Intrinsic justified his trainer’s confidence and strong market support when a decisive winner of the 32Red Cup (Stewards’ Cup) at Goodwood.
The four-year-old had been prominent in the betting for the six-furlong contest since the entries were revealed, following eye-catching victories over the course and distance and at Ascot in May.
The 6/1 chance enjoyed a clear run through the race and, despite jinking markedly left 100 yards from the winning line, came home a length in front under Richard Hughes. The Richard Hannon-trained Ninjago was second, with a neck to Alben Star in third and three quarters of a length to the fourth, Ruwaiyan.
It was a second Glorious Goodwood triumph for Cowell, who said: “We knew that Intrinsic was good. It’s easy to say afterwards that I was confident but I was never confident - I was very hopeful that he would run a huge race. He is very good and we think that he is Stakes class. Hughsie said it in his Racing Post column that he thought he would be Stakes class and we did too.
“It has come together but it is always difficult to win a huge handicap like this. I am absolutely thrilled, especially for his owner Malih Al Basti. He sadly rang me a little earlier saying he couldn’t make it but he will no doubt be tucking into some nice cold beers out in Dubai.
“It probably was a bold call from Richard Hughes to ride this horse but he knows what he is sitting on and he’s in the driving seat. We can only see what we see but he can feel and see, which gives him a big advantage. I think that he was already pretty confident that this was a pretty smart horse after Ascot.
“I think he is pretty good and he showed it today against a competitive field of horses. He has got all of the attributes and an absolutely amazing pedigree, which will really stand him in good stead - that’s the backbone to him. I think that he can go all the way but, at what point in Stakes class, I don’t know.”
Hughes added: “I am riding a Group horse in a handicap. Intrinsic idled in front but he’s a very good horse. I thought that he was a certainty over the past couple of days and somebody said “what about the big field” and I said the bigger the field, the bigger the certainty because he has so much quality.
“He shuffled down the hill a little bit but travelled ever so well. I hope that can be a Group One horse for Malih Al Basti’s sake. He’s a great man for racing and has done a lot of sponsoring - he sponsors me, of course - but it’s nice that he has got a good horse, he deserves one.
“You can’t have everything but I am glad this lad won today and I would have been very disappointed if he hadn’t because I really thought that he was banker for the end of the week, with Ivawood during the week.”
Richard Hannon was fairly philosophical after his charge Ninjago had to settle for second place in the 32Red Cup, with the length winner Intrinsic being ridden by his stable jockey Richard Hughes. The rider ‘jumped ship’ onto the better-fancied horse, who is owned by Malih Al Basti, his sponsor and a prominent owner in the Hannon yard.
“Ours ran a cracker,” said Hannon of Ninjago. “He’s a lovely horse for these big handicaps and I’m sure there’ll be another for him at York.”
Richard Fahey, too, was delighted with Alben Star’s effort in third, a neck behind Ninjago. “He’s such a good, hardy horse,” he said, “a proper tough handicapper. I’ve been wanting to give him a break for a while, he was on the go all through the winter, but he keeps coming out and doing lifetime bests.”
The 5/2 favourite Muthmir, drawn two on the far side of the track, finished fifth.