GIFTED MASTER has the class and course form to defy top-weight in the Stewards’ Cup as another Glorious Goodwood comes to a close.
Hugo Palmer has addressed the weight issue by booking star apprentice Jason Watson, who should have a straight forward task tactics-wise on a point-and-go horse in tomorrow’s (Saturday) encounter.
The undulating Sussex track is also a plus rather than a minus, as most of his best performances over six furlongs having come at Newmarket (both Rowley Mile and July courses) and on Lingfield’s all-weather surface.
Significantly his one Goodwood appearance also reads very well, showing customary early pace – which will be important in such a big field – before finishing third in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs two years ago.
Never competitive dropped to five furlongs and upped to Group 1 company in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot last time. The five-year-old is better judged on his most recent handicap run – an all-the-way victory at Newmarket on 1000 Guineas day.
That was off a mark of 109 under James Doyle, leaving him still fairly treated off 111 here with Watson taking off 5lb, and he’s got to be each way value with Carrigill’s who go 16/1.
In between that and Ascot, the gelding ran a perfectly respectable race under a penalty to finish fourth in a hot Listed race at Windsor, coincidentally finishing a place ahead of last year’s Stewards’ Cup winner Lancelot Du Lac, who goes again this year for Dean Ivory and Robert Winston.
Stuart Williams has a strong hand in the consolation race, the Stewards’ Sprint Handicap (1.50), where SWIFT APPROVAL might be his best chance having been just seen off last time out at Newmarket.
The race looks like being a truly run 6f contest making his stablemate HART STOPPER another one to consider. The four-year-old has run well in his last two outings, pipping Robert Cowell’s RAUCOUS at Yarmouth last time out and further confidence will be garnered if Jamie Spencer opts to take the mount again.
The Group 3 Gordon Stakes (3.00) looks like a good opportunity for the stamina laden DEE EX BEE to stretch the field from the front and get back to winning ways. He was beaten a length in the Derby by MASAR and the form has since stood up with ROARING LION going on to land the Eclipse.
Today’s (Friday) action sees BATTAASH take a 3lb penalty into the King George Qatar Stakes but trainer Charlie Hills still thinks he has a bit in hand.
“I’m really, really pleased with him,” he told the Racing Post. “He’s moving like a dream and I think it’s the best we’ve had him this year.
“You never like to be too confident, but he’s got the best form in the race and is pretty much a long way ahead of the rest.”
ITV will also show a couple of races from Newmarket on Saturday. MELODIC MOTION is the best horse in the field on official ratings and can be sweet music to the ears of punters in the 2.05.
Closer to home at Thirsk tomorrow (Saturday), HEARTSTRING makes her long awaited debut in the 5f novice opening contest at 1.45. Trainer Ann Duffield’s husband and assistant George is very sweet on the two-year-old filly and she could produce a big run.
CARRIGILL’S NAP (Stake returned as a free bet if selection does not finish in the top 4): RAUCOUS, Saturday, Goodwood, 3.40.
AUGUR’S BEST BET:
BATTAASH, Friday, Goodwood, 3.35.