I’ll start with a quick apology with not posting last weekend. That was because I was away and was unable to get any sort of internet, so in the end there was no post.
Having caught up with it all – what a weekend it was! What can you say about Golden Horn and the ride by Frankie Dettori? Super stuff.
We continue with more quality action today. At Newmarket it is Future Champions Day with Group races plus the Cesarewitch. On top of the there is a good card over the obstacles at Chepstow and it is the final flat meeting of the year at York.
14:35 Newmarket – Autumn Stakes
On paper this looks to be a good renewal of this Group 3 and for me there are a few of these that I have followed already so far this season.
Ibn Malik is one that I’ve put forward as a selection on previous runs and for me he should take the beating here. He’ll give an early indication into the strength of the form of Dewhurst runner Emotionless, who beat him by over 3l in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes when last seen. Prior to that Charles Hills two-year-old was second to Galileo Gold in another Group 2 contest suggesting the drop into a Group 3 could see him earn his just rewards. Based on his pedigree he should stay the extra furlong and is related to some juvenile winners over this distance, which adds to the confidence.
The Rowley mile can have a bit of a bias towards front-runners and there is only one obvious one of them in this field. That is Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master, who won the 2-Year-Old Trophy on this course last weekend. He beat Waterloo Bridge, who claimed the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes when he was last seen, so he took a big scalp. Stepping into this grade looks the natural progression but this tracker horse of mine has to prove himself at this sort of level and trip.
Beacon Rock was third in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes when last seen behind Port Douglas and True Solitaire. He didn’t have the best of passages through in that race and can be marked in the unlucky category however he can still run a bit green, which is off putting. Two starts ago he recorded his maiden win and only just got up in the shadow of the post suggesting he’ll be one to mark down for next year when running over further. The other that could steal a place at a double figure price is the improving Dragon Mall. He is US bred and caught my eye on his debut when finishing his race well at Kempton. He improved for that when finishing second to Comicas at Doncaster in July and that form is working out. He got off the mark two weeks ago at Chelmsford where he stayed on well to record the victory. This is much tougher but he is proving to be progressive and if handling this track and possible tacky conditions he may be able to place.
Advice: Ibn Malik (11/4 Win)
15:10 Newmarket – Dewhurst Stakes
For me this is a no bet race with Emotionless and Air Force Blue looking the main two contenders in this Group 1 contest. It’s disappointing there is only seven runners because I’m a fan of Massaat, who will be a more of a long-term project on the softer surfaces.
Air Force Blue has won both of his Group 1 races to date in the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes. Those came after he finished second Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Buratino, but he reversed that in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. For me they have been the stronger races and this son of War Front was well-backed yesterday, which has seen him end up at the head of the market.
Emotionless won on the July course on debut and that maiden is working out nicely. Then he was stepped into the Group 2 Champagne Stakes last time at Doncaster, which he won easily from Ibn Malik. It wasn’t a vintage renewal and despite him being impressive this is the first test he’ll encounter and that’s part of the reason I’d rather take a backseat and watch two promising juveniles.
For what it’s worth Air Force Blue would be the one for me.
15:25 York – Sprint Trophy
The final meeting of the flat season at York and where would we be without a competitive sprint?
George Bowen is likely to be well backed after his successes at Newmarket and the Curragh, which set the standard. At Ayr he was second by ah head in the Silver Cup to his stablemate Tatlisu, who has proved one that I can’t get right. There are plenty of ticks in boxes surrounding his chances; there should be some cut in the ground still, which should suit. Tatlisu is in the field here and he was racing over 7f last time when well-beaten but back down to this trip on this ground could see him hit the frame.
Eccleston won a red-hot handicap at Thirsk and there has been plenty of winners to have come from that race. He’s one that does have his quirks and can be slow away, which put pay to his chances last time out. Should be suited by the juice in the ground and if able to repeat that Thirsk run has solid claims. Bubbly Bellini has been busy in the Irish scene and has had plenty of success in the past with Ian Brennan on board. He ran well at Tipperary on his latest start six days ago and I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see this eight-year-old running into a place.
Aetna has had the levels of success as she did last but conditions are in her favour and looks likely to put the disappointment behind her. She was the winner of the Listed Wentworth Stakes last season on heavy ground, so the softer ground should be in her favour. Michael Easterby has given her a lighter campaign. The slight concern would be the draw because all of the pace is down the middle or stands rail (high draw) but there doesn’t tend to be a draw bias when looking back through the previous results.
The other one to take note of is Nameitwhatyoulike. He is one of the front-runners in this field and has the draw of stall 20 to help him. The stands rail can tend to be a boost in sprint races on the Knavesmire and Bryan Smart’s charge could make all. He’s another that’ll be suited by the ground and nearly made all when last seen at Ripon only to be reeled in by the Paul Midgley trained Another Wise Kid. He hasn’t won since July and is now 10lb higher but with a lack of pace could make it plausible for one of the front-runners make all of the running.
Advice: Aetna (14/1 each-way)
Nameitwhatyoulike (18/1 each-way)
15:50 Newmarket – Cesarewitch
A staying Heritage Handicap over 2m2f and where do you begin?
