Unibet Stewards’ Cup Class2 Handicap 6f Goodwood Saturday

goodwood guruWith a maximum field of 28 runners, charging down Goodwood’s tricky undulations, one could be forgiven for thinking that The Stewards’ Cup is the ultimate “Pin Job” but rather surprisingly, winner finding hasn’t been impossible, as indicated by the fact that 15 of the last 20 victors have been returned at odds of 14/1 or less, and one currently trading at around those odds is the David Baron trained, Gunmetal.

A 6yo son of Clodovil, he has won 6 of his 24 starts and was quite impressive when winning the 20 runner Great St Wilfrid Handicap over Ripons’ undulations last August, where he had Saturday’s opponent, Growl (placed in The Stewards’ for the last 3 years) 2 3/4L back in 3rd. He ran a decent race last time, finishing 6/26 in The Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot off Saturday’s mark of 103, but does appear to have it all to do off a mark that is 6lbs higher than he has ever won from in the past. However, he should be well suited by a race like The Stewards, and his talented trainer has won this twice, albeit back in the Nineties.

The Declan Carroll trained Justanotherbottle was only caught in the shadow of the post in last year’s renewal when losing out by the shortest of short heads to Gifted Master, and thanks to some judicious placing of the 5yo, he gets into Saturday’s contest on a 4lbs lower mark. Declan, who trains at Malton, wouldn’t be the best known of the Yorkshire trainers but plenty from this neck of the woods have landed The Stewards’ in the past, and he is certainly going to war with a well handicapped horse.

Newmarket handler, Roger Varian has never won Saturday’s heat, but has two likely looking candidates this time in the 4yo, Flavius Titus, and the 6yo Spanish City. The former has been campaigned until this season, mostly at 7f, and his overall record is 4 wins from 14 starts, but since being dropped to 6f this term, his figures read an impressive 2/3. He won his last race, a Newmarket Class2, 8 weeks ago, in workmanlike fashion off a mark of 95, and looks nicely handicapped on a 4lbs higher mark at the weekend. Well bred, Flavius Titus is by Lethal Force, out of the mare Furbelow, which makes him a half brother to this year’s winner of the Group1 Commonwealth Cup, Advertise, and it certainly wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he gave Roger his first Stewards Cup.

Stable companion, Spanish City was 3rd, 1 1/4L  behind his stable companion in that Newmarket race and is 3lbs better off on Saturday. He seems to be attracting plenty of interest in the markets so has to be considered, but his best form does seem to be over a furlong further.

charlie hills oddsguruCharlie Hills won with the 3yo, Magical Memory 4 years ago and will be hoping to land a second Stewards with another from the Classic generation, Khaadem. The son of Dark Angel ran well last time to finish 2nd in a Newbury Group3, 1 3/4L behind the German outsider Waldpfad, (has won at Group3 level in his home country). This was a decent performance but Saturday presents an entirely different test and unlike Magical Memory who had raced 11 times before his Goodwood success Khadeem has only had the six runs and races off a mark 5 lbs higher than his erstwhile stable companion.

The Robert Cowell trained 6yo, Raucous, has struck up a very happy partnership with the seriously upwardly mobile young apprentice, Cieren Fallon. Their record from 5 starts reads, 2/12, 2/6 6/9 4/26 1/7 and the last two are of particular interest. They finished 4th at odds of 50/1, 2L behind Cape Byron off a mark of 99 in the 26 runner Wokingham and comfortably defied a 1 pound higher mark when winning a Yarmouth Class2 24 days ago. A 6lbs penalty makes life difficult but Raucous is a Course and distance winner, Mr Cowell trained the winner 5 years ago, and young Fallons 5 lbs claim could prove invaluable.

If the rains come, Jedd O’Keeffe’s Air Raid would be one to be interested in. The 4yo son of Ravens Pass has made pretty dramatic improvement this term and is now rated 17lbs higher than he was when making his seasonal debut in May. He won Hamilton Parks Class2 Stewards Cup on soft ground 15 days ago off a mark of 95 by 1 1/4L and 1 1/4L from two 100 rated animals so doesn’t look too badly treated on 101 at the weekend. The key to him is the going and connections wouldn’t want to see the word Firm anywhere in the description.

The David O’Meara trained Summerghand made an excellent start to his season when running Flavius Titus to a neck at Newmarket in April and meets the winner on 5lbs better terms on Saturday. Both were making their seasonal debuts and the winner has
Improved since but Summerghand hasn’t gone backwards either and it could be close between them.

Selection.   : Flavius Titus

EW.              : Summerghand.  Justanotherbottle

John Gray

Qatar Stewards Cup Tips

Qatar Stewards Cup Handicap 6f Goodwood Saturday – First run in its present format in 1840 the race has seen plenty of lightweights in the winners’ circle in the past, but recent renewals have seen a “classier” animal to the fore. Indeed all of the last ten winners were rated at least 95, and three of the last five had ratings over one hundred. An eight year old, three six year olds, and two three year olds have managed to get their heads in front in the last twenty years but the overwhelmingly successful age groups have been the four and five year olds.

David Nicholls with four previous winners on the board must fancy his chances of making it five with his vastly improved 5yo entire, Orion’s Bow. A winner of his last five races, he started the sequence on Newcastle’s All Weather track in May off a lowly 69, and completed the five timer a fortnight ago at Hamilton in the Scottish Stewards Cup off a mark of 97. He took it up inside the furlong marker and won by 3 1/4L from the very good yardstick Hoof It, (won the 2011 Stewards Cup carrying 10st). He races on Saturday off a 6lbs higher mark which seems fair, but a bigger concern would be very fast ground. By Pivotal he does like to get his toe in but has got plenty of form on Gd/Fm and Gd.

