Kevin Ryan’s evergreen sprinter has finished second in the race three times, to Harmonic Way in 1999, to Guinea Hunter in 2001 and to Bond Boy last year.
On his other start in the six-furlong dash he finished ninth to Tayseer three years ago.
“He just seems to love Goodwood,” said Ryan. “I don’t think anyone would begrudge him winning the race. He’s been runner-up three times. He couldn’t be any better going into the race. He’s in great order.”
Halmahera (pictured above, right) who is drawn 11 in the 30-runner field, will race off a 4lb higher mark than 12 months ago. But Ryan said: “His form is a lot better going into the race than last year, so I couldn’t be happier with the horse.
“He could probably do with a better draw but he wasn’t well drawn last year.”
Darryll Holland, who won last season’s Portland Handicap on Halmahera, takes the ride again today.
Ryan will also be represented by Kieren Fallon’s mount Endless Summer.
The five-year-old was a top-class juvenile when trained by John Gosden. He won the Richmond Stakes and finished second in the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes.
Endless Summer was then sent to race in the United States before joining Ryan earlier this year.
“He seems to be drawn well in 19,” said the Hambleton trainer.
“I’ve had him about four months. He’s a lovely horse and he’s very well. I know it was a long time ago but he’s been placed in two Group Ones and he still seems to retain a lot of his ability.
“He ran very well at Haydock after a long lay-off when the ground was just a little bit on the soft side.
“As far as he’s concerned everything has worked out right for him.”
Steve Drowne is looking forward to renewing his partnership with Patavellian in the Stewards’ Cup.
Drowne was on the Roger Charlton-trained gelding when he landed the Ladbrokes Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last month, the combination holding on by a short head after being clear at halfway in the seven-furlong contest.
Patavellian, who has headed the Stewards’ Cup betting since his win on the July Course, has landed a plum far-side draw in stall 27.
“I’m very much looking forward to riding him,” Drowne told attheraces.
“He seems to have a nice draw and that looks the case historically. And from watching the sprint the other day the first five home were drawn middle to high, so I’m quite hopeful.
“I think a lot of the better horses are drawn high.”
Patavellian made all at Newmarket but Drowne has no particular tactics planned for today’s cavalry charge.
He said: “It depends how quick they go but he’s not a horse who has to make the running. It was just the way it worked out in the Bunbury Cup.
“I certainly won’t be trying to burn them off again. It wasn’t really the plan that day.
“He can do it from the front or behind, that’s what makes him such a nice horse to ride.
“In a race like this you’ve just got to see what happens and how the race pans out.”
Drowne believes that the distance last time was stretching Patavellian’s stamina.
“I think six is going to be the trip,” he said. “He didn’t feel like he got seven for me in the Bunbury Cup and he just lasted home.”
Richard Hughes has won the Stewards’ Cup three times in the last eight years on Shikari’s Son (1995), Harmonic Way (1999) and Tayseer (2000).
He rides Plateau, drawn five, for Tayseer’s trainer David Nicholls.
“I’m happy enough with the draw,” Hughes said. “I think the ground might come up a bit slow.
“Plateau is an ex-Khalid Abdullah horse. He won a nice race at Yarmouth last year. Dandy has got him now and he’s dropped a few pounds.”