Class 2 handicap at York last week represented the horse’s best career run. However, the form of the race indicates that Sir Busker may not be not good enough to beat the proven Group horses. Trainer William Knight is in good form, after his move from West Sussex to Newmarket earlier in the year.
Urban Icon is a consistent racehorse who is a winner in this class and on the projected good to soft going. The four-year-old colt was behind Duke Of Hazzard in a Group 2 race at Ascot last month (won by the great Mohaather) but does not get any weight. Urban Icon has run to an official rating of 109 on his last four starts so that is his level. That form is not good enough to beat the more fancied runners in the betting.
Positive is the only three-year-old in the field so receives 6lb from the other runners and 9lb from Benbatl. He was fourth behind Palace Pier in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes and that form gives him a squeak. He is officially rated 110 but remember that weight concession he receives. There could be a case that brings him into contention and 14/1 may be a little long. A negative is that Positive was three and a half lengths behind Regal Reality at Salisbury and is now only 1lb better off. Another concern may be the ground, but a positive is the first time cheekpieces, though he was first time blinkered last time and that didn’t transform him. His trainer Clive Cox’s charges are always hard to dismiss out of hand.
Our Preview’s Celebration Mile Betting Tips Verdict
Urban Icon and Positive may not quite have the form in the book to win a Group 2 race. Sir Busker is a decent handicapper running in a group race for the first time. Century Dream is not proven at this the level. Duke Of Hazzard is unlikely to reverse recent form with Regal Reality, who on ratings is behind the favourite.
- So BENBATL is the selection at current best odds of 3/1 with Betfred bookies. Keep an eye on the odds table below for betting changes.
Compare Celebration Mile Betting Odds from Best Bookmakers
|Benbatl (stall 6)||9/4||3/1||5/2||11/4||11/4||9/4||5/2|
|Regal Reality (7)||3/1||3/1||3/1||3/1||3/1||3/1||3/1|
|Century Dream (5)||11/2||4/1||5/1||10/3||10/3||5/1||11/2|
|Duke Of Hazzard (2)||6/1||11/2||13/2||5/1||5/1||6/1||13/2|
|Sir Busker (3)||9/1||15/2||8/1||15/2||15/2||15/2||8/1|
|Urban Icon (1)||10/1||9/1||9/1||9/1||9/1||10/1||10/1|