Racing: Rock set to roll at Goodwood

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Saddler’s Rock’s recent trespasses can be forgiven in the Artemis Goodwood Cup.

John Oxx’s inmate has had a pretty rough time of things since winning this esteemed prize 12 months ago, but he is clearly well versed in handling the demands of the West Sussex circuit.

And with the current batch of stayers most certainly nothing to write home about, Saddler’s Rock can rediscover his lust for racing.

Oxx was genuinely optimistic about the five-year-old’s chances of winning the Ascot Gold Cup last month, but he rarely featured under Declan McDonogh and was beaten nearly eight lengths by Estimate.

There appeared no valid excuses for that subdued effort, which has to be a concern. Previous runs since his Goodwood success a year ago have also been disappointing, but, importantly, he still has age on his side and is handled by one of the best in the business.

Caution must be advised from a punting perspective, but Saddler’s Rock should not be discounted just yet - especially at Goodwood.

Elik has also proven her aptitude at this track and should revel in the step up in trip for the Blackrock Fillies’ Stakes.

Sir Michael Stoute’s filly convincingly won the Height of Fashion Stakes here in May before she was sent into battle for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Despite having looked a shade one-paced at the business end, the daughter of Dalakhani did well to finish third behind Riposte and Just Pretending.

That run also confirmed the impression that a couple of extra furlongs may bring about even further progress.

Elik is also in receipt of a healthy chunk of weight now she takes on her elders for the first time in what does not look a particularly vintage renewal of the Group Three.

Saayerr is another for whom a rise in distance should hold no fears in the Audi Richmond Stakes over six furlongs.