Alben Star Of The Stewards’
Glorious Goodwood goes out with a bang on Saturday courtesy of the cavalry charge that is traditionally known as the Stewards’ Cup (3.50).
Heading the betting at this stage is Willie Haggas’ recent winner, Muthmir (7/1), who won last weekend’s valuable sprint handicap at York over similar conditions (6f, good to firm).
The 6lb penalty picked up for that victory ensures he makes the cut for Saturday’s race, and while boasting a progressive profile, and trained by somebody who sent out two winners of this race in the last 10 years, it’s possible he may lack experience at this level with only three prior handicap – for the record, 44 horses ran in the Stewards’ Cup over the last 10 years with five prior handicap runs or fewer, and just three were placed here.
Of the last 10 Stewards’ Cup winners…
10 were 4-6yo’s
10 won during last 10 runs
9 returned 20/1 or shorter
9 ran in a class 2 race last time
9 ran over 6f-7f last time
9 had 6-25 handicap runs
9 were beaten 5l or less last time
Willie Haggas and David Nicholls have won it twice apiece
A few others with similar progressive backgrounds include Intrinsic (12/1), who won both outings this seasons in handicaps – the latter over C&D when last seen in May (soft) both wins were the 4yo’s only two experiences in handicap company, and his price is short enough for one with so little experience in these races.
Then there is Discussiontofollow (9/1), who was third in a valuable 23-runner 6f handicap at the Curragh a month ago, before gaining compensation in an 18-runner 5f handicap at Ascot a week later (good to firm).
While this 4yo also has the right make-up, it’s worth noting that only one of the last 10 winners of the Stewards’ Cup stepped up from 5f last time.
It’s hard to knock the chances of the aforementioned trio of Muthmir, Intrinsic and Discussiontofollow,
but at the prices there could be value via some of the more experienced sprinters such as the 6yo, Alben Star (12/1)
, who was only 3/4l behind Discussiontofollow when fourth at the Curragh despite a troubled passage.
Alben Star also filled the same spot in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot (6f, good to firm), a race that has often pointed up the Stewards’ Cup winner – in fact, 14 of the last 18 Stewards’ up winners ran in the Wokingham, where 13 made the top half of the field, including the 2013 winner, Rex Imperator (14/1), who heads back for another crack.
Rex Imperator has it all to do from a 4lb higher mark, though, while the last back-to-back winner of this race was back in 1968. Therefore, a better option could be Fairway To Heaven (14/1), who recorded a career best on his sixth handicap outing at Windsor a month ago (6f, good to soft). Any rain would aid his chance.
Elsewhere, Blaine (25/1) also won last time out when scooping the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton (6f, good to firm), and should do better than when beaten 13l in this race 12 months ago when out of sorts. He passes all of the trends and is well priced.
Royal Ascot’s Wokingham is so often the key pointer for this, and Alben Star was the highest finisher in fourth, and having been fifth in the 2012 Stewards’ Cup, he certainly deserves to bag a big one when things fall right.
Boomerang Bob was fifth in the Wokingham and is also another to consider.