Steps to secure the Shergar Cup Dash?

The Shergar Cup. Bit like Glorious (Bad)Goodwood for me I’m afraid in that I’m probably not going to get overly involved in it. To be honest it’s not a race meeting I’ve ever looked into that closely in the past but at the same time there has always been a niggling feeling in the back of my bonce that there are probably ways and means to profit from the Shergar Cup format (if anyone has any suggestions leave a comment below!).

I’m actually beginning to think that the Glorious Goodwood/Shergar Cup period is a time of the year when I should go on holiday! Not meetings that I generally play heavily in and to add to it all there has barely been a sniff of National Hunt action to fall back on!

Anyhoo we have a BDH runner stepping into battle today so let’s deal with him before I tail off onto some needless tangent…

BDH Runner – STEPS (2.05 Ascot)

As things stand he looks to have his conditions.

The bare minimum trip = Check

A track he has run well at in the past = Check

Good or softer ground = Check

He has been running extremely well in recent runs on Good to Firm ground but this Good ground is much more his cup of tea. If it drys out to firmer then his chance becomes less, if it becomes juicier underfoot his chances increase.

In truth I was more expecting to see him in a large field-valuable handicap than this 10 runner affair but I, unfortunately(!!), don’t pick his targets.

His price is also a bit skinny for my liking and the 100/30 is borderline for me. 4/1+ would be fine but 100/30 (and less in plenty of places) just makes me hesitant a bit.

On the plus side, however, we do have the excellent Jimmy Doyler in the saddle and in a race/meeting where plenty of the jockeys won’t have that much experience of the track (or indeed that much experience of British racing) his presence can only but be a positive angle.

He is also a horse in a rich vein of form and has been running extremely well despite being hindered by sub-standard draws on his last 3 starts.

In a day of little action for me I’ll put my money where my mouth is and back our boy STEPS. At the end of the day, however, I’ll be a happier bunny when Glorious Goodwood & the Shergar Cup stop trying to derail my BDH train…

Ben (BDH)

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BDH Stewards Cup Analysis: DD hoping to Hoof It to glory…

Aah Glorious Goodwood, Glorious freakin’ Goodwood! Unless in some dark and distant land Glorious means “the festival of finding trouble in-running” I think they should re-name it! In truth I’m being a bit harsh, I actually enjoy watching the meeting, just not punting on it as much, it’s a bit too in and out for my liking (I’ve learned this through numerous roller-coaster Glorious Goodwood punting experiences!) so I’m actually quite pleased I haven’t gotten too involved in the punting side this week.

The 2 BDH runners I did open up the punting bank for this Friday both got checked at vital stages in their forward runs (as is far too often the case at Goodwood!) and Duke Of Firenze most certainly still had plenty of nitro boost left in his rocket pack, he just had no room to use it!

Anyway here is my take on how our 3 troopers performed and my thoughts on them going forward from here…

TAWHID (2nd in the Thoroughbred Stakes) – I was more than happy with this run and also more than happy to have not punted him. He coped well enough on the Good ground but he still gave me the impression he wants at least Good to Soft and on the day was beaten by the better horse who was also more suited by conditions. Tawhid will get his chance once the rain gets into the ground at the back end of the season, and then we will be on and collecting the profit.

DANCE AND DANCE (10th in the Betfred Mile) – I think this was a case of Moore wanting the horse closer the pace but the horse wanting to do the usual and sit out the back. Moore had him well enough placed but when he made his move around 2f out the path he intended taking started closing rapidly and he had to switch. I don’t think it was the difference between winning & losing but it may have cost him nicking a place. He still remains of utmost interest from his current handicap mark.

DUKE OF FIRENZE (10th in the King George Stakes) – Traveled well enough but the doors just didn’t open at the right times for him. It still doesn’t confirm or deny whether he is a Group animal in the making but there is a large part of me that wants to see him tackle a handicap off this current mark, I really do think he can land a large handicap pot from his rating. Moore was easy enough on him once the lanes up ahead started squeezing shut and he still remains of interest.

