Race Previews

THE STEWARDS CUP: Winning The Final Feature Race at Goodwood Festival 2020

An Investigation Into The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

It’s been an incredible week with the daily live events we’ve been holding on Facebook and YouTube.

Today I’m going through this twenty eight runner field here, so if you’ve not been able to join the live events during the week, you can take a look into the best of the best for the feature race on the last day of the festival.


Over a number of years in the 1830’s, the senior steward at Goodwood presented an annual cup to the winner of any race he chose. Each year the choice was different, and races up to one and a half miles were included.

In 1839, Lord George Bentinck created the Stewards Cup race over a distance of six furlongs to be a perpetual race.

From 1981 the race was sponsored by the Tote, and then by William Hill from 1982 to 1992.

Up until 1993 the race was held on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood, and in 1993 it was moved to the final day. At the same time Vodafone took over the sponsorship of the race.

In 2014 32Red took over the sponsorship and the race lost its historic name and turned into the 32Red Cup. In 2015 sponsorship was taken over by Qatar and the name was changed back to the Stewards Cup. This year it is Unibet who are sponsoring the race.


At the time of writing there are 28 runners declared for this race. To narrow down the field I am going to remove any horse that has odds of higher than 29/1.

Doing this reduces the field to a far more manageable 13 runners. These runners are:

The Stewards Cup

Next I’m going to run a Monte Carlo simulation to see which horses are the top four based on this simulation.

Nahaarr is the top rated horses and then there’s a slightly noticeable gap to the next runner Gulliver. From then on there’s very little difference between the horses until we get to Stone Of Destiny at the bottom, who has a slightly larger drop in score. You can see this by the red lines I’ve put in the image and positioning of the jockey silks (the better the score the further to the right they are)

Looking at raw probabilities of each horses chance of winning…

We can see that Lexington Dash is the best with a probailitty of 24.87%, followed by Nahaarr with a probability of 13.79%. Both of these horses are also marked as Contenders.

Next I’m going to use a technique that takes advantage of confidence levels. Every rating is an estimate of a horses performance from some angle. The true (100% accurate) figure is impossible to find, so we use something known as confidence levels to help us.

We get an upper and a lower confidence level for the horses rating, and this tells us, with 95% accuracy, the range that the horses rating would be in.

Of course, are rating is considered the most likely, but the range tells us where it could sit if the horse performed to its best or its worst.

The more information we have on a horse, and the more consistent that horses past performances have been, then the more accurate our ratings are and the smaller this range.

Here’s the range for PFP ratings for runners in the Stewards Cup.

What’s so incredibly about this, is it allows us to very quickly remove runners from being possible contenders. This how…

The best horse in the race is going to have an upper confidence level, the rating it would get if it performed at its best, and a lower confidence level, the rating it would get if it performed at its worst.

Assuming the best horse in the race, performs at its worst, then any runner who’s best rating (upper confidence level) isn’t at least as good the bet horses worst rating is unlikely to be able to contend in the race.

That’s a lot of best’s and worst’s! Here’s how it works in practice.

Summerghand has the best PFP rating in this race with 1552. If it performed at its best then we’d expect it to have a rating of 1585, if it performed at it’s worst we’d expect it to have a rating of 1520.

Any horse who, when performing at their best, doesn’t have a rating of at least 1520 is going to be eliminated from our field.

Doing this reduces the field down to just seven runners.

You’ll notice that Nahaar and Lexington Dash are both still in there.

The speed graphs, filtered to only look at similar races and having removed all runners we’re not interested in, show us this is going to be competitive.

However, we can still remove a few horses from this.

Lexington Dash doesn’t look particularly strong, and Tinto has been slowly declining in performance.

Terentum Star, the dark red at the bottom, is going to have to pull out all the stops to compete, as is Angel Alexander.

There’s also some concern over Summerghand who’s last performance was a significant drop.

This leaves Gulliver, Kimifive, Hey Jonesy and Nahaarr as the four major threats in this race.

Gulliver’s similar races (boxed in red) the horse has performed well at, but only won one of them and placed in the rest.

This tells us the horse can compete, but there’s concerns of him winning.

The races where Kimifive has competed sees a much worse performance than Gulliver, most of his races are over 7 furlongs instead of six, and there’s not a single win.

Hey Jonesy has done nothing much to speak of, at a similar level, until the last race where he just managed to take the win.

Nahaar looks to be the strongest over similar conditions, based on previous runs, but has a big jump in class to contend with.

For me, this reduces the field to Gulliver and Nahaar. Neither are ideal, but both could take the race. Gulliver seems to prefer placing rather than winning, and Nahaar has a big class jump to get over.


At the time of writing the odds are looking like this:

Nahaar is currently the market favourite at 5.30, and Gulliver is third favourite at 23.00.

This is a huge odds range between the first and third horses in the field. Nahaarr’s odds are far too low in this large field, even though it has a strong chance of winning.

But this is just for fun. Normally we wouldn’t ever consider betting in a race this competitive as part of our day-to-day strategy.

So I will be betting on both Nahaarr and Gulliver with each-way bets.

