Arecibo is at the top of his game at present and looks cracking each-way value at 33/1 with BetVictor in the big betting sprint handicap on the final day of Glorious Goodwood this Saturday, the 6f Stewards’ Cup (15:40).
This four-year-old had some fair form in France and was allotted an opening handicap mark of 100 at the start of this season after joining current handler David O’Meara.
He failed to trouble the judge in his first three starts, but then took advantage of a drop in the weights to score at Ayr over 5f when quickening up nicely and only having to be pushed out to cosily beat Harome by a neck off a mark of 91.
Arecibo then ran well when turned out quickly under a 5lb penalty and stayed on strongly to go down by 1 1/4 lengths to Bossipop over 6f at Ripon.
The son of Invincible Spirit backed that up with a cracking half-a-length second of 14 to the thriving Only Spoofing at Ascot over 5f eight days ago.
Arecibo got hampered at the start, then cruised into contention and looked all over the winner at the furlong marker until being unable to find any extra close home.
He is due to go up 4lb to 97 in the future for that fine effort, but is able to race in this off 96 – so is 1lb well-in at the weights.
Arecibo will also appreciate the step back up to 6f and there is stacks of early pace in this and that could well set it up for a closer.
He fits that bill and should hopefully be able to stalk the pace, before being produced late by red-hot jockey Frankie Dettori who partners him for the first time.
Gunmetal sure to give it his best shot
Gunmetal, who can be backed at 14/1 with Bethard, has shaped well in his last two starts and looks primed to run a big race.
This David Barron trained six-year-old won three of his six starts last season, with the last of those coming in the competitive 22-runner Great St Wilfrid Handicap.
He made all at Ripon and ran on strongly to easily beat Dakota Gold by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 97. Prior to that, Gunmetal had run well in this when a 3 3/4 lengths 11th of 26 to Gifted Master off a rating of 98.
The Clodovil gelding is able to race in this year’s renewal off just 5lb higher, having ran a really solid race off his current rating of 103 when a 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 19 to Duke Of Firenze at York.
Gunmetal backed that up with an excellent three-length sixth of 26 to Cape Byron in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and appears to be building up to a big performance.
He also has ideal underfoot conditions and proven form in big field handicaps. Gunmetal now gets the services of Harry Bentley in the saddle for the first time.
That’s an eye-catching booking as he has only had 19 rides for the yard, winning three times and making the frame on five occasions.
So, taking everything into account, Gunmetal is another with leading each-way claims in a typically fierce renewal of the Stewards’ Cup.
Khaadem a fascinating Stewards’ Cup contender
The Charlie Hills trained Khaadem is a lightly-raced sort with some strong form in the book who now drops into handicap for the first time, so looks a big player.
This three-year-old son of Dark Angel shaped with plenty of promise on debut when an 11 lengths third of nine to the Calyx at Newmarket.
He duly built on that to win minor contests at the same venue and Doncaster in taking fashion, travelling well in both and showing a smart turn of foot to score by 3 1/4 lengths and 1 1/4 lengths respectively.
Khaadem also looked smart when making a winning return to action in Listed company at Newbury in the Carnarvon Stakes when running on strongly to beat Oxted by half-a-length.
Although then never a factor next time up when dwelling at the start and finishing a 10-length seventh of nine to Advertise in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, there was much more to like about his run last time out at Newbury when a 1 3/4 lengths runner-up to Waldpfad in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes.
Khaadem has some useful types in behind, including Group 1 winner The Tin Man, and the form of that race reads well in relation to this Heritage Handicap.
An opening handicap mark of 107 may well underestimate his ability, especially as Khaadem is a young sprinter with plenty of scope for further improvement.
At 10/1 with William Hill, who are paying five places, he looks a solid each-way option and Stewards’ Cup contender.
Stone Of Destiny a lively outsider
Of those at massive odds, Stone Of Destiny looks weighted to go well on the pick of his form.
This four-year-old won twice as a juvenile when trained by David Simock and ran a cracker on his second start last season after joining Andrew Balding when a 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 22 to Eqtidaar in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot off an official rating of 95.
Stone Of Destiny also ran well on his second start this season when a 4 1/4 lengths third of nine to Kachy in a Listed contest at Lingfield off 102.
He is now able to race off a reduced rating of 100 and comes into the race on the back of a decent four-length staying on sixth of 19 to Tis Marvellous in a Heritage Handicap over 5f at Ascot.
That was a step back in the right direction and, if building on it, Stone Of Destiny has a shout from a handicapping perspective.
The step back up to 6f will also suit, so at 25/1 with Unibet – who offer six places – Stone Of Destiny features as another potential punt and thus completes this Stewards’ Cup preview.