There are some potentially important juvenile races to kick off Friday at Newbury, while there are a couple of Listed events and the Bronze Cup at Ayr.
On Saturday we witness Ayr Gold Cup day and there are some good races to back it up, while Newmarket, Newbury and North America back up that action admirably.
Friday 16th September 2022
2.53 Newbury (Nursery Handicap) – THE PARENT
Richard Hannon and Ryan Moore team up with The Parent, a horse who went from second favourite to favourite in the time I wrote this piece!
He is solid in most areas, won last time in spite of the soft ground rather than because of it, has form with Highbank and Stormbuster (who both run in the next), as well as with One Nation and Sir Laurence Graff across three different races, all of which reads well.
He could prove to be the best of this bunch, with market rival Surely Not’s prowess perhaps exaggerated by an unlucky defeat last time.
4.03 Newbury (Dubai Duty Free Cup – Listed Race) – SACRED
This is high class for a Listed race, a knock-on effect you’d say of some racing being lost last weekend.
Sacred was ready to go last week, she is the best of this bunch and gets 5lbs as opposed to Jumby who gives away seven.
Saleymm is likely to have improved past old rival Shine So Bright and Tacarib Bay would be good enough for an ordinary renewal if not for this one, but Sacred ticks the most boxes.
Saturday 17th September 2022
1.40 Newbury (Legacy Cup Stakes – Group 3) – KEMARI
This is no longer the Arc Trial, but given the relative weakness of the big one at Longchamp this year a very good winner of this may yet put their hat into the ring.
Godolphin have three here, two of them Charlie Appleby’s. It’s hard to know the first choice, with Buick away in North America and James Doyle out.
The odds suggest Siskany is their main hope, however Kemari has in my opinion achieved more despite official ratings and he has the speed to cope with this 1m3f trip. He’s also closer to proper race fitness.
2.41 Newmarket (Handicap) – SENSE OF POWER
There are much bigger and better things happening in the racing world than this seven-furlong Class 4 handicap, however on my private ratings Sense Of Power comes out well clear, more so than any other selection.
He has form with the right types, has been gelded, and would be a short price if it weren’t for his progression stalling on the all-weather last time.
Back on turf he can run to a mark of around 95-100 under Harry Davies, making his official rating of 85 look daft.
2.50 Newbury (Mill Reef Stakes – Group 2) – SAKHEER
The Mill Reef was in danger of looking like a very poor affair and while we’ve seen deeper renewals, Roger Varian’s Sakheer does at least look quality and he can win it.
Sakheer is around 7/1 for next week’s Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and, while I’m not sure a double will be attempted, he definitely has the speed and class to take this for the St Leger winning connections.
3.25 Newbury (Handicap) – OTTOMAN FLEET
Similar to the Legacy Cup, Charlie Appleby’s two may have been priced up all wrong and again it’s the outsider of the pair I like.
Warren Point is very much on the up and isn’t a surprising favourite, however he is of a similar ability to stablemate Ottoman Fleet who has had one race fewer and who could improve past him. To add to that, he’s 3lbs lower in the handicap as well.
Their form ties in with Special Envoy who is a danger, along with Hamaki.
3.40 Ayr (Ayr Gold Cup – Heritage Handicap) – KHANJAR
We’ve seen plenty of grand old sprinters double-up in big races and last year’s Ayr Gold Cup winner Bielsa still rates highly on my book.
I can’t say he’s betting better though, with similar comments applying to the likes of Commanche Falls, Escobar and Gulliver, so they are all vulnerable to the improving three-year-old Khanjar who can prove to be the best handicapped horse in the race for William Haggas.
9.22 Woodbine (Summer Stakes – Grade 1) – MYSTERIOUS NIGHT
Albahr won this $500,000 race last year for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and the team may well win it again.
The winner won his place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but was withdrawn at the start, though the team won it anyway with Modern Games, and now Mysterious Night can book his place in the gates at Keeneland on November 4.
There is little to choose between Appraise, Philip My Dear and Stayhonor Goodside in behind.
10.35 Woodbine (Woodbine Mile – Grade 1) – MODERN GAMES
The $1million Woodbine Mile is a great opportunity for Breeders’ Cup winner, French Guineas winner and Sussex runner-up Modern Games to score under Will Buick.
He will love the fast conditions here, is genuinely top class, and is looking to get into the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.
Ivar is the big danger, while Finest Sound may go well at a price.
10.45 Belmont at the Big A (Jockey Club Derby – Grade 3) – NATIONS PRIDE
No sooner will the Woodbine Mile be over, the Jockey Club Invitational starts.
To avoid confusion; there is work being done at Belmont and so this race is run at Aqueduct as ‘Belmont at the Big A’.
A $1million event, Yibir won this race last year en route to the scoring in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. For the same connections, Nations Pride is looking to do the same in a race that was ungraded last year, now carries Grade 3 status, and is on its way to becoming a Grade 1.
I’ve no idea of prices at the time of writing, however it’s 1-1 now between Nations Pride and Classic Causeway and I’m hoping that keeps the betting competitive. On his first American jaunt this horse got a bad ride from Frankie Dettori and a much better one next time in victory by William Buick.
As long as Frankie has learned something, he should beat his old foe for the second time.