Turf Talk: Stewards Cup marks glorious end at Goodwood
SATURDAY is the closing day of the Glorious Goodwood festival which means it’s Stewards Cup Day.
A ferociously competitive handicap sprint, with runners charging all across the course, it’s one the toughest races of the year to solve and, supported by the Stewards Stakes, could have punters going to sleep seeing sprinters at the end of proceedings. The Nassau Stakes is the group one action for the meeting and with supporting races across the card and over the UK it’s a typical busy Saturdays racing to enjoy.
For the appetizer to the big one it’s Cape Classic that I’m hoping can get us off with a bang. He’s been a slow improver through out his career and he was at his most impressive at Windsor last time out when running out a length and quarter winner where firmly in control come the end of the race. He was initially aimed towards seven furlongs in his career but has proven more effective as a six furlong horse and the strong pace this big field throws up will play into his strengths. We’ve yet to see the best of him yet and with more improvement to come he looks to hold an excellent chance.
A Boy Named Suzi has been collecting a lot of place efforts recently but the step up in trip today looks sure to suit him and will hopefully help him go one better. He cruised through the contest at York last time out and looked a huge danger heading inside the final furlong having made headway on the bridle to that point, he was eventually beaten just a head but it was a very good performance. He has a very good cruising speed and has already proven he gets fourteen furlongs as a three year old and now he’s improved a year on I think he’ll be more effective at the trip than he was then.
In the last three years the Nassau Stakes has been dominated by crowd favourite and high class filly Midday and whilst there isn’t likely a Midday amongst the ranks Izzi Top is going some way to confirming herself as a serious filly. She has done nothing but improve through out her career and since returning to the track this year has continued that improvement sharply which culminated in an easy group one success last time out. Only a small field last time out and she tracked a soft pace but she quickened easily in the home straight and went away from the improving runner up Sapphire with very little fuss winning with plenty in hand. She should hold the older horses and I’m not convinced by the three olds this time around at present so if she comes back here in the same form she has been showing this year and continues her improvement I think she’ll be difficult to beat.
Over at Thirsk there is a competitive handicap in the Summer Cup, last years winner Osteopathic Remedy lines up again but the runner that interests me is Takeitfromalady. He was a bit unlucky last time out and with a clearer run would have gone a lot closer with the eventual winner. There wasn’t a great deal of pace on early and they were still closely bunched up inside the final two furlongs where he managed to run into all sorts of traffic problems as the winner took the clearer path switching for a run up the stands side. Once he was out inside the final furlong he stayed on strongly to run on into second place. He definitely would have been closer had he got a clearer run and given the steady pace it was a good performance e in the end. He’s still improving and having posted some good performances this year this looks a good opportunity.
As ever the Stewards Cup looks a mighty tough puzzle to solve but I’m happy to be in the corner of Dungannon. It’s fair to say he was a little unlucky last time out at Ascot having stormed home first in the stands side group having travelled strong and quickened well only to find himself fifth over all. The far side group had the race amongst them selves the whole way and his task in hindsight was a very tough one. Though behind a Hawkeyethenoo and Waffle at Ascot in the Wokingham I think he’ll have come a long from that now with this his fourth start of the season and certainly the latter of that pair he finished behind wouldn’t be a reliable horse to hold the form up. It is a tough race Dungannon is an inform horse who at five could still have a big race performance in him yet and I’d be disappointed if he didn’t finish amongst the placings at least.
2.05 – Cape Classic
2.40 – A Boy Named Suzi (ew)
3.15 – Izzi Top (nap)
3.35 – Takeitfromalady (nb)
3.55 – Dungannon (ew)
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Weather for Galashiels
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West