David Cleary explains why he expects one of the market leaders to improve significantly on Saturday...
"Hurricane Ivor clearly still has the potential to go a fair bit further up the rankings. A powerfully-built sort, he is a smooth traveller who has seen his races at five furlongs out well, an ideal combination for the helter-skelter nature of the Stewards' Cup."
A conundrum: easily the most interesting contender for Saturday's Stewards' Cup on the final day of the Goodwood Festival is Hurricane Ivor, but in a race where 28 will go to post and the draw is not yet known, is he the bet in the race five days out, when he's currently at single-figure odds?
Hurricane Ivor has had three runs for William Haggas since coming from France and has been unfortunate not to have two outright wins to his name, rather than one shared one. He was denied a win instead of a dead-heat due to a misaligned mirror at Sandown at the start of the month and was on the wrong part of the track when just touched off at Ascot a week later.
Because this is an early-closing race Hurricane Ivor is running under a penalty for the Sandown win, his mark just 1 lb higher than the revised one off which he ran at Ascot. Although those two efforts might read as if he's on just a fair mark, Hurricane Ivor will definitely be stepping up again, back at six furlongs. There is a slight doubt about his effectiveness on soft ground, that the current official description, though some varied weather forecasts make predicting the surface at this stage a bit of a fool's errand.
Chil Chil: more to do under topweight
Just ahead of Hurricane Ivor in the market at the time of writing is the mare Chil Chil. She acquitted herself well in the Group 1 July Cup last time, having won the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle the time before. She's evidently an improved performer again this summer, but a mark 13 lb higher than for her last handicap requires a bit more again.
Fresh: likely to go close if he acts on the track
Fresh is more interesting. He has quickly established himself in this type of race this summer, with two cracking efforts at Ascot, on the second occasion beaten a neck in the Wokingham. He's not run at a track like Goodwood before, but he's another strong traveller who sees his races out well, so will go close if he acts on it.
The fourth runner currently at single-figure odds with Betfair Sportsbook is the three-year-old First Folio. He's won twice from three starts this year, since coming from France, and he had an excuse for his defeat between the two wins. Both First Folio's wins have been against his own age group and while the win last time at York came in a very competitive affair, it wasn't quite the same standard as this race.
Bottle a bigger price than he should be
There are obviously numerous other options, many at much bigger prices, with some of the horses that have run well in this race in the past worth consideration. Kimifive, runner-up last year, is one, though Justanotherbottle, runner-up in 2018 and better than the result when fifth in 2019, looks the most overpriced of that group, available at 41.040/1. Justanotherbottle would, though, be the joint-oldest winner of the Stewards' Cup this century.
It's become a commonplace to suggest that many of the top-end handicaps these days lack unexposed horses. That can be true of the Stewards' Cup. Recent runnings fall into two types where a large field of averagely-handicapped runners produce a blanket finish; and those where an unexposed one takes the opportunity to show just what they are worth. This looks one of the latter.
The unexposed winners in recent times have tended to be three year olds, but the year-older Hurricane Ivor clearly still has the potential to go a fair bit further up the rankings. A powerfully-built sort, he is a smooth traveller who has seen his races at five furlongs out well, an ideal combination for the helter-skelter nature of the Stewards' Cup. Hurricane Ivor can be backed at 9.08/1. That might not seen much of a price for a race like this, but there must be a good chance he will start a fair bit shorter.
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