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The most competitive race of the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood 2014 is undoubtedly the 32red Cup (3.50), otherwise known as the Stewards’ Cup. And what a fascinating renewal it is.
The betting is currently dominated by a triumvirate of lightly-raced, progressive sprinters, namely Muthmir, Intrinsic and Discussiontofollow. It’s highly probable that the aforementioned trio will all graduate to Pattern company before the end of the season.
Of the trio in question, Muthmir, who is as short as 6/1 in places for this valuable handicap, arguably possesses the greatest scope. The son if Invincible Spirit looked pretty good when readily landing a 19-runner event at York last weekend.
William Haggas’ charge is the most probable winner, but I can’t bring myself to recommend backing one at such a short price in a race of this nature and ALBEN STAR, who is a 12/1 chance with Ladbrokes at the time of writing, is a more alluring option from a value standpoint.
Don’t get me wrong, the case to be argued for the Richard Fahey-trained gelding transcends value – indeed, he’s been promising to land a big pot all season, and his turn may well come on Saturday.
The six-year-old was desperately unlucky, not for the first time this term, when fourth in a valuable race at The Curragh in June, finishing just behind Discussiontofollow. Prior to that Alben Star was fourth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot so it’s fair to say that he’s been knocking on the door pretty loudly.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Alben Star has a major race in him off this sort of mark, and if he gets the rub of the green this time there won’t be many that finish in front of him, of that I’m confident.
Maria looks amazing at 9/1
The Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (3.15) lacks its usual deep strength in depth, but it’s an intriguing renewal nonetheless and the one to beat is Aidan O’Brien’s Venus de Milo, who lost little caste in defeat in the Pretty Polly at The Curragh last time.
The Duke of Marmalade filly looks sure to give a good account, but the top-priced 5/2 currently on offer is hardly appetising and I reckon it’s worth taking a chance on AMAZING MARIA, who is 2-2 at Goodwood and is one of the least exposed in the line-up.
The selection ran no sort of a race on her belated reappearance in the Epsom Oaks, but she clearly didn’t see out the mile and-a-half trip on that occasion and, in any case, she’s entitled to come on a chunk for that run.
The daughter of Mastercraftsman should be ideally suited by this intermediate trip and at 9/1 with BetVictor she is well worth chancing.
French raider Narniyn has to be respected despite stepping up in class, while similar remarks apply to Mango Diva and Sultanina. In essence, it’s an open-looking race.
Kings got a regal chance
The Jaguar Stakes (2.40) is a tricky puzzle to solve. This Class 2 handicap features several unexposed contenders from top yards, but the one that could turn out to be a cut-above this grace is KINGS FETE.
Hey shaped well when fourth behind Second Step, who renews rivalry on Saturday, in a Newbury maiden on debut. Subsequently, the King’s Best colt has improved, opening his account at Sandown in June prior to seeing off Mighty Yar in a strong handicap at York a month later.
Sir Michael Stoute’s charge doesn’t look entirely straightforward, but he clearly possesses an abundance of ability and the fitting of a hood this weekend should help. It’s also interesting to note that Kings Fete still holds entries in the Great Voltigeur Stakes and the St Leger.
Second Step followed up his maiden victory when scoring on his handicap debut back at Newbury next time and he rates a big danger, while the likes of Double Bluff, Satellite and Smiling Stranger all makes plenty of appeal, too.
The 32redsport.com Handicap (2.05), the consolation race for the Stewards’ Cup, looks very competitive indeed. The booking of Ryan Moore for Tatlusu catches the eye, Englishman remains on a potentially handy mark and Shore Step is a big player under a penalty following his victory at Ascot last month.
However, the recommendation is to split stakes and back both BARNET FAIR and DAYLIGHT. The former put in good late work when runner-up over 5f at Ascot recently and will appreciate returning to this trip, while a similar remark applies to Daylight.
Andrew Balding’s representative did well to finish as close as he did in a 5f handicap here on Tuesday, having for caught back further than ideal. Like Barnet Fair, the four-year-old will be more at home back at 6f and looks poised to run a big race.
Saturday’s racing betting advice: