Dancing Star could evoke memories of the great Lochsong if she can land Saturday’s Qatar Stewards’ Cup on the final day of Glorious Goodwood.
Lochsong carried the purple and blue silks of owner Jeff Smith to victory in the 1992 renewal of the six-furlong heat, with that victory really setting in motion a career that saw the flying mare notch up three Group One wins as well as a handful of other verdicts at Group Two and Three level.
Lochsong scraped in towards the bottom of the race that day and Dancing Star has performed a similar feat in being the last of 28 runners to make the cut for trainer Andrew Balding.
The daughter of Aqlaam, who is a relation of Lochsong, arrives with four wins in seven starts, with her most recent success coming in a competitive handicap heat at Newmarket – a race that was won by subsequent Stewards’ Cup hero Magical Memory last year.
While Dancing Star is certainly on an upward trajectory, Smith is not keen to compare his current star sprinter with his old speed queen.
He said: “It’s far too early to be comparing the two at this stage, but their profiles are certainly similar, I will give you that.
“We’re hopeful of a good run. She has been improving all the time, which is typical of the family.
“It’s a good sprinting family. Her grand-dam was a half-sister to Lochsong and it is nice to have that family connection there.
“We wanted to be on the far side as she has a little bit of a tendency, although not too marked, to edge right and she does like to race up with the pace. There doesn’t seem to have been too much of a bias either way with the draw so far this week.
“The ground should be fine for her, she wouldn’t want it lightning fast but it seems to have been largely good ground this week.
“It was certainly quite a performance by Lochsong. She was a four-year-old though, and Dancing Star is only three which does make quite a difference.
“At the rate she is progressing, who knows where she could end up.”
Dancing Star has improved 28lb on the official ratings this year, but Orion’s Bow easily betters that jump in the ratings as he has gone up 37lb, from 69 to 106, after notching five successive victories since May.
He is able to race off a mark of 103 in this event and Alex Greaves, wife of trainer David Nicholls, has high hopes of a fourth victory in the historic race for the yard.
She said: “I’m not sure where his improvement has come from, we didn’t geld him until late on last season and maybe it took him a while to get over that.
“Of course, the other side of the argument is what were we doing wrong last year!
” Barry McHugh, who’s been riding him, thinks he’s a Group horse.”
Orion’s Bow will start from stall 12 with Kimberella (21) and Blaine (16) also representing Nicholls, who was keen to have middle draws for his contenders.
His father-in-law Ernie Greaves picked out the stalls at the draw and said : “The trainer wanted between 10 and 19 if possible – those were my instructions.
“Nobody knows the best draw and a lot of people have been coming towards the stands’ rail even though they have been told it is not the best place to be. Who is to know?
“I tried to keep our three apart, rather than them all being next to each other. The horses from the yard are in brilliant form and all three of our Stewards’ Cup horses are fancied.
” Orion’s Bow and Kimberella both have 6lb penalties for winning, while Blaine, though out of sorts recently, won a six-furlong handicap at Epsom in early June and this is a similar course. Saturday will tell.”
Baccarat is joint top-weight along with Ridge Ranger and will be seeking a return to the sort of form that saw him win the Wokingham for Richard Fahey two years ago.
Now owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby, Baccarat will be having his fourth British outing since winning in Dubai over the winter.
Appleby said: “He is now a seven-year-old and he has put up some good performances and is a past winner of the Wokingham.
“We were happy enough with his first start in the UK and he goes there in very good order. He is a big-field horse, as he wants plenty of cover.
“We feel that the conditions and style of the race should suit him.”
Dinkum Diamond will be having his third Stewards’ Cup outing having finished 10th in 2013 and fourth behind Magical Memory last year.
He starts from stall 13 this time around and will be partnered by 5lb claimer Hector Crouch.
Trainer Henry Candy, who has won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup this season with stable stars Twilight Son and Limato, said: “He is in great form and he will love the ground as he likes top of the ground. We got the draw in the middle we wanted.
“He is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but he won’t be far away. I think there is one more big one in him as he is still full of enthusiasm.
“It looks as if some of the classier horses are on the far side. It’s an impossible thing to make up your mind.
“It was a brilliant performance from Magical Memory in stall one (last year), but if you look down the list so many other good horses won from high 20s.
“I just like to give our jockey the option of going wherever he thinks the pace will be.”
Alben Star won the sprint division on All Weather Finals Day at Lingfield back in March but has been limited to just two turf outings since.
He finished down the field in a Doncaster Listed event and a Ripon handicap in April and despite his lack of a recent outing, part-owner Mick Scaife is sure Alben Star will be in the mix, particularly as he has secured a desired low draw.
He said: “I think we wanted seven. As they come out the faster pace in the race seems to be low. It was the last one on the low side so we took it (stall one).
“He hasn’t run for a while. He had two runs on the grass after his big win on the all weather and he is fit. I’m sure he will be thereabouts.”