Glorious Goodwood comes to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon with the notoriously tough Stewards’ Cup Handicap amongst the key attractions.
We’ve got a fancy in that race and also a selection from the red-hot Willie Mullins team at Galway as the Ballybrit Bonanza heads for the finish line.
A field of 23 will go to post and this is going to be a tough prize to claim. But if anyone knows about landing a 6f big-field handicap then it is the brilliant Richard Fahey.
George Bowen has been very progressive this season in sprint handicaps, winning twice already and in very good style last time out at Hamilton. He carries a 6lb penalty for that win, but looks the sort to carry on improving.
He’s already run a cracker in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and is proven on all types of ground, ensuring conditions won’t be a worry.
His trainer has suggested he is shaping up nicely for this one and is a lively each-way contender in this devilish puzzle for punters.
Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee finished an excellent second in the Derby at Epsom in June and, while not quite living up to expectations in two starts since, could easily bounce back here as he is eased in grade.
That Classic run was full of promise and Dee Ex Bee has run well enough in two Group Ones since without looking like winning. He never appeared content in the Irish Derby at the Curragh but his most recent outing in France showed some signs of encouragement and there is now talk of a St Leger run.
This track should be right up his alley given the way in which he handled the undulations of Epsom in June and he can account for Sun Maiden, an improving contender that represents last year’s winning trainer/jockey team of Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore.
The latter ran well in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot but even that form gives him plenty to find with the selection on ratings.
Willie Mullins has been the toast of the Galway Festival this week, with Ireland’s champion jumps trainer already into double figures for the week-long festival.
Safety in number is the approach for this competitive handicap hurdle, with Mullins account for close to half of the field.
None are more interesting than Shanning, the mare which was unbeaten in two starts last season. Ruby Walsh has taken the ride and she was a C&D winner when last spotted. Mullins will have her ripe for the return and she could easily prove to be much better than a handicap mark of 126.
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