The Nicholls yard is also represented by the 6yo Kimberella and judging by his last time out win at York, is no back number. He was quite impressive winning this Class2 event on fast ground off a mark of 99 so Saturday’s 103 looks doable. He has no Goodwood form but was a most unlucky loser of Epsom’s “Dash” so the downhill track shouldn’t present any problems. Worth considering!

Roger Varian’s 5yo Double Up ran a fine race over 5f at Haydock in May where despite being hampered was only beaten 1 1/2L and 3/4L by Take Cover and Cotai Glory in a conditions event. He looked a very progressive animal last year winning three handicaps, the last of them off a mark of 98. His mark at the weekend of 105 does look quite tough but with form on the track, and a progressive profile, stepping up to 6f he is worth considering.

A course and distance winner at the beginning of June off a mark of 80, Andrew Balding’s 3yo filly Dancing Star has attracted market support. She was impressive three weeks ago at Headquarters winning off a mark of 96, so her new mark of 102 doesn’t look too bad, and she just might become the first 3yo filly since Sir Michael Stoute’s Autumn Sunset (8st2lbs)  won in 1983.

Poyle Vinnie ran a great race to finish second in last years Ayr Gold Cup off a mark of love 103 and races on Saturday off a pound lower. Michael Appleby’s 6yo finished a respectable 3rd to Right Touch and Kimberella three weeks ago at Chester when apprentice ridden. Reunited with his usual pilot, Andrew Mullen, he is worth considering at a big price.

Sprint specialist, Robert Cowell’s 5yo has come in for plenty of support. He hasn’t won since his two year old days but showed the talent was still there when finishing second in this last year, and coming 4th in the Ayr Gold Cup off a mark of 102. His two runs this term have failed to catch the judges eye, but again racing off 102 and coming from this yard it would come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

Oddsguru’s E.W. Selection in last week’s International at Ascot Right Touch, was taken out to wait for this, so has to be of interest. Trained by Richard Fahey, he demonstrated his wellbeing three weeks ago when taking a Chester handicap from a poor draw off a mark of 95 and previously had run well over the Goodwood track last April off the same mark. In a 7f contest and apprentice ridden, he was beaten less than a length when finishing 4th but had been given an awful lot to do. Out the back with a furlong to run he finished best of all, so with Ryan Moore taking over steering duties it could be a different story at the weekend.

Selection:    Toofi

E.W.       :   Poyle Vinnie.

Rose of Lancaster Stakes Gp3 1m 2 1/2 f Haydock Saturday

Roger Varian

Roger Varian’s progressive looking Dynaformer colt Intilaaq could well Saturday’s big race at Haydock.

I hope you were on last week’s selection, Magical Memory, the very tidy winner of The Stewards Cup. Returned at 6/1, he was available at the time of writing at a very tasty 14/1, so let’s hope we can keep the ball rolling this week in Saturday’s Rose of Lancaster Stakes.

Three year olds have won fifteen of the twenty eight renewals of this 1m 2 1/2 f contest since its inception in 1986, and Roger Varian’s progressive looking Dynaformer colt Intilaaq could well improve on their record. Having won his maiden at Newbury in April, he disappointed in the 2000gns, finishing fifteenth behind Gleneagles, but came good last time on his first attempt at the distance when winning a listed race at Newbury in very taking fashion. Now stepped up to pattern company for the first time this very well bred colt, (his dam won the French 1000gns) is of definite interest at the weekend. The only caveat would be the weather as his trainer feels that he would be unsuited by anything worse than good, so a waiting brief is advised.

The John Gosden trained Mahsoob is in the same ownership as Intilaaq, and based on his win in the 1m2f Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot off a mark of 106 is of interest. He disappointed last time in the 1m4f Gp2 Prince of Wales stakes at Newmarket when sent off favourite. He clearly didn’t get the trip and finished 6th, 6L behind the subsequent Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange. Returned to his optimum trip, (has won three times over 1m2f) at the weekend he is well worth considering.

Mostly campaigned at shorter, the Rod Millman trained 4yo Master Craftsman, conclusively proved his stamina credentials, when winning the hugely valuable, and highly competitive, John Smith handicap at York. Run over 1m 2 1/2 f he held on bravely to win by a neck, off a mark of 104. The ground at York was good, but he does like to get his toe in, (he won a Gp3 on gd/sft at Chantilly last year) so may well have his ideal conditions on Saturday. Having had a nice break since his York win, he does seem to have a lot in his favour at the weekend and is shortlisted.

In typical Mark Johnston fashion, the tough Fire Fighting’s nose has been kept close to the grindstone for the last two months, but he showed no signs of staleness when running another fine race at Goodwood last week. He was beaten less than 1 1/2L when running on resolutely behind the talented Mount Logan, to whom he was conceding 8lbs (1m2f gd/sft), and although seemingly held on some collateral lines of form, it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

Saeed Bin Suroor’s 6yo Clon Brulee ran well in a group3 over an inadequate 1m1f on soft ground at Newmarket last October, where he finished a running on 4th of 13 beaten 3L. He does like an easy surface, and back over a more suitable trip he could get involved.

Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race three times, is represented by the relatively lightly raced 4yo Munaaser. He had been mostly campaigned at around a mile, but in his last race at Goodwood, one week ago, he looked as if he would be well suited by further. Held up towards the rear in a Cl2 handicap over a mile, he ran on strongly to get within 4 1/2 L of the winner. By the Derby winner New Approach, out of a mare who stayed a mile there is plenty of encouragement in his pedigree to suggest that Saturday’s trip should suit, so coming from this stable is worth keeping an eye on.

Selection : Intilaaq. (if absent : Master Craftsman)

E.W. : Clon Brulee.