Racing: Double Oscar to take stage in final scene

Glorious Goodwood: Nicholls' sprinter could have the last laugh in the Stewards' Cup on the meeting's closing day

THE FIRST winner of the Stewards' Cup, in 1840, was a horse called Epirus, trained at Malton by John Scott and partnered by his brother William, a man deeply fond of the bottle and often so inebriated that he was unable to ride. But then you do have to take a drink to get involved in this race.

Thirty runners, most of them meshed in intricate form, tearing downhill across the six furlongs of burned Sussex earth, do not provide the most certain of betting mediums. Well, not usually anyway.

In 1997 there was a huge punt on Michael Tabor's Danetime, who was forced down to 5-1 favourite before going in. The winner's owner admitted that pounds 200,000 of the money relieved from the satchels that day went to him. And there are signs that we may get an even shorter price today. David Nicholls's Pepperdine, who won the William Hill Trophy at York last month despite a slipped saddle, might even go off as short as 3-1. That is the measure of not only his form but that of his yard.

In a previous incarnation "Dandy" Nicholls was a middle-of-the-road jockey made out of bits of middle of the road. Of his 421 wins in the saddle the most memorable was right here in this race when Soba made all the running, one of her 11 victories in the 1982 season.

As a trainer, Nicholls is a redoubtable physical presence and is much more professionally formidable. He has developed the skill to turn equine swine into pearls and it is a gift not unrecognised in the betting offices.

In the draw for the sprint, Pepperdine took the No 25 stall, which is high and, by popular consent, handsome. You cannot have a certainty in the Stewards' Cup but Pepperdine might be close if it were not for a horse who will be berthed near him today, as he is all week. For Double Oscar too is a resident in Nicholls's yard.

The six-year-old will be ridden by Nicholls's son Adrian, who already looks a more polished practitioner than his father ever was. Nicholls jnr can still claim 5lb, though it would have been hard to detect anything callow about his three winning rides at Goodwood yesterday. Adrian can now get the thrill of his young life as DOUBLE OSCAR (nap 3.50) needs to come from behind and will be weaving through lots of horseflesh late in the day.

Pat Eddery's presence here on Twice As Sharp is the highlight of the Irishman's return to the saddle after a bone-breaking fall in Austria six weeks ago.

Eddery does not, though, have a ride in the Nassau Stakes in which Godolphin's Cape Verdi and Zahrat Dubai may be chasing the grey shadow of Alborada (3.20). Sir Mark Prescott's filly won this last year, as did her relative Last Second for Prescott in 1986.

Luminant (next best 2.15) can also strike for Prescott, who may be exceedingly greedy and take the valuable nursery at Newmarket with Littlefeather (4.15). Three races from Headquarters and three from Goodwood comprise today's scoop6 Tote bet which carries over pounds 68,000 from last weekend. With Thirsk's two races thrown in on Channel 4, and five evening contests on Sky, it is a day on which a racing fan can gorge.

Above all, this is a weekend of sadness. When Endorsement runs in the Prix de Pomone at Deauville tomorrow it will mark the end of the brief, but spectacular, liaison between Henry Cecil and Kieren Fallon. It will be the end of an era, the end of an error.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'