0.75pt EW Ridge Ranger @16/1, 0.75pt EW Raucous @16/1, 0.5pt EW Dinkum Diamond @33/1, 15:45 Stewards' Cup, Goodwood

One of the highlights of the handicap sprinting season is the Stewards’ Cup. There’s been some excellent racing at Glorious Goodwood this week, but it’s a race I’ve always looked forward to the most at the festival.

The races on the straight course have generally developed down the centre of the track this week with a slight bias towards low numbers. There is plenty of pace in stalls 3 (Jamesie), and 5 (Red Pike), so it looks like the middle-to-low drawn horses might have the edge.

The two rapidly improving horses in the field are joint-favourites – Orion’s Bow and Dancing Star – and have excelled in recent months. The former, gelded at the end of last season has risen a massive 36lbs, and is expected to put in a big run, whilst the progressive filly has a C&D victory already in her short career.

I was tempted by Dancing Star given her pedigree connects her with a previous winner, but a combination of this being her first outing against older horses, price, and a collateral form-line with RIDGE RANGER have pointed us to the improving five-year-old mare instead.

Dancing Star’s best form on offer is a 0.75l win against Priceless over 6f when conceding 1lb, which compares to a 6l differential and a 13lb concession to Priceless when the selection finished second in a 6f fillies listed race at Haydock earlier in the year.

Ridge Ranger (now officially rated 110) took her form to new heights with a Grp 3 win over Besharah (110) at York, and her third behind the classy Marsha (111) reads even better with that form getting a bit of a boost after her run in the Grp 2 King George Stakes yesterday.

She has won around Goodwood before and is drawn 2 up with the pace. She might even look to make the running, but is expected to go well either way. The slight negative is that she has to carry a 6lb penalty, although she is technically 1lb well-in on her revised mark.

Magical Memory won this last year as a three-year-old and RAUCOUS – who is currently a best priced 16/1 –  could be set to follow that effort if he can emulate his superb 2l third behind The Tin Man a fortnight ago, where he had several more highly rated horses behind.

That was his first run over 6f since he was a two-year-old, and it represented a massive step forward on his performance in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot (7f, soft) when he finished in midfield.

He looks like he needs a decent pace and with just eight starts to date he remains nothing but unexposed so keeping him over the shorter 6f trip on his handicap debut looks significant. William Haggas has had a few winners in this race and with the son of Dream Ahead receiving a 5lb weight-for-age allowance, he looks like he could be made for this.

We are also keen on having a small bet on DINKUM DIAMOND to round off the selections having finished fourth in this last year off a 1lb higher mark and been dropped to his last winning rating of 101. He has got his conditions for the first time in a while, and has already run with credit in both the Wokingham and the Bunbury Cup this season, not to mention his 4/26 in the Victoria Cup in May when rated 103.

His handler Henry Candy has already claimed some of the biggest sprint events this season and will have been aiming him at this one. He has a nice draw in stall 13, and looks like he can outrun his odds of 33/1

It’s set to be a cracking renewal.

0.75pt EW Ridge Ranger @16/1, 15:45 Goodwood
0.75pt EW Raucous @16/1, 15:45 Goodwood
0.5pt EW Dinkum Diamond @33/1, 15:45 Goodwood

(Skybet paying six places, 1/4 odds)






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