What are the best bets for the Saturday of Glorious Goodwood?
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup is the big betting race on the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood and that tricky handicap is one of four Channel 4-televised races that come under scrutiny here.
2.00: Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Stakes (Handicap) (Consolation Race For The Qatar Stewards’ Cup), 6f
A nice easy start (ahem). The last two winners, Barnet Fair (2014) and Seeking Magic, are amongst the 28-runner field and need considering having slipped back to winning marks, while Rex Imperateur, the winner of the 2013 Stewards’ Cup (off a mark of 104) came back to winning form last time and races off just 85 here. I’m not sure he’s as good as he was, though.
Direct Times can’t boast any course form, but the ground has come right for Peter Chapple-Hyam’s charge and this race has been on the agenda since he bolted up at Newmarket last time. He’s a worthy favourite, but I just prefer the chances of THE HOODED CLAW, who almost landed a gamble on his first start for Simon Crisford at Doncaster in June and is each-way value at 16/1 with Paddy Power, who offer five places. Connections must have thought he was better than his current mark and, while he’s been raised 5lb since, he might still be ahead of the handicapper. His trainer, who used to work for Godolphin, is proving a shrewd operator in his rookie season and his booking of Andrea Atzeni catches the eye.
The draw could play a part and it’s worth noting that seven of the last ten winners of the Stewards’ Cup, run over the same trip, were drawn between 10 and 19 – one was drawn in stall four with the other two in 22 and 26. Box 23 for the selection is hardly a disaster then, though the best advice is to not let the draw put you off and I’d be more concerned over where the pace is. That’s anyone’s guess.
2.35: Educate A Child Stakes (Handicap), 1m4f
This isn’t much easier with 15 in-form (mostly) three-year-olds all improving at different rates of knots. Dartmouth is the bookies’ favourite at around 4/1 and it’s hard to argue with that assessment as he was a stylish winner at Royal Ascot (King Bolete fourth, Polarisation sixth, Martiniquaise eighth). A 6lb rise looks fair and he has to go well, but I’m not sure he can give 7lb and a beating to NOVANCIA, who is available to back at three times his odds.
Mark Johnston’s filly is being turned out again quickly following her gutsy nose success at Newmarket last Friday, her fourth start of a career that started only on May 25. That would normally set the alarm bells ringing, but runners from the stable seem to thrive on their racing and this particular filly is clearly improving at a rate of knots. She was entered in a less valuable race yesterday where she would have a penalty and, while this is tougher, she is at least racing off her correct mark. Johnston, who targets this meeting and has won this race twice in the last three years, has three others entered, but this filly looks his best chance by some way and she’ll be carrying my money at 11/1 (Paddy Power).
3.10: Qatar Nassau Stakes (British Champions Series) (Fillies’ Group 1), 1m1f192yds
Last year’s Nassau was quite possibly the worst Group 1 ever run, but that can said of this strong renewal. The nine-runner field is headed by 1000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo, who followed her decisive Newmarket Classic success with close seconds in the Epsom Oaks and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh last time out, when going down a short head the more positively ridden and reopposing Diamondsandrubies.
The latter filly did well to finish fourth in the Oaks having met with interference and was a wide-margin winner of the Cheshire equivalent before that. She may have enjoyed the run of the race at the Curragh last time and Legatissimo, who was squeezed for room three out, could get her revenge here. However, she’s 7/4 favourite to do that, whereas DIAMONDSANDRUBIES can be backed at 4/1 (Paddy Power). I’m not sure there is a great deal between them – nothing on the ratings in fact – and Pretty Polly winners have fared well in this race, with three of the last seven winners to have run in the last 12 years completing the double, with two others finishing second. For the record, no winner of the Oaks has ever won this.
Of the rest, John Gosden’s French Oaks winner Star Of Seville is preferred over stablemates Bright Approach and Jazzi Top, while Lady Of Dubai, third at Epsom, returns to the scene of her course and distance success in May. Both have a little to find with the front pair, though.
3.45: Qatar Stewards’ Cup (Heritage Handicap), 6f
Having put up MAGICAL MEMORY at 14/1 at the start of the week, I’m not going to desert him now and, if you followed my advice, you’ve got a price as Charlie Hills’ runner is now bigger than 13/2 (Paddy Power). He might seem an unoriginal selection given the competitive nature of this race and luck in running always plays a huge part. However, he could not have been more impressive when winning a red-hot handicap on the July Course at Newmarket last time and, as this is an early closing race, he runs under a 6lb penalty, meaning he is officially 3lb well-in. Highly progressive, three-year-old runners like him tend to struggle to get a run in these big handicaps, but when they do they are always worth close attention as they are taking on older, more exposed sorts. That helps explain why no three-year-old has won this race since Danetime in 1997. Interestingly, that horse won the same Newmarket race Magical Memory won before his victory under 8st 12lb, which is what the selection will carry.
There are dangers wherever you look and they are perhaps headed by Roger Charlton’s Huntsmans Close, who won the Ayr Silver Cup last season and was fancied for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, only to get loose before the start and be withdrawn. He’s clearly a highly strung sort, but undoubtedly fast all the same and quite possibly still improving. He’s drawn in stall 14 and that may prove ideal if past results are to go by (see entry for 2.00 race). However, I’m not going to get too hung up on what’s drawn where and I certainly won’t let stall one (right against the far rail) put me off the selection.