We have another of our BDH crew taking to the Sussex Downs on day 5 of the “Glorious” Festival in the cavalry charge that is the Stewards Cup…

Saturday BDH Runner – DINKUM DIAMOND – 3.50 Stewards’ Cup

With 28 runners set to go to post the pace map is, as ever, a fine place to start…

Stewards Cup

From a pace perspective it looks like there is a good chance that it will be split right across the track. There is probable pace coming from Top (WHOZTHECAT), Middle (BLAINE) and Bottom (DR RED EYE). DINKUM DIAMOND is drawn almost slap bang in the middle and that gives him options on the pace side although he could just fire straight down the middle and hook on to the pace of Blaine. Draw/pace wise he looks fine.

Next up I want to look at the ground. My stipulation for him is Good to Firm; all his career wins have come on such a surface. At the moment Goodwood is sitting at Good (Good to Firm in places). For me that would be OK as he has run some sound races on Good ground and the G2F patches suggest it is currently heading for the faster side anyway. There are showers forecast so if there is significant softening of the ground then I would most likely be looking to jump ship, however at the minute I’m good with the likely underfoot conditions.

From a handicapping perspective I would say his mark (103) is well within his grasp and he is only 1lb higher than his 3rd in the Dash at Epsom and 3lbs higher than his excellent 3rd at Ascot last time out.

Cathy Gannon is getting to know him very well (17033) so it’s a positive that she keeps the ride.

I know he is yet to win over 6 furlongs but he has ran some eye-catching races over the trip and the way he was finishing last time out over the distance at Ascot tells me this isn’t too much of a worry, in fact he has actually ran to within 2lbs of his 5f form over the furlong longer trip, 6f does not scare me with this lad.

Ideally we want drying ground for DD but at the moment the conditions are enough to persuade me to punt and at around 18-1 (larger on Betfair) I’m happy to take the plunge. I will naturally be keeping an eye on the weather though…

*Note – Ground now changed to Good all round but no showers are forecast and it is set to be a dry and breezy day. Again it is a case of keeping an eye on proceedings, watching the weather and seeing how the first few races play out…

To be honest this contest looks tricky, fast and furiously tricky! But then it’s Glorious Goodwood and the Stewards Cup, we should expect nothing less.

I generally like to have a cover bet running for me in these sprint minefields so I gave the entire field a quick analysis with my own trends… but that didn’t really clear the waters much, there were a number within close proximity of each other.

Hoof It, Face The Problem & Prodigality are the 3 that I finally settled upon to make up my cover bet shortlist. Of that 3 I’m leaning towards 2011 winner HOOF IT.

He missed most of last year due to a couple of problems but he returned to action at York last month. That was over an inadequate 5f and clearly that was a race to simply blow away the cobwebs and smooth off the rough edges. He ran well without over exerting himself that day and he is sure to strip much fitter here.

He is only 1lb higher than when winning this race 2 years ago and considering he finished 1/4L 3rd behind Dream Ahead & Bated Breath in the 2011 Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup I don’t see this mark being much of a problem.

Kieran Fallon back on top is a massive positive, with the pair having a 7117116 record together when teaming up.

He likes the ground, handles the trip and track, enjoys the thrill of large field sprints (4 wins from 10 runs) and Easterby is sure to have him primed to the minute for this repeat bid.

Like most Goodwood contests I’m fully prepared for hard luck stories in-running, especially with 28 runners belting it down the 6f straight track, but you gotta be in it to win it and I’ll be having a dabble on BDH runner DINKUM DIAMOND (providing the ground looks OK and doesn’t deteriorate) and a covering bet on 2011 winner HOOF IT.

Best of luck if you are getting involved in this fiendishly difficult conundrum.

Ben (BDH)