The Stewards Cup stands out as the highlight event of the Glorious Goodwood Festival (that is for me at least). It may not be a race infused with endless amounts of class however; the competitive nature of this big field handicap gives both value and entertainment in one. First ran in 1840 The Stewards Cup is run over a distance of 6f’s and has a maximum field of 28. At the time of writing the race has an entry field of 28 runners.
The race was won last year by the impressive Magical Memory who has since gone on to land group class glory. Second best last year was Toofi he stands out as one of the leading contenders this time around after an eye catching run in the Wokingham.Rivellino finished a closing third last year and comes into this race somewhat under the radar having dropped down the weights. A return to better ground and this venue may spark him back into form.
Your current favourite for the race is the improving Nicholls raider Orion’s Bow (current best price 6-1) who has won his last five starts with uncomplicated ease. He has proved he goes on any ground and although a preference for soft would be ideal I’m not convinced it is needed. He is tactically versatile as he showed when unable to lead last time out and it is not surprising that he comes into this as the warm favourite.
My Advice – I’m not the keenest to support any horse racing under a penalty let alone a horse that comes into the race having won his last five and up 34lb in the weights. At 6-1 there is some value in his price but it’s certainly not the type of value I am looking for in a race of this nature.
Alike to Orion’s Bow the same comment regarding value can be applied to Dancing Star. She is your current joint favourite (current best price 6-1). I do however have my reservations. We saw Orion’s Bow give a clean pair of heels to some unexposed three year olds last time out, and I must admit it is proving that the three year olds aren’t up to the task when thrown in against their elders. In addition this horse has to shoulder a penalty for a narrow success which will make her job that little bit harder.
My Advice –No bet, a good improving type but may prove vulnerable to more experienced types.
Toofi is your 2nd favourite (current best price 11-1). He finished an eye catching 4l’s 8th in the Wokingham when done no favours by the draw. That form is strong but he does have to carry 9-2 which considering he carried 8-12 last year makes his task look steep.
My Advice – He has a lot to do at the weights and it is likely that he will find a few too good.
3rd in at market are the two progressive rivals Kimberella trained by Nicholls and Growl trained by Fahey.Kimberella has been in fine form recently and managed to notch up another success last time out when winning nicely from Related. He does however have to shoulder a penalty which will make things tough in this better race. Growl is partnered by Ryan Moore which is somewhat of a clue in itself. He has been in top form recently and did himself justice over a trip too far in the Bunbury. He has been left on the same mark and must come here with a live chance returned to ideal conditions.
My Advice – Both are hard to rule out however at odds of 12-1 there is better value elsewhere.
Verdict: There is a lot of pace drawn low and it does pay to be drawn on the far side. I like a horse that is able to track the pace and two horses drawn low that are nicely weighted and posses the ability to do that are Alben Star (stall 1) and Rivellino (stall 7). I never thought I’d see Alben Star in a big field turf handicap this late in his career however here we are and he comes into this race under the radar with a huge chance. He is undoubtedly a better horse on the AW, that said he also has some strong turf form to his name and drawn well in stall 1 he will have every chance to track the good pace drawn near. If he is good enough off a nice mark of 102 (which I think he is) then providing luck in running he will surely go close.
Rivellino is another that sneaks into this race under the radar; he finished a closing 3rd in this race last year. He was un-favoured by the draw but came home strongly off the same mark as today. A return to good ground and this track will all help and from stall 7 he will every chance to run a huge race.
Alben Star – (0.5pts E/W) 20-1 is available at Skybet.
Rivellino – (0.5pts E/W) 33-1 is available at Ladbrokes.
Thanks and Good Luck