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Meteorologically Goodwood has been rather inglorious this year. But the quality of the racing has more than passed muster and Saturday’s card is a fitting finalé. The highlight is the Vodafone Stewards Cup a 28-runner six-furlong dash across the Sussex Downs. If ever there was a race where luck is as important as judgment then this is it. Come the finish there will be more hard luck stories than a group therapy session at The Priory.
In big field sprints it often pays to note the draw. But in this race the evidence is inconclusive. In the last ten renewals seven have been drawn high and three low. The best advice is probably to avoid anything drawn in the middle. Any Dandy Nicholls runner is worth noting in a sprint field and today he is five-handed. Favourite Lafi is well in at the weights but the booking of Kieran Fallon for Gift Horse should be noted and he could be the best of the Nicholls quintet.
A horse that looks sure to run well at an each-way price is Mecca’s Mate. This northern raider started the season off a lowly mark of 57 in a Musselburgh handicap. But she has been a revelation and a money-spinner since, winning a listed race at Ayr and finishing fifth in Group company in the Audi Stakes here on Thursday.
The Stewards Cup is an early closing race, which means Mecca’s Mate is running off a mark of 86 despite an official rating of 103. A low stands side draw should be in her favour and she is just as much as handicap blot as Lafi. At more than double his odds Mecca’s Mate is well worth a sporting punt.
Earlier on the card fillies from the very top drawer contest the Vodafone Nassau Stakes. Red Bloom is strongly fancied to add to Sir Michael Stoute’s phenomenal record in the race and make it five winners in the last five runnings. On paper she has a bit to find with Alexander Goldrun based on their respective runs in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. But that was Red Bloom’s seasonal bow and this daughter of Selkirk can improve on that on ground that should suit.
3:10 Goodwood Red Bloom (win)
3:45 Goodwood Mecca’s Mate (each-way)