Flat racing has three major sprint handicaps, the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and the Ayr Gold Cup. Unsurprisingly they often feature many of the same pool of horses but equally crucially each course tends to suit a certain type of sprinter and the Goodwood dash is one where the hold-up/come-late horses often come to the fore.
Although all of the triumvirate of sprints are very different, form at one track Ascot or, more correctly one meeting at the track (Royal Ascot) is vital for any prospective winner of the Stewards’ Cup. If we use the big handicap sprint at Royal Ascot as the trial to focus on for the Stewards’ Cup then runners from that race have produced no fewer than 11 of the past 15 winners.
In fact, finishing position in that handicap at the Royal meeting has little impact on winning the Goodwood race as none of the winners of the Stewards’ Cup have won the Wokingham in the past fifteen years – it’s the taking part in the race at the Berkshire course that counts. People looking at horse racing betting tips should remember this.
Another pointer that counts is class and that really counts, there was a time when the light weights held a grip on this race and it took until 1993 for the winner to break the 9st barrier and nowadays the winner is usually rated in the 90s at least.
The last five winners have been rated 102, 100, 95, 96 and 98 and although Evens And Odds won as a six-year-old last year it is younger horses who have dominated during the last decade, although three-year-olds are rarely represented and the majority of winners have come from the four and five-year-old category. Those who bet on racing should bear this in mind.
The draw is always of considerable debate and the last seven winners have all had a double figure draw but in essence it being a race where hold-up horses have held sway, the pace and where it is play an important part in the race. If there is a trainer to follow in the race then it is sprint king David “Dandy” Nicholls who won this for the third time last year and as usual has a multiple entry in the race – and arrives on the Sussex Downs with six combatants this year.
Evens And Odds tries again this year and he will be bidding to become only the fourth horse to win more than one Stewards’ Cup. One of the best handicap sprints in the racing calendar there is no finer or more thrilling sight than 30 top-class sprinters coming over the horizon on the last day of the Glorious Meeting at Goodwood.