Entries have revealed today for the two feature handicaps at the Qatar Goodwood Festival - the £250,000 Qatar Stewards’ Cup (Saturday, August 1) and the £150,000 Betfred Mile (Friday, July 31).
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup has more than doubled in value since last year, with a prize fund increase of £150,000, while the Betfred Mile is up £20,000 on the 2014 offering.
A total of 142 entries have been received for the £250,000 Qatar Stewards’ Cup, including three of the last four winners of the great six-furlong handicap
Last year’s impressive winner Intrinsic, trained near Newmarket by Robert Cowell, could bid to become the first dual winner of the six-furlong showpiece since Sky Diver (1968 & 1969).
Other previous winners engaged are the Yorkshire-trained Hoof it (Mick Easterby), who defied top-weight of 10st when storming to victory in 2011, and the 2012 hero Hawkeyethenoo from Jim Goldie’s Scottish stables.
Trainer Roger Charlton has sent out three winners of the Stewards’ Cup, most recently Genki in 2009, and is targeting this year’s race with Huntsmans Close. The five-year-old was withdrawn from the Wokingham after getting loose, but gained compensation with a neck victory over Charles Molson (Patrick Chamings) in a six-furlong handicap at Windsor on June 27.
Three quarters of a length further back in third was the lightly-raced Gamesome, who was turning out quickly after a good sixth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot seven days earlier.
The Olly Stevens-trained four-year-old caught the eye in two outings at Newmarket earlier this season, coming home sixth in the Group Three Abernant Stakes in April and was an unlucky fifth in a competitive six-furlong handicap at the Guineas meeting.
Stevens, who is based at Chiddingfold in Surrey, said: “Gamesome came out of Windsor in great shape. Goodwood will probably be the earliest we will run him back as he’s had two quick runs but the Qatar Stewards’ Cup is the sort of race he needs to be going for.
“He is still relatively inexperienced and hopefully there is more to come from him.”
William Haggas has two Stewards’ Cup victories to his name, courtesy of Conquest (2008) and Rex Imperator (2013). The Newmarket handler has engaged Mubtaghaa and Valley Of Fire, who were first and third in the valuable sales race at York last season.
George Baker has seven entries including popular eight-year-old Humidor, who got back to winning ways at Newmarket last week, while Clive Cox’s six-strong entry features unexposed four-year-old Unforgiving Minute.
Dean Ivory is responsible for two of the potential top-weights in last year’s Group One Darley July Cup runner-up Tropics and Wokingham third Lancelot Du Lac.
Other notables include last year’s runner-up Ninajago (Richard Hannon), Discussiontofollow (Mike Murphy) and Wokingham fourth Related (David Simcock).
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup weights are announced on Wednesday, July 8.
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 headlines 87 entries for the £150,000 Betfred Mile and is the 8/1 market leader with the sponsor on the back of an impressive handicap success at Salisbury on June 24.
It was a fourth victory from as many starts for the Olly Stevens-trained four-year-old, who narrowly missed the cut for the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
Stevens said: “Lightning Spear has come out of Salisbury really well. I am still discussing with the owners what we do next with him and I thought I would give him another option.
“He was impressive at Salisbury and it made it even more frustrating that we weren’t in the Hunt Cup.
“It is hard to tell how far he can go. He has got a ton of quality but so far we have been picking off small handicaps and I am going to keep my feet on the ground. We will know by the end of the year how good he is.”
GM Hopkins (John Gosden) and Temptress (Roger Charlton) are next best at 10/1 after fighting out the finish of the Royal Hunt Cup. They could renew rivalries with Chil The Kite (Hughie Morrison, 12/1 with Betfred) and Speculative Bid (David Elsworth, 14/1), who were third and fifth respectively in the mile contest.
Always Smile (Saeed bin Suroor, 14/1) is an intriguing entry for Godolphin. The three-year-old went down by a nose to Osaila in Royal Ascot’s Sandringham Handicap after hanging left with the race at her mercy. She could be joined by stablemate Basem (14/1), who is a full-brother to Farhh and returned with a victory at Sandown Park on June 13.
Last year’s winner Red Avenger (14/1) is one of three entries for Ed Dunlop. The Newmarket handler has also put in recent Newcastle scorer Zarwaan (12/1) and God Willing (25/1).
Irish handler Ger Lyons has three possible runners, notably Listed victor Tennessee Wildcat (20/1) and Sacrificial (14/1), who looked undone by the draw when third in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot. There is a French-trained entry in Redbrook (Alain de Royer Dupre) who finished a close fourth in a Longchamp Listed race last tie out on May 19.
Other notables include impressive Spring Mile winner Ayaar (Luca Cumani, 14/1), the highly-regarded Hathal (William Haggas, 16/1) and Sahaafy (Barry Hills, 16/1). The safety limit is 20 runners, while the weights are unveiled on Wednesday, July 8.
Betfred Mile - sponsors bet: 8/1 Lightning Spear; 10/1 GM Hopkins, Temptress; 12/1 Always Smile, Chil The Kite, Zarwaan; 14/1 Ayaar, Basem, Red Avenger, Sacrificial, Sahaafy, Speculative Bid; 16/1 Abseil, Bronze Angel, Hathal, Magic City, Moheet, Short Squeeze; 20/1 Baltic Knight, Big Baz, Buckstay, Dream Spirit, Emell, Halation, Highland Colori, Horsted Keynes, Jacob Black, Johnny Barnes, Lat Hawill, Loving Spirit, Master The World, Queen Catrine, Redbrook, Russian Realm, So Beloved, Tennessee Wildcat, Two For Two; 25/1 Algaith, Azraff, Belgian Bill, Donncha, Enlace, Extremity, Gabrial, Gabrial’s Kaka, God Willing, Lincoln, Merry Me, Mister Universe, Munaaser, One Word More, Oracolo, Secret Art, What About Carlo, You’re Fired; 33/1 Boomshackerlacker, Charlie Bear, Czech It Out, Dancetrack, Early Morning, Fire Ship, Fort Bastion, Global Force, Ifwecan, Intrude, King To Be, Melvin The Grate, My Dream Boat, Ocean Tempest, Resonant, Santefisio, Tenor, The Rectifier, Tournament, Wilde Inspiration, Yourartisonfire; 40/1 Don’t Call Me, Room Key, Saucy Minx, Sirius Prospect, Starboard; 50/1 George Bowen, Georgian Bay, Mime Dance, Mujazif, Pearl Ice, Surewecan
The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs for five days from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1.
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