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Friday 31 July 2015

Qatar Stewards' Cup, 3:45, Saturday, 1st August

The Stewards’ Cup, run over 6 furlongs, is the betting highlight on the fifth and final day of what is now known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival. A maximum field of 28 runners is set to face the starter on Saturday and, as usual, we’ve selected a few that we think could go well at generous odds.

The first of them, Poyle Vinnie (16/1), did us a favour when making all in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton fifteen days ago and still looks reasonably treated under a 6lb penalty. The Piccolo gelding has officially improved by 34lb since the start of last season but, judged on his Hamilton effort, may not have finished improving just yet. He’s won on soft, good and good to firm going, so shouldn’t be inconvenienced by drying conditions at the West Sussex track between now and Saturday and he’s not badly drawn to execute his usual front-running tactics in stall 4.

Basil Berry (33/1) finished seventh, beaten 5½ lengths, in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot and ran to a similar level of form, despite being denied a clear run in the closing stages, in a 0-100 contest over 7 furlongs at Haydock four weeks ago. He’s only 2lb higher in the weights than when winning in 0-95 company at Ascot in May, has the services of Silvestre De Sousa, who’s 2-4 on him, and is drawn in the range of stalls that has produced eight of the last ten winners of the Stewards’ Cup.

So far, we’ve selected one drawn low and one drawn in the middle, so it makes some sense to have one drawn high as well. Fortunately enough, our third and final selection, Related (18/1), is drawn right on the stands’ side in stall 24. In fact, David Simcock’s 5-year-old finished two places and 2½ lengths ahead of Basil Berry in the Wokingham Stakes and is just 1lb worse off. He may not be as well drawn as Basil Berry this time, but his fourth of seventeen, beaten just 1¼ lengths, behind Rene Mathis in the Bunbury Cup, over 7 furlongs at Newmarket three weeks ago was another solid effort and he should be thereabouts once again.

So, in order of preference, our three against the field this week are Poyle Vinnie (16/1 generally available), Related (18/1 with Bet365) and Basil Berry (33/1 generally available). Good luck!