Some of Britain’s top stayers are being prepared for Tuesday’s Goodwood Cup, one of the most prestigious long-distance flat races on the calendar. It’s the showpiece event of Glorious Goodwood’s opening day, the festival which treats us to five consecutive days of top-class racing.
Having become the first three year old to take this in 27 years when successful in 2017, Stradivarius now bids to become only the second horse ever to win the race three times. We see him doing just that.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Race InfoA previous Goodwood run has been a fairly regular feature among winners (10 of last 17) but it is more important that a horse has a previous Group 1 or 2 win (13 of last 17).
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||2m||Group 1||£500,000||13 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Goodwood Cup Betting Tips
All eyes will of course be on the favourite this year, but he may not have things all his own way. There are a few familiar foes in addition to a handful of up and coming youngsters lining up in an effort to claim his crown.
ANOTHER STAYING SYMPHONY FROM STRADIVARIUS?
There is nowhere else to start with this race really than with the John Gosden-trained staying superstar that is Stradivarius. This son of Sea The Stars is odds-on across the board and it really isn’t difficult to see why. Unbeaten in his past seven starts, this four-time Group 1 winner has landed this pot in each of the past two seasons, and bids for a place in the history books alongside Double Trigger as the only three time winners of the race. 1½l too good for the field in 2017, that margin of victory was down to just ¾l 12 months ago. He very rarely wins by far though – each of his past six wins have been by less than two lengths – but when it comes to a battle inside the final furlong, he is a mightily tough nut to crack.
PRIZE HEADING SOUTH?
If Aidan O’Brien doesn’t land this prize in 2019 it likely won’t be for the lack of trying. Of the 13 remaining in this at the rime of writing, no fewer than six hail from his Ballydoyle operation. Of that sextet, Southern France would boast the strongest form in this type of race. He was however ¾l behind Stradivarius on their only previous meeting, and will be 3lbs worse off at the weights here.
If O’Brien is to upset the favourite, he may be most likely to do so with one of the four improving three year-olds he has entered. All four are beautifully bred Galileo colts, but the one who looks most interesting to our eyes is King George V Stakes winner, South Pacific. Having looked better the further he went in that 1m4f event, eventually swooping right around the outside to win, this step up in trip looks well worth a shot.
DASH TO LAND THE CASH?
Purely on ratings, the one they may all have to beat is the Andrew Balding runner, Dashing Willoughby. Only 7lbs inferior to Stradivarius according to the official handicapper, he receives no less than 15lbs from the favourite here. The big leveller is of course that Stradivarius is proven beyond doubt in this kind of race whereas this will be Dashing Willoughby’s first crack at a two mile trip. That said, he was a good winner of the Group 2 Queens Vase over 1m6f on soft ground and may not be out of this particularly should the rain arrive.
Final Verdict: Stradivarius To Win
The presence of Stradivarius at the head of the market does lend a nice each way shape to the race, and we wouldn’t put anyone off an each way bet on South Pacific or Dashing Willoughby, with preference for the former.
Overall though we fancy this will fall the same way it has in each of the past two seasons. Not only does Stradivarius possess the most ability in the race, he also has that priceless quality that is a will to win, and we will be backing him to come out on top once again.
If it’s upsets you are after then you are best looking elsewhere. The average SP of the last 10 winners is just a shade over 4/1, and only two of those came from outside the top three in the betting.
Stradivarius won while just three-years-old in 2017, but typically winning horses have been a fair bit older. Since 2001 there have only been five champions younger than five, something that now counts favourably for the defending champion.
|2018||Stradivarius||4/5||John Gosden||Andrea Atzeni|
|2017||Stradivarius||6/1||John Gosden||Andrea Atzeni|
|2016||Big Orange||11/4||Michael Ball||Jamie Spencer|
|2015||Big Orange||6/1||Michael Ball||Jamie Spencer|
|2014||Cavalryman||5/1||Saeed bin Suroor||Kieren Fallon|
|2013||Brown Panther||13/2||Tom Dascombe||Richard Kingscote|
There are several big meetings over the summer for both ardent and casual racing fans to enjoy and few are bigger than Glorious Goodwood. Headlining the opening day of the incredibly well-attended festival is the Goodwood Cup. A leading race for stayers, the contest puts horses to the test over a distance of two miles. Plenty of endurance is needed for the trip, even if the contest is far shorter than it used to be.
When originally created in 1812, the Goodwood Cup was a gruelling three-mile test but over the years the distance has gradually decreased, most recently in 1991. Much like its length, the grading of the test has also undergone several changes. It started off with Group 2 status under the present system of race grading but was demoted in 1985. A decade later it reclaimed its former classification before enjoying promotion to Group 1 in 2017 with a £200,000 purse increase to boot.
Three-year-olds are rarely up to the demands of the trip but in order to help them along, they are saddled with 15 pounds less than their older rivals. If they happen to be a filly as well then there’s an additional three pound allowance. Female horses have tended to steer clear of the test but we did see a winning mare, Allegretto, in 2007.
WINNERS COME BACK FOR MORE
Given that the focus is on stamina than speed for this race, growing a bit older isn’t much of a hindrance for most horses. The ability to stay competitive in this race at an older age has seen many Goodwood Cup winners return in an attempt to defend their crown. Some, such as recent champions Big Orange and Stradivarius won the race back to back while the likes of Persian Punch (2001, 2003) and Yeats (2006, 2008) stuck gold with a year in between. Since 1974, we’ve seen eight horses win this race more than once so former victors ought to be taken seriously.
MULTIPLE GOODWOOD CUP WINNERS
|Big Orange||Michael Bell||2015||2016|
|Persian Punch||David Elsworth||2001||2003|
|Double Trigger||Mark Johnston||1995||1997||1998|
|Further Flight||Barry Hills||1991||1992|
|Le Moss||Henry Cecil||1979||1980|
|Count Schomberg||William Leader||1896||1897|
A CULTURED CUP
Back in the day, the Goodwood Cup enjoyed widespread international appeal with trainers worldwide trying their luck in the long distance event. In the 19th century winners included French representatives such as Jouvence, Monarque and Flageolet, the American bred, Starke and the undefeated Hungarian filly Kincsem to name a few. The diversity is not quite what is was with British and Irish horses dominating but still the odd foreigner pops up now and again. In 2009, the German bred Schiaparelli was first past the post while two French horses managed to place during the 2012 edition of the race.
DOUBLE TRIGGER MAKES IT A TRIPLE
Although Mark Johnston declared that Attraction is the horse he is most proud of, it is hard to think that Double Trigger wouldn’t feature very high up the list. Honoured in the form of a bronze statue at Doncaster Racecourse, the specialist stayer won 12 Group races during an immensely successful career. A quarter of these victories came in the Goodwood Cup as he became the first horse ever to win this race on three occasions. He perhaps could have made it four but in 1996 a hoof injury ruled the then five-year-old out of action.
AGE JUST A NUMBER
There’s been a definite shift towards older horses in this race over the past couple of decades. Between 1964 and 1997 not a single winner was aged older than six years old but this is a trend that had not continued. Since then we’ve seen six horses aged seven and above secure Goodwood Cup glory, Persian Punch being the oldest of the lot when winning as a 10-year-old in 2003. While his victory remains as an anomaly, it is an example of how age appears to be of little significance any more in this Group 1 contest. This does apply to the other end of the scale too though as Stradivarius ended a 27 year wait for a three-year-old winner in 2017.