Thursday 22 February 2018

Growl can roar home in Stewards' Cup

Moore and Fahey to land prize despite unkind draw

Kings Fete (second left), with Ryan Moore up, on the way to winning the Betfred Glorious Stakes ahead of Ayrad (left), ridden by Frankie Dettori, at Goodwood Photo credit: John Walton/PA Wire
Kings Fete (second left), with Ryan Moore up, on the way to winning the Betfred Glorious Stakes ahead of Ayrad (left), ridden by Frankie Dettori, at Goodwood Photo credit: John Walton/PA Wire
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Minding heads for Glorious Goodwood in search of her sixth Group One, and it should be a formality.

Aidan O'Brien's filly is enjoying a sensational year, having already plundered the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Pretty Polly Stakes.

She is by some way the Classic generation's best female, so it will be interesting to see what route she goes down next.

In today's Qatar Nassau Stakes, Minding takes on four rivals rated between eight and 15lbs inferior, and there are plenty of high-staking punters that will be investing at odds of 3/10.

It will be a surprise if Minding has to come off the bridle for Ryan Moore, so a third win in this for the Ballydoyle genius, whose two previous winners, Peeping Fawn and Halfway To Heaven, were also aged three.

Races like the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes have the potential to see Minding's mettle truly tested against worthy opposition, so this should be a mere appetiser.

Suffice to say, the Stewards' Cup is a far more challenging betting proposition, with 28 runners set to be dispatched for the prestigious six-furlong handicap.

Dancing Star and Orion's Bow are clear in the betting. However, when Magical Memory won last year, he was the first three-year-old to prevail in the race for nearly 20 years. Sure, not too many run in the race, but it is a reflection of the size of the task facing Dancing Star.

Andrew Balding's charge carries just 8st 12lb after receiving a six-pound penalty for winning a valuable Newmarket race that has worked out well.

The Dandy Nicholls-trained Orion's Bow is on a six-timer. He is 34lbs higher than when initiating his sequence, so is also opposable off a mark of 103 for 9st 4lb.

Adrian Keatley's G Force and David Marnane's Jamesie are both on duty, and maybe Jamesie is an each-way option at around 33/1, given a low draw that is reckoned to be favourable.

Growl is one that the perceived wisdom suggests didn't fare too well in that respect by ending up in stall 26.

Maybe it will be decisive, but it's often hard to predict exactly how these things will affect a race, especially big-field sprints.

The draw apart, Growl has plenty going for him. Richard Fahey, whose team have been in rare old form, has got a great tune out of him since acquiring him for Marwan Koukash in the spring.

Growl improved to twice win over six furlongs, and then went to Newmarket for the Bunbury Cup. Over seven furlongs on that occasion, he ran another honest race to be beaten just a length-and-a-quarter by Golden Steps.

It was a fine turn, but the impression persists that six furlongs is his optimum trip. With conditions potentially ideal for Growl again now, he is fancied to have a big say at odds of 12/1.

At Newmarket, the 12-furlong fillies' Listed race is worth a look. Michael Stoute's Abingdon will be popular as she goes in search of a hat-trick, but the one that might be worth keeping on side is Lady Of Camelot. Raced just once as a juvenile in late 2014, John Gosden's daughter of Montjeu returned to score at Leicester in May. She was then pitched into a Group Three, emerging with credit when fifth to Endless Time at Haydock.

That was a turn that confirmed Lady Of Camelot's potential, and she should improve a bundle for it. If she does, she ought to go close here for Rob Havlin.

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