The Qatar Stewards Cup Handicap
Rounding of Glorious Goodwood on Saturday is their feature handicap The Qatar Stewards Cup Handicap. A notoriously difficult puzzle to solve but a race I am always keen to bet on given the value on offer. For the last two years this race has been won by a three year old, firstly Magical Memory and then Dancing Star for Andrew Balding last year. For the last two years a low draw does seem to be a positive however on a whole the draw bias in this race is more pace related. Not surprising given this race is only over 6f’s on an extremely pace biased track.
Heading the market at the moment is the Roger Charlton trained Projection, he finished 3rd last time out in the Wokingham and must hold major claims. He is closely followed in the market by Danzeno for Mick Appleby, Polybius for David Simcock and one of only two three year olds in the line up Sir Dancealot for David Elsworth. All four horses have high draws however I have a distinct feeling a high draw is going to be a negative on Saturday. There is no pace draw high whatsoever, the main pace angles have middle draws (Stake Acclaim st14, Eastern Impact st11 and Lancelot Du Lac st15) and having looked through videos of this race going back 10 years I am fairly confident they will edge over slightly in favour of low draws. That suddenly makes the market very interesting and I will run through some of more interesting runners at bigger prices below.
Al Qahwa is drawn centrally near all the pace and should get a good tow into this. Recent rain is very much in his favour and he ran a cracker of this mark just last week to finish 2nd. He will probably find a few too good but at a big price he strikes me as a solid each way bet. Danny Tudhope rides and that is significant given O’Meara has three in here. As the stable’s first pick I think the 25s on offer is good value.
Aeolus is really interesting in here. He too has a middle draw and he is now back down to a very workable mark. He has shaped with promise on his last two starts and 6f’s on this downhill track will surely suit him well. He has cheek-pieces on for the first time which I am fairly confident will eek out improvement. He has always struck me as a horse who thinks about it a bit too much and cheek-pieces should help him concentrate. He should be able to track a good pace in here and he strikes me as a very solid outside bet.
Growl is perhaps the classiest horse in this race on bits and pieces of form. He is best when able to track a strong pace and that does look assured. He is drawn low/central which is a plus and although he isn’t the best handicapped in here he is in cracking form. Beaten just 2.5l’s by Harry Angel last time out he may be tough to beat if bringing a similar performance to the table today. He’s a double figure price which surprises me and shouldn’t be underestimated.
How we bet: Aeolus 0.5pts E/W 25-1 Betfred (Time Of Writing)
Growl 0.5pts E/W 12-1 Skybet (Time Of Writing)