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Stewards' Cup preview

Bookies have been taking a hammering at Goodwood this week but Saturday's betting feature, the Stewards' Cup, gives them a decent chance at getting something back. Tough race, close to double figures the field on Betfair at the moment. Stepping up with the preview is Stephen Boardman, @ste_b85. You can read more of his work on his site, TheRacingGuru.

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Stewards' Cup

HOOF IT
One of the best winners of this in modern times when taking it two years ago from just 1lbs lower. Had his troubles since and it'd be a huge training effort to have him primed to win today; Fallon back in the saddle though.

YORK GLORY
Took the Wokingham in June and comes here for what would be a special double. Up 9lbs today but has entries in Group races later in the year, suggesting he should handle that. Has to be respected once again for Ryan/Spencer.

HAWKEYETHENOO
A brilliant horse for connections over the years and is generally to the fore in these big handicaps. Last two starts haven't seen him at his best and he's 5lbs higher than when taking this by a nose last year. Tough ask.

TIDDLIWINKS
Has run well here in the past but hasn't shown much so far this year to suggest he's ready to strike. He remains on a high mark and the stable has a far more obvious chance with York Glory.

TROPICS
Rarely runs a bad race and has improved leaps and bounds this year. Took the SkyBet Dash last week and bids to emulate Hoof It by following up here today. Deserves major respect while in this mood despite the 6lb penalty.

REX IMPERATOR
Only his fourth start for trainer that has a good record in this race. A shade unlucky in the Wokingham and then a close second to Tropics at Windsor puts him bang in contention; claims.

HUMIDOR
Has a decent record at the course after taking two handicaps and finishing just behind the places in the King George in '11 and '12. Still could be high in the weights but he's interesting given course record and drop in class.

DINKUM DIAMOND
Another of the Wokingham runners and he did well to finish third there after showing his liking for 5f mainly. Has to be in the mix once again based on that running with this course likely to suit even more.

SHROPSHIRE
Yet another who contested the Wokingham and deserves one of these big handicaps on his CV. Up another 4lbs but the booking of Ryan Moore catches the eye with him having a 27% strike rate for the yard this year. Another for the shortlist.

FACE THE PROBLEM
Tremendous campaign last season including win at Haydock off 1lbs higher than today. Hasn't been the same during 2013 though and usually seen over a flying 5f. Easy to pass over.

WHOZTHECAT
Finished second and first of late in two of the hottest sprint handicaps in Ireland and richly deserves a crack at this. Sharp 6f will suit and sure to make a bold bid from the front under decent claimer. Another who can go well.

BLAINE
Few miles on the clock and looked a 2yo to follow when winning the Gimcrack last year. Things haven't quite worked out for him since and this is a huge ask to win today against seasoned handicappers.

LOUIS THE PIOUS
Second in the consolation to this last year from 8lbs lower in the weights and on the balance of things probably faces quite a tough task today. A confidence boosting win on his last start gives hope but others seem better treated.

PRODIGALITY
Fairly consistent and a good indication to the level of form of a race. Has run blinders on both starts at the course but this clearly much tougher. Queally booking a positive and no shock to see him run well without winning.

REGAL PARADE
Grand old warrior who keeps on winning every so often. Very creditable second in last year's Ayr Gold Cup off same mark gives him a squeak. But this test at Goodwood very different and hard to fancy today.

NINJANGO
One to fear for the usual top trainer/jockey combo at this meeting. Fourth behind Heaven's Guest at HQ on latest start when met trouble he could put up a bold show today. Claims, but maybe not as strong as some of the rest.

SECRET WITNESS
Dropping down the weights to a mark he can exploit under the right conditions. Usually saves his best for the Northern tracks though and hasn't fared that well when tried here.

AJJAADD
Usually runs well at the speed tracks and has won already this year at Epsom. He'll need to improve again to take this though and hard to envisage him doing that as a 7yo.

FREE ZONE
Decent start to his career as a 2yo/3yo. Has shown little in three starts this campaign though and it'd be a real shock were he to plunder a prize like this.

BURWAAZ
Second in the Molecomb as a 2yo on only start at the course and interesting now dropped back to sprinting. Dropping to a handy mark and first time blinkers could also help his chances. Big price.

BARNET FAIR
Up 6lbs for his win last weekend at Ascot (where he's won his last two) and likely to find things less in his favour today. Surprise to see him trouble some of these over furlong further and off higher mark.

POLSKI MAX
Most of his good runs have come on ground much softer than he will get today and he faces a tall order in against his elders in one of the toughest sprint handicaps of the year. Passed over.

HEAVEN'S GUEST
Landed competitive 3yo handicap at HQ latest with Ninjago in behind. Has a 6lbs rise for that but is clearly going the right way. Again, will find it tough against some of these but deserves his place in the line up but it'll probably come too soon.

PABUSAR
On a long losing run but can put it together when the mood takes him. Mark makes appeal but putting faith in him to deliver is a major guessing game.

RACY
Has two seconds to his name in big field handicaps since connections picked him up from a claimer in May. Speedy and talented he should give another good account without having the finish that some have got.

DR RED EYE
Another who has been seen to great effect at the Northern courses of late, winning twice at Chester. In form De Sousa a bonus but hard to see him winning on all known evidence.

MAC'S POWER
A stalwart of these events over the years and has come close here before, behind Hoof It in his winning year. Tailed off on only start this year though for new stable and not in good enough form to win.

HARRISON GEORGE
On the comeback trail since the fitting of the tongue tie/blinkers combo and was rated in the 100s in his peak. Quick ground won't help him though and this tougher than last two assignments.

SUMMARY

One of the best sprints of the year and, as always, it's tough to call. In recent times the race has been won by those drawn middle to low and it's hard to ignore the chances of Wokingham scorer YORK GLORY (10/1; win) from stall four. He surprised me with the way he won at Ascot but his connections knew he was smart and he's entered up in any number of Group races later in the year. He's a perfect ride for Spencer who will stalk and pounce. Now up 9lbs from the win at Ascot, but if he has aspirations of winning Group races then he has to be involved today. In addition, Tropics is clearly a major player, from the others drawn low, given his current form. It's always handy to have one drawn on the other side in case that bunch ends up winning. So with that in mind it's WHOZTHECAT (20/1; ew) who catches the eye. He's improved a lot in recent months and often blazes from the gates. This track is likely to suit and his attitude in big field sprints over in Ireland has been spot on. With five places available with some firms he represents a solid each way option.

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