It’s a Group 1 weekend at headquarters as the stars of the juvenile sprinting divisions strut their stuff in the Cheveley Park and Middle Park Stakes.
2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas also makes his long-anticipated return to the track in the Joel Stakes taking on Benbatl, but none of these races offer us a value bet.
Plenty of others do however, beginning on Friday on the Rowley Mile.
Friday 24th September 2021
1.50 Newmarket (Rosemary Stakes – Listed Race) – WEDDING DANCE
The two Sheikh Ahmed runners Fooraat and Maamora both have solid form chances here, the former perhaps even being sent off as favourite.
There’s little to separate a number of horses in this field in fact, so in a race in which arguably so many are much of a muchness broadly speaking, a chance can be taken on the returning Wedding Dance.
Charlie Appleby has his powerful string in simply superb form. Sent off 100/30 on debut, not too much was expected of Wedding Dance on her juvenile debut and she duly ran just OK in fourth. Much better was to come though.
She improved in lumps last season, securing an easy win second time out before just being denied in Group 3 company at Deauville. On a line through her French rivals and given the trajectory she was on; she is the only filly in the line-up capable of truly reaching a new level with Group 1’s not out of the question eventually.
2.25 Newmarket (Princess Royal Stakes – Group 3) – PENNYMOOR
In this competitive Group 3 event over a mile-and-a-half we can afford to keep stakes to a minimum and take a chance on one at a nice price. The horse in question is Pennymoor, another Godolphin runner this time trained by John and Thady Gosden.
Given her rate of improvement before her recent York disappointment, she’d be a shoo-in now off a mark of 95 in a handicap. It’s interesting therefore that her trainers send her into Group company instead and she’s definitely capable.
She was denied a clear run last time, but before that demolished her novice field at Kempton by more than nine lengths. Quicker turf than she’s run on before should bring the best out of her on breeding, so at double-figure prices he’s worth a dabble.
3.00 Newmarket (Rockfel Stakes – Group 2) – GIRL ON FILM
Strictly on form the once-raced Girl On Film has it all to do in this bona fide 1000 Guineas trial. For a Group 2 however, it’s not the strongest and some may not appreciate the conditions so with plenty expected of her by the Gunthers and trainer Ralph Beckett, Girl On Film is taken to score.
Majestic Glory, Oscula and Jumbly are all solid contenders too, but there was a lot to like about the daughter of Dabirsim’s debut and now with big race jockey Frankie Dettori on board she can fly.
3.45 Haydock (Handicap) – BANDINELLI
With Charlie Appleby’s first and second choice jockeys at Newmarket, it falls to none other than Derby winner Adam Kirby to ride Bandinelli and he could well be a nice priced winner.
Previously, many of us in the industry believed that Dubawi’s progeny got faster as they progressed, however we’ve learned now that they simply get better no matter what their speciality is and that can include staying as proven by the likes of Kemari and Yibir.
With that in mind, this step up to 1¾ miles looks ideal for recent mile-and-a-half winner Bandinelli. That success at Newmarket was achieved on his first run after a gelding operation, the three-year-old no doubt much better and fitter now. Moliwood is next best.
4.10 Newmarket (Godolphin Stakes – Listed Race) – STAR SAFARI
This is another very close and competitive event on paper, but it’s yet another the Appleby and Godolphin team will believe they can win.
Their Star Safari has plenty going for him. Despite being mature and tough as a five-year-old, he still has plenty more to offer having had only ten starts.
Of those 10 runs he’s won four, including at Group 3 level, but he escapes a penalty and should relish this 1½-mile trip on quick going. Alignak, Highland Chief, Fox Tal, Without A Fight and John Leeper can all battle for places.
Saturday 25th September 2021
1.50 Newmarket (Royal Lodge Stakes – Group 2) – COROEBUS
The top three in the market for this race all have Group 1 Vertem Futurity entries and all three are capable, as is Aidan O’Brien’s Howth who is also in the Doncaster showpiece.
Masekela may go off market leader, but mostly due to his form with Native Trail. He won a Listed race last time, but may not be of the class of Coroebus who may keep the Godolphin juggernaut going with a big juvenile win.
The Dubawi colt made a lovely winning debut from Saga over on the July Course and can now kick on up the levels.
2.40 Haydock (Handicap) – ROYAL CRUSADE
The usual types are in this five-furlong dash; Mondammej, Copper Knight and Jawwaal all remaining capable at this level along with Premier Power.
The interesting one however is Royal Crusade for the Boys in Blue. He’s been mostly disappointing for the past year, but is a proven Group horse. With 5lb claimer Adam Farragher now riding confidently, his claim is a genuine one which means Royal Crusade is running off an effective mark of just 98 despite being rated 110 previously.
Now he’s been gelded, he can get back to something like his old form and if he does then his price will look ridiculous.
3.40 Newmarket (Cambridgeshire Handicap) – IRISH ADMIRAL
The big betting race of the day, and one of the biggest of the season, is the Cambridgeshire.
Despite often being called a ‘nine-furlong sprint’ owing to the flat-out nature of the event, it’s so often won by a horse who stays a mile-and-a-quarter and/or is by a sire who saw out a mile as a three-year-old or stayed further when older.
The draw is a factor too, so if 15 isn’t too low then this could finally be Irish Admiral’s big day. A winner last time, he still hasn’t got to the levels Sheikh Ahmed and William Haggas thought he would but he’s now in top form and can kick on.
Anmaat is next on the list, ahead of Spirit Dancer and Chichester.