Stewards' Cup - 15:35 Goodwood

Focus on the favourite

Nahaarr (9/2)

Nahaarr went like the best horse at the weights when third in the Silver Wokingham at Royal Ascot, faring much the best of those who raced close to the strong gallop. That was his first start at six furlongs in over a year, and he confirmed the promise he showed there when successful at Newbury last time, hitting the front a furlong out and keeping going well to land the spoils by two and a quarter lengths (had plenty in hand). That form sets the standard here on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, even with a 7 lb higher mark taken into account. He may yet have even more to offer, too, and looks to hold sound claims in this valuable handicap before stepping up further in grade, already possessing a Timeform rating that suggests he can be competitive in minor pattern company.

An outsider to consider

Kimifive (16/1)

Kimifive is seemingly equally effective at both six and seven furlongs, and he makes each-way appeal now back down in trip after his eye-catching effort in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last time. Held up in the early stages, he travelled strongly but was forced to wait for a gap from two furlongs out, only getting a run when it was too late. He wasn’t given a hard time by Richard Kingscote once it became clear he wasn’t going to play a hand in the finish, and the bare margins involved (beaten five lengths into sixth) certainly don’t tell the whole story of how well he shaped. Jockey Cieren Fallon is excellent value for his 3 lb claim, and Kimifive should at least improve upon his tenth in this race 12 months ago, when he also finished with running left after meeting trouble.

A stat to note

Three-year-olds have won three of the last five renewals

Three-year-old winners of the Stewards’ Cup had been relatively rare up until recently, when three of them – Magical Memory (2015), Dancing Star (2016) and Khaadem (2019) – came along in quick succession. There are two members of that age group in this year’s line-up, Lexington Dash and Meraas, both of whom are just behind Nahaarr in the ante-post betting. The latter is the pick of them on Timeform ratings, already established as smart after making it three wins from his last four starts in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton two weeks ago. His upwardly-mobile profile suggests it would be folly to rule out more improvement, too, so he rates a leading contender for the Mark Johnston yard that is surprisingly yet to win this race.

The Verdict

The three-year-olds Lexington Dash and Meraas both have the Timeform ‘p’ attached to their ratings, denoting that they may yet have more to offer. They merit consideration given the fine record of their age group in recent renewals of the Stewards’ Cup, but preference is for the favourite Nahaarr, who could ultimately be much better than a handicapper if continuing the rapid progress he has made since dropping back to six furlongs. He had plenty in hand when getting back to winning ways at Newbury last time and seems sure to mount a bold follow-up bid. At bigger odds, Kimifive is also worth considering. He shaped well in the Bunbury Cup and has certainly shown enough to suggest he is on a good mark on his return to Goodwood, the scene of his last success in May 2019 (also an eye-catcher in this race last season).

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 127        Nahaarr
  • 126        Wedding Date
  • 125p     Meraas
  • 124        Kimifive
  • 123p     Lexington Dash
  • 123        Barbill
  • 123        Open Wide