Who are you going to be betting on? Let me know in the comments.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Enjoyed reading this I’ve won a substantial amount of money backing Gulliver in the past think it’s the dartboard silks that the jockey wears lol also backed Escobar early in the week by the same owners 40/1 3rd

    Your analysis of this race was easy to understand I don’t normally back fav,s in a race like this but Tom Marquand has been riding well this weeks so I’ll agree with this assumption and back Nahaarr and Gulliver GOOD LUCK

    1. Meeras is looking popular amongst RA readers, which means it’s a good horse ? I was very tempted with Lexicon Dash as well, good luck on both runners, will you be watching live?

  2. In a race where almost every horse qualifies to win, I’ve narrowed it down to

    (1) Swindler
    (2) Meraas
    (3) Naharr

    Good luck everyone.

    1. Thank you for your selections Wendy. It’s a tough race to analyse, but it’s going to be a great race to watch. Are you dutching those three horses?

      1. No I will put money on Swindler to win, and lay it off at a lower price, so that if it runs good race but doesn’t win, I get my stake back. Ever cautious. LOL but it works a lot of the time.

  3. far to competitive for me to bet on but if i had to bet one it would be Swindler (EW) ; it’s obviously difficult to assess horses who come back from long lay offs but apparently he ran well last time out after 9 month lay off and wasn’t beaten up , should be fitter and better race ready today ; he’s previously won a class 2 with this jockey on board on good to firm ground .

    1. It’s definitely hard assessing a horse after a long layoff. Maybe one day we will be able to persuade our horse racing industry to supply information on training runs! In the meantime, there’s definitely an approach to finding patterns in horses and trainers that come back from long layoffs well. Thank you for your analysis Crispian.

  4. Class has been a dominant factor in recent runnings. Summerghand with the pieces on first time may help him find the extra he needs to finally win a big one

  5. far to competitive for me to bet on but if i had to bet one it would be Swindler (EW) ; it’s obviously difficult to assess horses who come back from long lay offs but apparently he ran well last time out after 9 month lay off and wasn’t beaten up , should be fitter and better race ready today ; he’s previously won a class 2 with this jockey on board on good to firm ground

  6. Only do Handicaps. Nice process though. It’s go to see someone using a method.

  7. I’ve followed Gulliver for a long time as my mate is Bernie Gulliver so have had some luck and some losses over the last couple of years or so , same with Summerghand .
    I’ve done them both today in separate lucky 15 @s .

  8. Would not think of having a confident punt in a race such as this as you can spend half a day looking through statistics and it can be won with a horse you have given no chance of winning.

  9. Hi Michael, thanks for the live videos this week its been really interesting. The 15:35 is a tough race to predict indeed, but I think I’m heading towards Nahaar.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  10. NAHAARR is the 10/3 fav right now, so I’m thinking that SILENT ECHO @ 28/1 is well priced for an EW dabble. Silent Echo was 2 and a quarter lengths behind Nahaarr lto without a clear run and has 8lb less to carry this time. Also fancy Louie De Palma ew.

  11. fairly impossible to pin your colours to one horse in a field as large as this, need some cover bets,so going for atalantas boy, aljady and chairmanoftheboard, come back to me later when one of these wins and i’ll tell you my reasoning

  12. Thanks, Michael for today’s email which I found very informative of how to use the ratings ( via youtube it all happens too quickly). This way you can check and recheck and try and observe where you are coming from? My own figures are pointing me in the direction of Nahaarr.
    I have a “horror” of backing favorites in 6f Handicaps. So I will do an ew double Nahaarr (6 places) with Golden Flame. Here’s hoping you will do a few more examples similar to today. Regards, mm

  13. hello Michael i thrive on races like these i spend many hours studying them i tend to bet win on a number of selections in the race my situation today was a little strange i was playing my choices & i had eliminated summerghand as i backed him in the hackwood & i thought he ran deplorable but as i clicked my mouse over my selections to bet on barbil who was one of my choices
    but when i checked the small window what name was staring back at me u guessed summerghand i was more than thrilled i can tell you not sure how it happened as it turned out i also eliminated kimifive as u pointed out in your analysis he is mainly a 7 furlong horse i also had him as one of my choices so i was on the edge not knowing if summerghand was going to get up have to say tudhope rode a peach talk soon Michael

    1. They certainly require many hours of study, I think you could almost study them endlessly to find the small advantages each runner may have. That’s a very happy accident to have made today 😀

    1. Hi Patrick, thank you for your first comment. It’s now showing, the first ever comment you make on the blog has to be manually approved to help prevent spam. From now on your comments should appear immediately 🙂

  14. hello Michael thank you for your reply back yes it was a happy accident good luck with your selections today & all your followers to / i will post my selections each week time pending / i only play on flat racing mostly the uk it’s usually the heritage handicap & the other big handicaps & the good value stakes races at the minute i am ahead from the 1st of june as from this year i am logging all my stakes i guess i need to be braver with my stake to make it count my biggest bet this year was on mothaaer in the Sussex the race that it was i felt i had to go outside the box with my study which i did how did you do in it

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