Cosgrave concerned by Markab draw

JOCKEY Pat Cosgrave is praying the draw does not hamper Markab’s chances in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood today.

The Henry Candy-trained sprinter will break from stall 13, near the middle of the 28-runner field, as he bids to justify being ante-post favourite.

Markab ran a tremendous race from what turned out to be a poor draw (eight) towards the stands side in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, where he was fourth to High Standing on only his second race of the season.

“He’s got a good chance on his run at Ascot. He hasn’t got a very good draw again and the ground might dry out a bit,” said Cosgrave.

“He ran well the other day and has a got a big chance on Saturday. I just hope the draw doesn’t beat us.”

Candy would have preferred Markab to have been allotted a higher draw, towards the far side.

“I’d have liked him to have been drawn higher, but that’s not the end of the world. His draw’s not too bad if he keeps in a reasonably straight line,” said the Wantage trainer.

Following the victory of the Richard Fahey-trained Johannes in Friday’s consolation Stewards’ Stakes, in which high numbers dominated the finish, bookmakers believe it will be a similar case in the big sprint.

Paddy Power go 11-8 the winner will come from the group of stalls numbered 20-28.

Fahey’s grand campaigner Knot In Wood, third in 2007 and sixth last year, attempts to defy the steadier of 9st 11lb, although apprentice Barry McHugh reduces the burden by 5lb.

“He’s running off top weight, but he’s in good order,” said the Malton trainer.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher for him, but we can’t argue after what’s happened this year – he’s done well.

“Taking 5lb off does help – if I could have claimed 7lb I’d have done that.”

Fahey is hoping his other runner, Fishforcompliments, will put his best foot forward.

“He has plenty of ability but we’re trying to get it out of him,” he went on.

“He showed at Hamilton one day what he can do when he trotted up.

“He’s been disappointing since but that’s him, so we’re putting the blinkers on. He’s drawn one and he’s only going one way – straight up.”

Enderby Spirit is one of only two three-year-olds in the line-up, but his trainer Bryan Smart is expecting a good run.

“He’s rated 101 and deserves to be there. His form’s looking good and we’re very happy with him,” said the Thirsk-based handler.

“He’s a three-year-old taking on older horses obviously, so it’s quite a bold shout.

“He’s got to handle the track and if he does he could run very well.

“The draw (three) looks OK – they’ve been winning from that side this week. I didn’t want him to be locked right on rail, so where he is should be all right.

“I’m not worried about the ground – he handles slow and he handles fast.”

Wokingham fifth Prohibit is reported to be in top shape and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, does not expect underfoot conditions to be a hindrance.

“Prohibit has been in good nick and I think he relishes these big fields as he ran really well in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot,” said Grimthorpe.

“I think he is relatively versatile regarding ground, so I wouldn’t be too worried at this stage for him.”

- Stewards Cup: Cashmans bet - 10 Prohibit, Markab, 12 Jimmy Styles, Sonny Red, 14 Genki, Mac Gille Eoin, 16 Knot In Wood, Tamagin, Buachaill Dona, Global City, Biniou, Striking Spirit

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