Friday, 3 August 2012
: At today's draw for Saturday's featured sprint handicap on the final day Glorious Goodwood - the £100,000 Blue Square Bet Stewards' Cup - the 10/1 co favourite with Blue Square Bet, Jamesie was given stall nine.
The Irish raider's trainer, David Marnane, was absent, but his representative, Robert Giles was happy to take a stall that will see the four-year-old line up towards the far side rail under jockey Neil Callan. Since 2011 low numbered stalls are based on the far side, high numbers stands' side.
Mick Easterby won the race last year with Hoof It and he will saddle Ancient Cross (20/1)in a bid to follow up on Saturday. Richard Fiddes drew 13 for Ancient Cross, and said: "Our ideal stall would have been 11 - we don't think there are a lot of pace horses in the race and our horse likes to be covered up for a late burst. We were really looking for the far side [a low draw], but at least in 13 we should have the choice of racing on either side. That flexibility could be crucial if the ground changes over the next few days."
Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey was present to pick a stall for his own horse, Alben Star (12/1), but also for a quartet of horses trained by his colleague, Kevin Ryan. The first of Ryan's horses to emerge was Bajan Tryst (33/1) and Fahey wasted no time in picking stall one.
Fahey said: "I had little choice by the time Kevin's horses came out of the draw. Kevin and I were both keen to go low so I took one for Bajan Tryst, but by the time Alben Star came out there was a bit of pace high and some fancied runners too, so I opted for 22."
Sussex trainer William Knight will saddle top-weight Palace Moon (20/1), whose name was drawn early. With plenty of choice, Knight went for stall 20 then said: "It's a bit of a lottery, but Andrew Balding's Dungannon, who has a good chance, came out just before me and is nearby in 24. I don't know how much bias there will be in the ground so being near horses with chances, who will take him into the race, is possibly more important. Looking at it now there's enough decent horses around us.
"In previous Stewards' Cups, there have been plenty of winners in the middle to far side, but I always feel closer to the stands is an advantage in sprint races. I didn't want to be stuck in the middle so I'm pretty happy. I just hope the rain stays away because he's in the form of his life."
The perennially popular Hawkeyethenoo (10/1) will race from stall four after bloodstock agent Jeremy Brummitt picked that draw for Jim Goldie's horse. Brummitt, a close friend of the trainer, said: "We walked the course beforehand and there is fresh ground for three or four lanes on the far side - that will change with racing on it, but we felt the ground would dry quicker over there. We took an even number so the horse wouldn't be standing in the stalls too long [horses in odd-numbered stalls are loaded first]."
Nicola Topper, travelling groom to Mick Channon, chose stall seven for Atlantic Sport (25/1), then said: "Mick wanted a low number between three and nine, and preferably to go where the pace is, but his name came out of the draw early before many of the fancied horses had been picked."
A low draw was preferred by Ralph Beckett for Oasis Dancer (33/1), and his representative, Gary Plasted, was reasonably happy with stall 12 - "That was the lowest that was left by the time his name came out," said Plasted - while Roy Thorpe was asked to pick a number by Marco Botti for Whaileyy (20/1) and he nominated 27. "He just wanted a high draw and having got it, that's the winner!" said Thorpe.
Also hoping his horse, Dungannon (14/1), could trap from a high position was Andrew Balding, who was represented by Richards Phillips (not the racehorse trainer). Phillips picked stall 24 then said: "Andrew wanted a high, even draw to prevent the horse standing in the stalls too long. He's a horse that likes plenty of pace because he is held up and comes from behind."
Geoff Snook, who drew stall 21 for the Charlie Hills-trained Shropshire(16/1), said: "I spoke to Charlie earlier and he said he would rather have a high draw than a low one."
The far side of the track was David Barron's choice as he had two of the first nine picks in today's draw for starting positions in Saturday's Blue Square Bet Stewards' Cup. He chose stall number two for Elusive Prince (20/1), who was first out of the hat, and went for number six for stablemate Waffle (12/1).
Barron has won the £100,000 six-furlong handicap twice, with For The Present in 1994 and Coastal Bluff two years later. The former was drawn 19 and the latter 29, both on the far side. Until last year, the stalls at Goodwood were numbered from left to right as the horses face. But since changes made by the British Horseracing Authority to come in line with other racing jurisdictions they are now right to left, with number one on the designated inside rail of the course.
"Traditionally the far side is best, and that's where we've won from, so no point in changing," said Barron, based at Maunby, North Yorkshire. "Elusive Prince is a naturally forward-going horse and the gallop he can set up will give Waffle something to run at.
"They're both well, and should run well. That's all you can ask for and anything else will be a bonus. I think what you can say is that if it is won by a northern-trained horse, it will be on the far side. I think we've all stuck together."
Stall number nine was the one wanted by the Bastiman family, who will send Borderlescott (16/1) to the Goodwood sprint for the fifth time. The 10-year-old, the oldest horse in the field, won from stall 19 in 2006 and finished second, beaten a short-head, and third the next two runnings. The gelding's record at Goodwood is remarkable; in six runs he has never been out of the first four and in 2010 won the Group 2 Gordon's King George Stakes.
"We worked out that stall nine was the same one as he won from before they changed the numbers," said trainer Robin Bastiman's wife Pauline. "But the time we got to pick, it had gone and the nearest we could have was 11. But we're happy with that, it's near enough where we wanted to be."
Daughter Rebecca, who looks after Borderlescott and rides him daily, reports the old warrior in top form. "He did a fantastic piece of work yesterday and felt like he'd still got it," she said. "And he seems to like Goodwood, so we're sure he'll run well. But the most important thing is that he comes home safe."
Borderlescott will arrive at the track from his stable near Wetherby tomorrow, with his travelling companion Fantastic Storm. "He's a three-mile hurdler, so we've got the fastest horse in the yard and the slowest horse together. But they get on well and Storm's presence keeps Borderlescott calm."
As a Scot, Mark Johnston will be familiar with Rabbie Burns' concept of the best-laid plans going a'gley. As they did for the Middleham trainer at today's draw for starting position for Saturday's Blue Square Bet Stewards' Cup. Johnston, one of the few trainers to make a point of attending the ceremony in person, had done his homework and was poised to opt for a middle to far side position for his runner Es Que Love (16/1).
But in the event, the three-year-old's name was last of the 28 out of the hat and was allotted the last remaining empty stall, number 17. Johnston can, though, take heart from another who had Hobson's choice over starting position, the 2007 winner Zidane.
"I'd done a bit of research," he said, "and the middle seems best for a win and the far side for places. But what seemed absolutely clear was that you don't win on the stands' side. I could have saved myself a bit of a rush to get here."
Johnston is bemused over the British Horseracing Authority's decision last year to alter the direction of starting stalls numbers to come in line with other racing jurisdictions, formerly from low to high from left to right as the horses face but now from whatever is the designated inside running rail of a course.
"The old system used to be perfectly logical," he said. "But now, it sometimes doesn't make sense. Here at Goodwood, for instance, where there are loops and changes of direction, it seems one way for the two-mile five-furlong stayers' race, where they start facing down the course, and the other for the sprints.
"It doesn't make sense to try to come into line with other authorities when the tracks in Britain are so different, not just uniform ovals. Like Windsor, a figure of eight. I can't get my head round it."
There are eight runners for the other feature race on Saturday, August 4, on the final day of Glorious Goodwood, the Group One Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes headed by the John Gosden-trained stable companions Izzi Top (William Buick) and The Fugue (Richard Hughes) plus Investec Oaks winner Was.