Qatar Stewards' Cup
Heritage Handicap, Goodwood 15:45
£250,000 added,
3yo plus, 6f, Class 2   
Saturday 1st August 2016

1 Dancing Star 9/2F
2 Orion's Bow 6/1
3 Raucous 16/1
4 Growl 14/1
5 Duke Of Firenze 66/1
6 Rivellino 20/1
NR: Clear Spring (IRE)
27 ran Distances: 1¼l, nse, hd
TIME 1m 9.81s (slow by 0.01s)

Dancing Star lands Stewards' punt

Dancing Star became the first filly since Lochsong to win the Qatar Stewards' Cup after the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old ran out the impressive winner of the £ 250,000 six-furlong dash.

Dancing Star
© Racehorse Photos

Dancing Star

The joint bottom-weight was the last horse to get into the big-race field when the declarations were announced on Thursday.

Like Lochsong, the 9/2 favourite is owned by Jeff Smith and is from the same family, with her grand-dam, Lochangel, being a half-sister to the 1992 winner. She was always travelling kindly for her jockey, David Probert, and accelerated away from the field in the final furlong in the style of a very good horse, recording a one and a quarter length victory from runner-up Orion's Bow.

As owner and breeder Smith explained after the race, Dancing Star's victory was very much a family affair for his Littleton Stud operation.

"This is a grand-daughter of Lochangel, who is a half-sister to Lochsong," said Smith. "Lochsong won this when she was four and I think she was the last filly to win the Stewards' Cup, so we are keeping up a good family tradition.

Trainer Andrew Balding was delighted for Smith and was also very impressed with the winner's performance.

"She has won it so well," said the trainer. "We had a good draw but you have got to be impressed and she is a very special animal. I am feeling very blessed and very lucky not only to have a filly as good as her but also to get into the race. I think it was a little more luck than judgement there - we just crept in - and to get the draw, everything fell into place.

"Dave gave her a lovely ride and I am so thrilled for Jeff. He is such a good supporter and a great man to train for. I am delighted for the whole yard - the whole team deserve it.

"We have had a lot of the family. Her dam was quite good but had an awful habit of hanging and throwing her race away. She is a pretty good broodmare, so we are not disappointed now.

"I think we will probably put her in the big sprint at the end of the year. I don't want to pick up an unnecessary penalty - it would be nice if she stays in training next year and, if she is going to win something, it might as well be something big, so it will probably be the six-furlong race on Champions Day (at Ascot).

"She has improved a huge amount from two to three and has improved all year. The whole family have done it and she is a year ahead of Lochsong already.

"I can't remember how long David has been with us, but he is older than he looks. He is a solid and very good jockey. He might not be the height of fashion but he doesn't let me down very often, so I am delighted for him."

Qatar Stewards' Cup (Heritage Handicap)
£250,000 added, 3yo plus, 6f, Class 2
27 ran
Going: Good to Firm

