Glorious Goodwood (14.00): Rex Imperator weighted to reign supreme
Rex Imperator bounced back to form when scoring last time out, and looks weighted to take all the beating the in Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Glorious Goodwood (14.00).
The gelding had some very smart form to his name in 2013/14 when trained by William Haggas, winning the actual Stewards’ Cup over course and distance off a mark of 104, as well as finishing an excellent second in a Listed contest at Windsor off an official rating of 110.
Now in the care of David O’Meara, Rex Imperator took advantage of a huge drop in the weights to register his first victory in two years when comfortable landing a 6f handicap at Thirsk last month off a mark of 83.
After racing close-up on the heels of the leaders travelling strongly, the six-year-old was denied a clear run when trying to make a move a furlong from home before quickening up smartly when a gap finally did appear to score by a neck.
The six-year-old was value for much more than the winning margin, and a subsequent 2lb rise looks very lenient.
Rex Imperator’s revised mark of 85 is still 19lb lower than when he won the Stewards’ Cup here two years ago, and he remains dangerously well-treated on the pick of his form.
The son of Royal Applause will also have gained plenty of confidence from his latest success, and O’Meara looks to have laid Rex Imperator out for this race.
There are dangers aplenty in a wide-open contest, but the biggest could well prove to be lightly-raced and highly progressive Direct Times.
The Peter Chapple-Hyam trained gelding has won three of his five starts and toyed with the opposition last time out when scoring by 1 1/4 lengths at Newmarket.
After being produced to lead at the two furlong marker, Direct Times showed a smart turn of foot to shoot clear and put the race to bed.
The four-year-old only had to be kept up to his work to score with stacks in hand, and it was an effort which suggested Direct Times needing keeping firmly onside.
A further 8lb rise in the weights makes life harder, but that is partly offset by the 5lb claim of crack apprentice Tom Marquand and Direct Times is on a serious upward curve and looks a potential patterm performer in the making.
Coral’s best bet: Expect a regal run from Rex Imperator here.