July Cup runner-up Tropics tops 130 acceptors for the £250,000 Qatar Stewards’ Cup on the fifth and final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Saturday, August 1.
The Dean Ivory-trained seven-year-old went down by a nose to Muhaarar in the six-furlong Group One race at Newmarket on July 11 and finished the runner-up for the second consecutive year. Tropics has 9st 13lb in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup, while Ivory has also confirmed Wokingham Handicap third Lancelot Du Lac (9st 9lb).
Roger Charlton has won the Qatar Stewards’ Cup three times, most recently with Genki in 2009, and has this year’s ante-post favourite Huntsmans Close (9st 2lb). The five-year-old captured the Ayr Silver Cup decisively in September and was last seen out recording a neck victory over Charles Molson (Patrick Chamings, 8st 10lb) in a six-furlong handicap at Windsor on June 27.
There are four previous winners going forward for the famous handicap, with last year’s impressive scorer Intrinsic (Robert Cowell, 9st), Rex Imperator (David O’Meara, 7st 13lb), Hawkeyethenoo (Jim Goldie, 8st 9lb) and Hoof It (Mick Easterby, 8st 10lb) all engaged. Sky Diver (1968 & 1969) is the most recent dual winner.
Discussiontofollow (9st) was sixth last year and trainer Mike Murphy is hoping the five-year-old can build on that after two good recent efforts. He was second in a handicap at the Curragh, Ireland, on June 28 and ran a good fifth in his bid for back-to-back successes in a valuable five-furlong handicap at Ascot on July 11.
Bedfordshire-based Murphy commented: “The Qatar Stewards’ Cup is the main target for Discussiontofollow.
“He has come out of Ascot fine and, although he didn’t win, I was very happy with the performance.
“There is no reason why he can’t improve a little bit more - he is lightly-raced and still learning about racing. I think he is stronger both mentally and physically this year and we are pleased with the way he is progressing.
“I would like to think he can go closer than last year, although you always need a bit of luck.”
Discussiontofollow is the second favourite for the Qatar Stewards’ Cup with most bookmakers, trading at around 16/1.
Hoof It is an intended runner in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup and will go to York the week before.
Hoof It defied top-weight of 10st, the most carried to victory since 1946, in 2011 as a four-year-old rated 111, but has not won since and the eight-year-old has dropped down the ratings to 96.
Trained by Mick Easterby in Yorkshire, Hoof It is owned by agent Chubby Chandler and golfer Lee Westwood and is being aimed at the Qatar Stewards Cup again. He has run in the race twice, also finishing 15th in 2013.
Richard Thomas, racing manager to the owners, revealed: “Hoof It is an intended runner in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup and will go to York the week before.
“He needed his first run of the year at York in May and was only beaten just over five lengths, but last time he was disappointing at Newmarket (May 30) - the jockey (Jimmy Fortune) was never happy with him that day.
“His rating in the middle of last year was 105 so his current mark is feasibly lenient if he can run near to that. York on July 25 will tell us more.”
Hoof It is best priced at 40/1 for the Qatar Stewards’ Cup.
Charlie Hills is a trainer in form and has five possibles going forward, led by recent Newmarket scorer Magical Memory (8st 6lb), the likely mount of Frankie Dettori who is yet to win the Qatar Stewards’ Cup, and unexposed four-year-old Tanzeel (8st 10lb).
Other notables include Ninjago (Richard Hannon, 9st 1lb) and Ruwaiyan (James Tate, 9st 5lb), who were second and fourth last year, as well as Bunbury Cup fourth Related (David Simcock, 8st 11lb).
The maximum field for the Qatar Stewards’ Cup is 28 and there is a consolation race, the £75,000 Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Handicap, also over six furlongs and staged as the first race on Saturday, August 1.
Lightning Spear (Olly Stevens) and Royal Hunt Cup hero GM Hopkins (John Gosden) feature among 75 confirmations for the £150,000 Betfred Mile on Friday, July 31.
Lightning Spear is the 6/1 market leader with the sponsor on the back of a good second to Arod in the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 11. Gm Hopkins is next best at 8/1 alongside Farhh’s brother Basem (Saeed bin Suroor), who captured a valuable handicap at Sandown earlier this month.
Other notables include last year’s winner Red Avenger (14/1) and recent Newcastle scorer Zarwaan (14/1), both trained by Ed Dunlop, plus dual Cambridgeshire victor Bronze Angel (Marcus Tregoning, 16/1).
Betfredspokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “Despite the doubts over his participation, punters remain eager to back Lightning Spear on the back of his huge run in the Summer Mile. He could easily have eight or nine pounds in hand off 9st 5lb and will certainly go off much shorter than 6/1 should connections decide to let him take his chance.”
A maximum of 20 runners can face the starter.
Betfred Mile - sponsor bet: 6/1 Lightning Spear; 8/1 Basem, GM Hopkins; 12/1 Resonant; 14/1 Chil The Kite, Red Avenger, Speculative Bid, Zarwaan; 16/1 Bronze Angel, Hathal, Magic City, Moheet, Munaaser, Sahaafy, Short Squeeze, Temptress; 20/1 Ayaar, Buckstay, Halation, Johnny Barnes, Loving Spirit, Master The World, Merry Me, Redbrook; 25/1 Algaith, Azraff, Baltic Knight, Belgian Bill, Big Baz, Donncha, Emell, Enlace, Extremity, Horsted Keynes, Jacob Black, Lincoln, Mister Universe, One Word More, Oracolo, Queen Catrine, Russian Realm. Secret Art, So Beloved, Two For Two, You’re Fired; 33/1 Czech It Out, Dancetrack, Don’t Call Me, Early Morning, Gabrial, Gabrial’s Kaka, Ifwecan, King To Be, Melvin The Grate, My Dream Boat, Ocean Tempest, Santefisio, Tenor, The Rectifier, Tournament, What About Carlo, Yourartisonfire; 40/1 Boomshackerlacker, Fire Ship, Fort Bastion, Room Key, Saucy Minx; 50/1 George Bowen, Georgian Bay, Mime Dance, Mujazif, Pearl Ice, Sirius Prospect, Starboard, Surewecan. ¼ 1-2-3-4
Goodwood Racecourse was delighted to announce in December, 2014, a new 10-year partnership with Qatar, which is the single biggest sponsorship deal ever done for the benefit of British racing.
Commencing in 2015, this makes the Qatar Goodwood Festival one of the most significant and valuable meetings in the world. The highlight, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, is worth £1 million.
The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs for five days from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1.
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