This Stewards Cup looks Loaded

Steve Hughes has selections on the final day at Goodwood

The Stewards Cup (plus consolation race at the start of the card) is the big betting race of the week at Goodwood and this can go to an in-form and progressive sprinter.

Goodwood 1.50: George Dryden & Golden Steps

Not the most competitive race with plenty of horses at the bottom of the weights likely to be outclassed. However I have two experienced horses with form at this level and weighted to be in contention today.

First choice would be the 2015 winner Golden Steps who won that day for another yard off a mark a full 14lbs higher than today. He did lose his way for a while but has been rejuvenated by a move to Scotland and Jim Goldie’s yard. Considering he goes best in big fields over 6f, his recent efforts have been highly encouraging. He was a strong finishing third over 5f at Ascot last week and this extra furlong today is massively in the 7yo’s favour.

George Dryden has done enough too to suggest he will be thereabouts. After a slow start to the turf season he has been running nicely into form and was second over 5f at Newmarket last week, following up a recent third at Epsom – both times under today’s pilot Harry Burns. In the competitive 6f sprint on Derby Day at Epsom, he was nearly taken off the track at Tattenham Corner so did amazingly well to finish in mid-division that day and this cavalry charge and sharp 6f is ideal.

Goodwood 2.25: Platitude & Melting Dew

As is the norm in valuable staying handicaps, Mark Johnston saddles almost half the field by I am opposing his battalion with two alternatives.

Platitude looks overpriced considering his two runs for new handler Amanda Perrett (a winner here yesterday) have been amongst his best ever runs. His win over course and distance in May (and his first since a wind operation) was a game and classy performance and he proved that to be no fluke when second in a listed contest at Sandown since. He was a 5l winner on fast ground here too in 2016 and is only 2lbs higher than for his May win.

Melting Dew though has to be a big danger. He actually won over just 10f at Sandown last time, but that was a miraculous effort considering he was last and going nowhere at halfway. His previous performances over 12f such as his Epsom fourth in June looked like he actually needed further, so it is not that surprising to see him jump up 4f. He has had a gelding op and cheekpieces are restored since that Sandown win.

Goodwood 3.40: Spring Loaded & Glenamoy Lad

There look to be a few outstanding candidates in the Stewards Cup and most of the principals seem to be at the head of the market.

Spring Loaded has a massive chance despite a 6lb penalty for a recent win in a big 5f handicap at Ascot. This 6yo was originally an All Weather specialist, but his form on good ground over the past twelve months marks him down as a potential group race performer. He spreadeagled the field with a devastating late burst to win the Portland at Doncaster (5 1/2f) and ran well on his comeback in the Wokingham before a spectacular late run to win over 5f at Ascot last time. This sharp 6f can see him defy his big weight with Ryan Moore on board.

The Wokingham was won by a horse deliberately held back for his first run of the season and the same track might work with Glenamoy Lad under the eyecatching booking of Silvestre de Sousa. Ultra shrew handler Michael Wigham has transformed this hitherto average handicapper in Ireland to a winning machine with a 3-5 record (and has won all three 6f races on good ground or faster). His last win at Newcastle was gained with a massive amount in hand and even a 10lb rise might be insufficient.

Goodwood 4.50: Vale of Kent

After an excellent season and brilliant run on particular on Wednesday, Vale of Kent looks a strong choice for this handicap.

Over this 7f trip he found only the older Medahim too good and he only has horses of his own age group to take on today. He had previously run well here in a good handicap in May when third from a bad draw and this race does not look as hard.

Whilst his two wins most recently have been at a mile, he has the pace for 7f and I prefer him to the unexposed Restive Spirit who has quite a round action for fast ground and has yet to experience the hustle and bustle of a handicap, unlike my selection.

Recommended bets:

0.5pts each-way – George Dryden – 1.50 Goodwood – 14/1 general (Skybet 1/5 odds first 7)

0.75pts each-way – Golden Steps – 1.50 Goodwood – 8/1 general (Skybet 1/5 odds first 7)

0.75pts each-way – Platitude – 2.25 Goodwood – 10/1 general

1pt win – Melting Dew – 2.25 Goodwood – 9/2 general

0.75pts each-way – Spring Loaded – 3.40 Goodwood – 13/2 general (Skybet 1/5 odds first 7)

1pt win – Glenamoy Lad – 3.40 Goodwood – 12/1 general

1pt win – Vale of Kent – 4.50 Goodwood – 7/2 general

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