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (4) Dancing Star (ex6) 9/2f David Probert
A M Balding 3
2nd (12) Orion's Bow (ex6) 6/1 Barry McHugh
D Nicholls 5
3rd (20) nse Raucous 16/1 Jim Crowley
W J Haggas 3
4th (26) hd Growl 14/1 R L Moore
R A Fahey 4
5th (14) ½ Duke Of Firenze 66/1 D Allan
D C Griffiths 7
6th (7) nse Rivellino 20/1 Harry Bentley
K R Burke 6
7th (2) nk Ridge Ranger (IRE) (ex6) 15/2 Jason Hart
E J Alston 5
8th (5) ½ Red Pike (IRE) 20/1 P Mulrennan
B Smart 5
9th (3) Jamesie (IRE) 25/1 P J Dobbs
D Marnane 8
10th (1) hd Alben Star (IRE) 12/1 P Hanagan
R A Fahey 8
11th (11) s.h Suzi's Connoisseur 33/1 Aaron Jones (5)
S C Williams 5
11th (6) d.h Withernsea (IRE) 14/1 J P Spencer
R A Fahey 5
13th (21) hd Kimberella (ex6) 14/1 F Norton
D Nicholls 6
14th (10) ½ Hoofalong 25/1 Nathan Evans (5)
M W Easterby 6
15th (22) nk Baccarat (IRE) 50/1 James Doyle
C Appleby 7
16th (17) ¾ Hold Tight 33/1 James McDonald
S bin Suroor 4
17th (24) ½ Sir Robert Cheval 33/1 Louis Steward (3)
R M H Cowell 5
18th (15) ¾ Go Far 40/1 M Harley
A Bailey 6
19th (27) nk Spring Loaded (IRE) 33/1 L Dettori
P W D'Arcy 4
20th (25) nse Ninjago 40/1 L Morris
P T Midgley 6
21st (18) ½ Moonraker 66/1 Charles Bishop
M R Channon 4
22nd (13) ¾ Dinkum Diamond (IRE) 33/1 Hector Crouch (5)
H Candy 8
23rd (23) nk Toofi (FR) 12/1 A Kirby
R M H Cowell 5
24th (28) ½ Poyle Vinnie 66/1 A Mullen
M Appleby 6
25th (19) Swift Approval (IRE) (ex6) 66/1 T Eaves
K A Ryan 4
26th (16) Blaine 50/1 R Ffrench
D Nicholls 6
27th (9) ¾ G Force (IRE) 20/1 C D Hayes
A Keatley 5
NR (8) Clear Spring (IRE) 33/1 T J Murphy
J L Spearing 8


Dandy Nicholls was pleased with the run of second-placed Orion's Bow who finished a length and a quarter behind the winner Dancing Star.

Orion's Bow travelled well throughout the famous six-furlong handicap but was unable to repel the devastating run of Dancing Star, with Nicholls unable to celebrate his fourth Qatar Stewards' Cup winner.

Nicholls said: "I'm really proud of him. He has done the owners and everybody proud. Barry [McHugh, jockey] has given him a marvellous ride. We have obviously been beaten by a very useful horse so we have no complaints at all.

"I thought we had won and then I see this thing [Dancing Star] appear! You would've liked to have won but that is life."

Asked about the rapid improvement of his horse this year, in which he had won his lprevious five starts, said: "I wish I knew, I honestly don't know. Confidence is a great thing in life and he has gained a lot of confidence throughout the season when he has been winning.

"You can see after that you wouldn't even think he had been in a race and that means a hell of a lot with sprinters because they can get revved up and wound up and lose the race before the start.

"He's got a very good young rider [Barry McHugh] riding him who is riding with a lot of confidence and that means ever so much and they get on really well together. Where we go is always tied into the handicappers' hand and we understand that."

Nicholls also looked inwardly at how he has evolved as a trainer. He commented: "I've learnt more. The calibre of animal is so important. You can't win a Stewards' Cup with a horse that has run in sellers. I've always strived to come down to Goodwood, York and Newmarket with my horses. Our yard is on the upgrade, we have new owners and new investors and everything is good.

"I never disbelieved our stable wasn't a proper force. The owners wouldn't even have thought of bringing Orion's Bow down here unless we felt we had a proper chance. We had a live chance, I'll go and congratulate Andrew Balding, he is a good trainer, he has a good horse but it might not beat us everyday."

Harry Herbert, chairman of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, was delighted with the performance of the William Haggas-trained Raucous who came with a late rattle to finish third, a nose behind Orion's Bow in second. Herbert remarked: "It was a fantastic effort from a three-year-old.

"It's not easy and in many ways he lacks experience that those big powerful sprinters have got but he is improving rapidly this horse. We were delighted with him. We just missed out on second. We'll see what we do now."

The son of Dream Ahead's future lies in Australia where he will continue his racing career for his four-year-old season and beyond. Herbert said: "He might have one more run in this country before he heads to Australia because he is part of something called the Melbourne Syndicate where horses start in Britain and race here and then head down to Australia for their four-year-old campaigns and stay down there permanently.

"He is a grand horse and William has trained him to perfection. He always said he would get better as he gets older and that is what we are seeing. Physically, he is so much stronger now and he will be very interesting down in Australia as he may stay bit further down there, even today, it looked as if he would get further. Jim [Crowley, jockey] was impressed with him and said for an inexperienced horse that he might just have got taken off his feet early on and then he has done all his best work at the end but it was a very good performance."