Clive Cox has won two renewals of the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Glorious Goodwood in the last ten years and in the opening contest at 1.50pm on Saturday, his CHATAGAI rates an interesting “Dark Horse”, now he’s back tackling a big field. He’s been shaping quite well in smaller fields at various tracks of late, but the last time he encountered 12+ runners, he won well at Kempton Park.
Richard Fahey’s MILITIA is starting to progress now after a string of consistent efforts. A 6lb penalty may not be enough to stop him going close in the Middleham Park colours and he’s probably the horse to beat, but Chatagai is worth a saver.
In the 2.25pm handicap over 1m6f, look out for Mark Johnston’s HOCHFELD stepping back in trip. He ran well for a long way before running out of puff late on in the two-mile JLT Cup at Newbury last time out, and is holding his form really well despite uninspiring form figures and for all this is a competitive race, it is not a strong and deep one by any stretch of the imagination. Hochfeld is trading at double-figure odds at the time of writing and is not one to underestimate.
The main race of the day is, of course, the Stewards’ Cup at 3.40pm, where a competitive and quality field will assemble for the famous 6f handicap. Foxtrot Lady is the well-backed favourite for Andrew Balding, having crept into the race off 8st 10lb with a 6lb penalty after her latest Newmarket win. Her half-sister, Dancing Star, bore a similar tunnel to victory here in 2016 and Foxtrot Lady is remarkably similar in terms of her rate of progression, racing style and ideal racing conditions. I think she’ll run a big race, I’m just not completely convinced she’s as good as her sister was as a 3yo and in any case, she’s too short in the betting now.
It could well be GROWL’s year, for the in-form Fahey and Hanagan partnership, which is a formidable one when firing. This experienced six-year-old has finished fourth in this race the past two years. In 2016, he was quite unlucky behind Dancing Star and in 2017, perhaps didn’t have the race run to suit. His handicap mark has tumbled down to 99 from a high of 114 and if he gets a good toe into the race, arrives in top form and is up for for a battle on Saturday, he is handicapped to make 2018 his year in the Stewards’.
It doesn’t look the strongest of renewals and is just a good Class 2 at the end of the day. So, the proven history of Growl’s ability to handle the demands of the Stewards’ Cup and indeed other quality sprints, makes him quite an enticing proposition to be right in the thick of things once again.