What are the best bets at Glorious Goodwood on Saturday?
The annual cavalry charge that is the Stewards’ Cup is one of four Channel 4-televised races to come under the scrutiny of our in-form racing expert.
14:00 Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap (Consolation Race For The Qatar Stewards’ Cup), 6f
A huge field of sprinters in this ‘consolation’ race to sift through and the best place to start is with the current 11/2 favourite, Projection, who is the only three-year-old runner and was returning from a long break when finishing strongly into fourth at Ascot earlier this month. A dual winner at two and gelded since, he should go well under Ryan Moore, who has a 27% strike rate on the stable runners. He has a high draw in stall 22 and the last two winners were drawn low, but a high berth (27) was no barrier to 2013 winner Seeking Magic. A worthy favourite then.
But there has to be plenty of each-way value elsewhere and I most like the look of Jamie Osborne’s MISTERIOSO, who is running under a 6lb penalty for winning a big-field handicap over this trip at Ascot two starts back. That was his first victory since his two-year-old days when with Richard Hannon and a slipped handicap mark (he was down to 84 from a high of 98) was instrumental in that. Still well treated here on 90, he should get the strong pace he needs – that was missing when only fourth at Chelmsford last time – and James Doyle can position him pretty much wherever he wants from a middle berth in stall 16. The stable is on fire too, as evidenced by a recent treble at Sandown, so there’s more than enough to warrant a punt at bet365’s 18/1, with the firm paying out on five places.
A couple of former winners, Seeking Magic (2013) and Barnet Fair (2014), who also finished runner-up last year, are respected But a bigger threat may come from David Evans’ Dougan with Adam Kirby booked. He looked progressive on the all-weather over the winter and, having found things happening a bit too fast over Ascot’s 5f last time, he will appreciate the return to 6f. He’s worth a saver at Paddy Power’s 14/1.
14:35 Qatar Handicap, 1m4f
A competitive renewal of a handicap that tends to throw up a smart winner capable of holding their own at Group level, with last year’s renewal going to Dartmouth. That horse’s trainer, the in-form Sir Michael Stoute (treble yesterday) is doubly represented by Royal Ascot flop Shraaoh, who should do better on today’s faster surface and has the assistance of Frankie Dettori, and Shabbah, who was denied by a head when attempting a four-timer at Ascot earlier this month and is the mount of Ryan Moore. The latter horse is 1lb worse off with the Ascot third, Dai Harraild, who did best of the hold-up horses on that occasion and holds a Group 2 entry. William Haggas’ charge has been put in as 6/1 favourite and is just about the pick of that trio.
But they all have to give plenty of weight weight to the Mark Johnston-trained JAAMEH, who is lurking at the bottom of the handicap with just 8st 3lb to carry. He has looked sharply progressive in three starts this season and, having got off the mark when beating Town’s History (a winner since) at Haydock on his penultimate start, he was unfortunate to bump into another progressive sort in Knights Table, who was completing a hat-trick and reopposes on 5lb worse terms.
The selection can avenge that defeat here given he’s still open to improvement and that his stable targets this meeting. Johnston has been leading trainer here nine times and, since 2000, backing all his runners blind would have yielded a £1 level-stakes profit of £76.05. That success rate has continued this week with three winners already on the board and I’m hopeful that Jaameh can register win No. 70 at the Glorious meeting for the Middleham trainer, with Betway’s 16/1 on that happening hard to resist.
15:10 Qatar Nassau Stakes (Fillies’ Group 1) (British Champions Series), 1m1f192y
It’s surely a case of how far for the brilliant MINDING whose presence has frightened off the opposition, with just four rivals taking her on, and has killed this as a betting contest – she’s no bigger than 2/7 (Hills) to record her fourth victory of the campaign and her fifth Group 1 following wins in the Fillies’ Mile, 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Pretty Polly Stakes last time. Her only defeat came in the Irish 1000 Guineas after a prolonged dual with the Jet Setting, when she wasn’t helped by banging her head in the stalls as they opened, and it will be a major shock if she can’t take care of today’s opposition, the best of whom may be French raider Jemayel. Looking further ahead, it would be great to see her taking on the colts at some stage rather than continuing to beat up her own sex.
15:45 Qatar Stewards’ Cup (Heritage Handicap), 6f
A typically competitive renewal of this annual cavalry charge and we’re assured of at least 13/2 if we can land on the winner. Plenty can be fancied of course but it now takes a sprinter of some quality to win it and, indeed, last year’s hero Magical Memory went on to Group success. He was the first three-year-old to score since Danetime in 1997 and lightning may well strike twice as DANCING STAR, the only representative from that age group, looks to have outstanding claims after squeezing in at the foot of the handicap by virtue of the 6lb penalty she earned for winning a Newmarket Heritage Handicap last time. That gives her something else in common with last year’s winner, who won the same race en route, and she won a shade more cosily than her three-quarter length margin of victory would suggest. That was taking her record this season to 3-4, with one of the victories coming over track and trip, and there is every chance she is still improving. A relative of the flying Lochsong, who was the last filly to win this and ran in the same colours, her future lies in Group races and bet365’s 13/2 that she can beat today’s handicap rivals, most of whom give her weight, looks very fair.
That she’s been handed a low draw in stall four might be seen as a a negative by some, with five of the last ten winners being drawn between 10 and 18. However, two were drawn lower and Hawkeyethenoo exited from the same stall when scoring in 2012. Besides, it’s more important to be where the pace is and with a couple of confirmed front runners, Ridge Ranger and Red Pike, drawn either side of her she ought to get a good pace to aim at.
The main danger may come from Dandy Nicholls’ Orion’s Bow, who like the selection has been improving at a rate of knots and is bidding to make it six wins on the bounce. His winning run started at Newcastle in May off a mark of 69 and, now rated 103 (34lb improvement to save you the math!), there may be more to come from him. His trainer was Glorious Goodwood’s Sprint King between 2000 and 2010, with 20 sprint winners at this meeting during that period, including three Stewards’ Cups, and the yard has been going well of late. He will exit from stall 12 and is worth a saver at Betfair’s 7/1.
Nicholls is also represented by Kimberella, who is another fine advertisement for his talents and is still on the upgrade judging by his latest success at York. He’s very much respected along with last year’s runner-up Toofi, who is now in the care of Robert Cowell, another fine trainer of sprinters. But this looks a stronger renewal than 12 months ago and the selection is undoubtedly the class act.
Goodwood 2.00, Misterioso each-way @ 18/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 184.108.40.206.5)
Goodwood 2.35, Jaameh each-way @ 16/1 Betway (1/4 odds, 220.127.116.11)
Goodwood 3.10, Minding-Jemayel straight forecast
Goodwood 3.45, Dancing Star @ 13/2 bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.