Classy Intrinsic up for the Cup
Many punters joining the wholesale gamble on Muthmir in the 32Red Cup might have failed to recognise the presence of another well-fancied Group horse in the making as Robert Cowell's Intrinsic lifted the prestigious Glorious Goodwood handicap.
The William Haggas-trained Muthmir was sent off the 5-2 favourite in a 24-strong Stewards' Cup field after scooting up at York a week earlier, and he gave his supporters fleeting hope with a furlong remaining before weakening to fifth.
But all Cowell's notable performers to date have been sprinters, such as Group One winners Prohibit and Jwala, and he had considered Intrinsic to be reaching those levels before he had taken his unbeaten record for the stable to three.
Richard Hughes had discarded eventual runner-up Ninjago for boss Richard Hannon and kept steady when Intrinsic (6-1), who missed the cut for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, veered towards the stands' rail in the closing stages.
They still had enough momentum to get home by one length.
"It's come together, but it's always very difficult to win a huge handicap like this," said Cowell.
"He's got all the attributes. He's got an amazing pedigree and that will stand him in good stead. I think he could go all the way.
"It will be stakes races from now on and we'll explore Listed and Group Threes now.
"I did give him an entry later on in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. There are plenty of options and it's a nice problem to have."
Jockey Dane O'Neill said of vanquished favourite Muthmir: "He was drawn on the outside and I would have liked a stronger pace.
"They're deciding whether five or six furlongs is his best trip."