The Irish seem to have a strong hand in this race. Tony Martin won this race back in 2007 with Leg Spinner and he saddles three runners. Quick Jack was third last year and has proved useful again this season. He placed in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham before finishing second to Trip To Paris in the Chester Cup. At the Galway festival he won the Galway Hurdle with Max Dynamite in second, who bolted up to win the Lonsdale Cup when last seen giving some strength to that form. His run in the Ebor can be forgiven as it was one ran at a frantic gallop and after a bit of a break should be in good form.
The first selection is one of his stable mates. Heartbreak City was quite impressive at York in August and the way he finished that race suggested that the extra two furlongs shouldn’t cause him a problem. In the first time tongue-tie he travelled powerfully and put the race to bed with a minimum of fuss. He’s been set-up and aimed for this race and Tony is bringing Fran Berry across to ride showing he means business. One slight concern would be the track because he didn’t handle Galway two starts ago, which does leave a slight question mark. That said if replicating that York run he should go fairly close.
At a price the one that catches the eye is Roger Varian’s Steve Rogers. This four-year-old has been progressive this season and has performed well over 1m6f. He won over 2m when last seen at Chester running on late to beat Be Perfect suggesting there could be more in the tank at this sort of trip. Despite carrying a 4lb penalty for that success he could be the one at a price. In previous renewals the high draw has proved to be a negative and that could be the case today, especially with him being one that may prefer to sit prominently. Overall he’s shaped nicely this season and is currently 1lb well-in; at the price he is interesting.
Low Key heads the market and won nicely over course and distance three weeks ago. He only has to shoulder a 4lb penalty, which in effect only will be 1lb with Tom Marquand able to claim 3lb and that could prove valuable. This David Pipe runner is ahead of the handicapper and could easily follow up if in the same sort of form. This is more difficult than the trial he won here and all in all that wasn’t the most truly ran race, so this could see him struggle. Another of the Irish visitors is Bayan, who is another dual-purpose type. At the bottom of the ratings but he could prove well handicapped. He’s been useful for Gordon Elliot over 2m4f and 2m5f over obstacles, so the stamina is there for him to use. He won at Leopardstown on the flat three starts ago and is only 4lb higher for that. This trip should be right up his street based on his hurdles form and can’t be discounted.
Sir Mark Prescott has a strong hand in this race with four runners. For me the two that I like are High Secret and Moscato. High Secret was fourth in the Old Borough Cup behind Nakeeta, who has come out and won again since for Iain Jardine. He’s an improving type for the yard and won a weak looking race over at Kilbeggan in August over 2m1f and may have won by further if not drifting onto the rail close home. If Chris Catlin can get him up near the pace and in a nice position early then he’s a player. The ground is drying, which will be music to the ears of Moscato. His best runs have come on this sort of surface and it is interesting that Luke Morris goes for this son of Hernando. The run three weeks ago was disappointing but that was after a break and was likely to be required to have him fully ready for this race so can be forgiven. He does have a quirky side and the removal of the cheekpieces is interesting but it is worth mentioning he has won without them in the past. Those are the two Prescott horses that should go well.
The other to note is top weight Oriental Fox, who won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot over 2m5f therefore no stamina doubts. His last two runs have seen him place in Group races over in France over a trip, which may have been a bit too sharp for him. A low draw here on drying ground could see this Mark Johnston runner go close.
Note: Most bookies are playing five places in this race plus from 08:30 William Hill go 10/1 the field.
Advice: Heartbreak City (9/1 each-way)
Steve Rogers (25/1 each-way)
It’s getting to that time of year folks. The National Hunt season is ramping up and this card looks very good.
Sausalito Sunrise was running in some of the top Novice Chases last year and this looks easier than those races. He is two from two at this track, including a win over course and distance first time up last year, which boosts the confidence about him here and is one of the reasons he is already well supported in the market. This is his handicap debut and he could be well treated. He may be worth following in these staying handicap chase events throughout the season. Philip Hobbs is on the hot trainers list with a strike rate of 26% – five winners from 19.
Charlie Longsdon has the same record as Philip Hobbs in recent times and if Drop Out Joe can replicate the yard form then he has a chance. His best run came after a break and that was when second at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe Chase over 3m2f. He is only 1lb higher than that mark here today and could feature. The Romford Pele has been off the track for nearly a year but was excelling and won the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter in emphatic fashion and if able to reach the same vein of form could be a very useful staying chaser. Rebecca Curtis has had four runners in the last 14 days, two over hurdles and two over fences – the pair that have raced over the larger obstacles have been successful. He’s currently a good each-way price for this sort of contest but for me may require that run.
The other two that are hard to discount are Listed race winner Standing Ovation and Audacious Plan, whose run in May at Punchestown was very good over 3m6f. The former will require a career best off this mark but is managing the step back up in trip could go well, while the latter is another of Rebecca Curtis’ and could find improvement this season at the age of six. He won in April over this sort of trip at Ffos Las, so can’t be easily discounted.
Advice: Sausalito Sunrise (11/4 Win)