GLORIOUS GOODWOOD’S three historic Group Ones and a range of other pattern races have tempted the big names and top trainers to Sussex over the last few days.
However, it’s the handicap races that punters and smaller trainers really look forward to and the biggest handicap of the meeting is undoubtedly the Stewards' Cup.
This Heritage Handicap features 28 tightly-matched sprinters and has been won by some classy horses since its creation in 1840, with the names of Lochsong, Danetime and Borderlescott standing out on the recent roll of honour.
And there’s a good chance of the trophy returning to Yorkshire via the in-form Malton trainer Declan Carroll’s JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE, who heads the market, and a strong hand on show from Upper Helmsley-based David O’Meara.
O’Meara decided against a tilt at the Wokingham, instead sending GULLIVER to Windsor and Ripon during June, where he carried big weights on both occasions.
O’Meara’s five-year-old finally claimed his first victory of the year in the Sun Racing Handicap at York at the end of June, carrying odds of 20/1 to an impressive victory over many rivals he could face again at Goodwood. GULLIVER is still some seven-pounds short of the career-high rating he reached a year ago, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run a big race.
He also saddles SUMMERGHAND, who has been campaigned over 7f but looks like he needs a really strong pace over 6f having run some tremendous races in defeat this year.
He was second by a neck when trying to concede 6lbs to FLAVIUS TITUS at Newmarket’s Craven meeting. Roger Varian's winner has progressed and is one of the favourites but he will be 5lbs worse off with SUMMERGHAND, who ran fifth from off the pace in the Wokingham.
Useful handicapper JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE was beaten by a short head last year by Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master. But this prominent front-runner stays 6f, acts on good to firm and good to soft going and handles the track. He’s only run twice this term and on form this year should be five times the 10/1 price with Carrigill’s but, at 4lb lower going into the race, this year may just have been laid out for this.
David Griffiths, another Yorkshire trainer, will be hoping ORNATE can follow up on his win in the Epsom Dash in June. Never headed, he hung on gamely in the closing stages as the pursuing pack closed in and emerged with an impressive Topspeed rating. All eight of his victories have been over the minimum 5f trip but he has placed over 6f in the past and Griffiths clearly feels he can step up again
Charlie Hills thinks KHAADEM has pretentions of becoming a stallion and can’t be discounted as he won the race with another three-year-old in 2015 with Magical Memory. The same aged KHAADEEM is lightly-raced and versatile with regards to ground and won the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury on his reappearance this term.
In the preceding Lily Langtry Stakes, MANUELA DE VEGA needs to come on again from winning a weakish Listed race last time, but can improve past the older fillies with Aidan O’Brien’s progressive SOUTH SEA PEARL possibly the one to beat.
North Yorkshire trainer Nigel Tinkler has toasted plenty of winners already this year and TRIPLE DISTILLED can chalk up another win at Newmarket tomorrow (Saturday). The three-year-old had to be switched to get a run at York last weekend and can make it three in a row.
TARBOOSH needs a small field and turf and gets 2lb off the top weight at Hamilton tomorrow night at 7.20 when conditions should suit.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): ORNATE, Saturday, Goodwood, 3.40.
Augur’s best bet: MANUELA DE VEGA, Saturday, Goodwood, 3.00.