Looking at the results of the last three Stewards’ Cups, there is no appreciable track bias with placed horses coming from all sorts of boxes. Instead then we must see where the pace is, not necessarily meaning where the front-runners are but where our highest rated horses are jumping from.
Of the six we’ve put up below, four of them are coming from low draws so we’ve taken the view that the far side may be a little stronger perhaps and as such, we may see the winner coming from that side. Here is our shortlist:
Drawn in 28 and not particularly in rip-roaring form of late, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that Aljady is just a four-year-old with plenty of improvement to come and did run third in a valuable six furlong handicap at York on his reappearance before going up to seven, something that perhaps just didn’t suit.
He could bounce back to form here for Richard Fahey who knows how to get them ready for such races, Thomas Greatrex also taking off a very handy 5lbs.
On the subject of Fahey, his relative old-timer Growl is back for another crack at a massive prize having contested Ayr Gold Cups, Wokinghams, Group 1’s and of course the odd Stewards’ Cup over the years.
While its true that he’s not as good as he once was, he ran a cracker to finish third in this race last year from stall 10 (he’s in 4 now), and also ran a close second in similar conditions at York in a valuable handicap in late June.
There is no reason to think he won’t give this his best shot and off a current handicap mark of 92, 7lbs lower than twelve months ago, he must go very, very close indeed under Callum Shepherd.
Given that Growl is a major player in this race and he is drawn right next door to Gulliver, they key form line here may be their battle at York in June.
They finished 1-2 that day with this horse narrowly on top at the end having conceded 4lbs to Growl before claims were taken into account, this time he carries 8lbs more and so while he has to make the shortlist that weight difference could be enough for his old rival to turn the tables around.
It hasn’t really been a surprise to see good money for this horse this week given that he was beaten only a short-head in the contest last year.
True, his trainer will have laid him out for this race and he is 4lbs lower in the handicap, but frankly he came into that event in great form last year and the same cannot be said of him this time around.
Having been well behind Growl and Gulliver last time out, it’s hard to see him getting his head in front, despite the weight of cash.
Drawn right on the rail in stall 1, Mark Johnston’s horse may be sent to the lead on the far side by Joe Fanning and he’ll stand a very reasonable chance of skipping away from them.
Rather typically for a Johnston horse he is hard to fully evaluate. He’s gone over different distances at different tracks on varying going descriptions, though he usually runs his race either way and despite having had 34 outings he is just a four-year-old and is entitled to improve yet.
Stone Of Destiny
Stone Of Destiny’s sire Acclamation was a good winner over this course and distance as a four-year-old and so Andrew Balding’s gelding is out to emulate his father.
In fairness, daddy didn’t get £155,000 for his win so in many ways this race is bigger and while he’ll have to bounce back to form, Silvestre De Sousa’s mount is very capable off this handicap mark and is fair each-way value at around 33/1 at the time of writing.
Lake Volta is interesting jumping from stall one and potentially wanting to front-run, while Justanotherbottle cannot be discounted after his run in last year’s race although his trainer will need to have worked some magic on him.
Even if he does go well he’d be representing the York form, a race in which Gulliver was well ahead of him giving 4lbs to GROWL who is now another four better off and it’s Richard Fahey’s runner that gets the nod.