The ITV racing team is bringing viewers action from Newmarket and Haydock on Saturday. There’s a Group Two, a brace of Group Ones and the ultra-competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap to look forward to at flat racings headquarters. Haydock also plays host to some quality handicaps on a bumper day of flat action.
The Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes is the curtain raiser to what promises to be a stellar display for equine brilliance at Newmarket. It’s run over the Rowley Mile and is for the two-year-olds. Roaring Lion lifted the prize twelve months ago and look what he has gone on to win this season. Beatboxer tops the market having easily won his maiden and the shouldering a six-pound penalty with consummate ease, to double his tally in a novice event at Haydock.
John Gosden’s inmate has the assistance of Frankie Dettori for this big step up in class but will need to improve on what he has shown on the track thus far to justify the skimpy odds against some other horses proven in group company.
Cape Of Good Hope is the main Aidan O’Brien representative and this full brother to Highland Reel and Idaho has some very smart form. On his most recent start, Cape Of Good Hope finished a credible second to Quorto in the Superlative Stakes. This form got a timely boost with the winner landing a Group 1 contest on Irish Champions weekend. This is the best piece of form on offer which must give him leading claims.
The once-raced Kadar looked like a horse to follow when stylishly scoring over a mile on debut at Haydock three weeks ago. Karl Burke’s son of Scat Daddy could be anything and may just be an exciting outsider.
Selection: Cape Of Good Hope
The Cheveley Park Stakes is the first Group 1 race of the day and it’s once again for the two-year-olds, this time over the six-furlong trip and exclusively for fillies. This race has been won by some exciting prospects down through the years but in truth, none of the winners in recent times have progressed into their three-year-old campaigns.
The leading pretenders for this year’s race are headed by Pretty Pollyanna who is one of this seasons leading two-year-old fillies. Michael Bell’s stable star opened her account on debut in a Yarmouth maiden and just eight days later finished a very respectable fifth behind Main Edition in the Albany Stakes. Three weeks later saw her head to Newmarket for the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, where she proved seven lengths too good for Angels Hideaway.
She rallied well to score at Group 1 level in the Prix Morny at Deauville in August where another of tis season’s leading two-year-olds Signora Cabello was just denied. John Quinn’s inmate is all speed and has really progressed through the grades in her juvenile season, taking in wins at Group 2 level at Royal Ascot and Maisons-Laffitte. Her second behind Pretty Pollyanna may have just found out her stamina and a similar fate may lie ahead.
Aidan O’Brien runs three in this in the shape of Fairyland, So Perfect and Gossamer Wings, all of which will be bidding to give Aidan back to back victories following Clemmie’s win twelve months ago. The main Ballydoyle hope seems to be Fairyland who has only tasted defeat once in four career starts to date and that was behind Main Edition in the Albany. Most recently she found plenty for pressure in a Group 2 at York ahead of the re-opposing The Mackem Bullett. That was a below-par Group 2 and she will have to take another step forward to challenge the principals.
So Perfect may be the dark horse in the race having finished runner-up in the Group 1 Phoneix Stakes behind Advertise at the Curragh on her last start. Prior to this, she beat Skitter Scatter in a Group 3 contest and that form was boosted in no uncertain manner, with the runner-up winning a Group 1 since. That piece of form would give her the upper hand over Lady Kaya who finished two lengths behind Skitter Scatter in that Group 1 on Champions Weekend.
Selection: So Perfect
The Group 1 Middle Park Stakes has an illustrious honours roll with Bahamian Bounty (1996), Oasis Dream (2002), Dark Angel (2007) and Dream Ahead (2010). Unsurprisingly the red-hot favourite for this year’s renewal hails from Ballydoyle and it’s Ten Sovereigns who has been a real talking horse since demolishing a field of 24 rivals in a Curragh maiden by a jaw-dropping seven lengths. The son of No Nay Never followed this up with another impressive performance in the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes again at the Curragh. The current 7/1 second-favourite for next seasons 2000 Guineas puts his credentials to the test here and fingers crossed he lives up to the hype.
Another horse that still has his unbeaten record intact is Jash who similar to Ten Sovereigns, has scored by wide margins on both starts but crucially this is the first time Simon Crisford’s colt is stepping into graded company. There is a sneaking suspicion that the son of Kodiac may come up short against his highly touted rival.
Aidan is also represented by Sergei Prokofiev who ran very well in some top races earlier in the season but was a major flop in the Group 1 Phoneix Stakes when well fancied. The third-place finish he achieved in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot with give him strong claims in this but he is on a redemption mission.
Kevin Ryan has won this twice with Amadeus Wolf (2005) and Astaire (2013) and he’ll be hoping for a third victory with recent Gimcrack winner Emaraaty Ana. Such was the magnitude of this victory it prompted leading owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum to purchase the daughter of Shamaral ahead of this Group 1 contest.
During the week Ryan said of his colt:
“Emaraaty Ana is in good form at home. It was always the plan after York to go for the Middle Park and we’re looking forward to it”.
Legends Of War was just denied by Emaraaty Ana in the Gimcrack and will be looking to reverse the form here. John Gosden’s inmate has since disappointed in the Flying Childers but perhaps he found the drop down in trip all too much and back up to six furlongs he may well turn the tables with Emaraaty Ana.
Selection: Ten Sovereigns
The 1 mile 1 furlong Cambridgeshire Handicap will round out a fantastic day of racing at Newmarket and top marks to whoever can pick the winner from the 35 runner field. Alfarris heads the market for this incredibly competitive handicap on the back of two wins and two seconds in four starts this season, all of which came in strong handicaps. William Haggas’s charge has been admirably consistent all the way through his career but I’m not sure how much he has in hand over the handicapper.
Kenya bids to land a second Cambridgeshire handicap this season having already plundered the Irish version. Aidan O’Brien’s inmate finished runner-up in the interim but has to hold strong claims of achieving this little-attempted feat.
The only previous winner in the line up is Third Time Lucky who won the race as a three-year-old in 2016 under Adam Beschizza. Since this victory, the Richard Fahey trained horse has been very consistent but has only added two victories to his CV. The son of Clodovil may be vulnerable for the win purposes but Third Time Lucky looks sure to give his supporters a good run for their money and may sneak into the places.
Jeremy Noseda has undoubtedly laid Abe Lincoln out for this race since he finished third to Victory Bond in the all-weather championships at Lingfield back in March. There is a big handicap in he Mrs Susan Roy owned gelding and I think this is it.
Selection: Abe Lincoln