Thursday’s action has truly whetted the appetite for the remainder of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting, with Friday and Saturday providing some stunning action.
The Rowley Mile is our main focus on a very busy betting weekend, with the big handicap and the Royal Lodge being admittedly fascinating watching briefs only.
Friday 23rd September 2022
1.50 Newmarket (Rosemary Stakes – Listed Race) – ZANBAQ
The trainers, jockeys and colours in this one-mile Listed contest are all very familiar, but in truth this isn’t the strongest race of its type.
Juddmonte pair Whitebeam and Crenelle are hard to separate, while Crystal Caprice and the overpriced Thundershower join them in a similar quality bracket.
The standout is Zanbaq for Roger Varian and Shadwell. She was fancied for the Guineas at one point, put in a terrific handicap run at Royal Ascot and has everything required to outpace and/or outclass this field.
2.05 Haydock (Handicap) – VINTAGE CHOICE
Skipping up to Haydock for a moment, we have a chance to back what just might be a handicap blot.
This is a wide-open race on the betting book, but one of Croupier, Foden or Moon Watch it seems will have to take a big jump forward to stand out. Vintage Choice however has already shown enough for me and only needs natural improvement from his second at Wolverhampton in April.
He was favourite here when last seen but was beaten after being gelded. Before that she showed good form and good speed on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton which may yet prove to be important in the context of this race.
William Haggas sends only this horse to Haydock and jockey Adam Farragher is on hand for a couple of rides. He hasn’t been riding any winners in the last couple of weeks, but he has five from 40 this year and still claims a handy 5lbs.
2.25 Newmarket (Princess Royal Stakes – Group 3) – ETERNAL PEARL
A good race over the mile and a half. Sea Silk Road beat Eternal Pearl earlier in the year and now gets 3lbs, making her the clear favourite. It was a narrow win however and she had slightly more experience than her then very immature rival.
Eternal Pearl has got her head right now and was rather impressive last time in France. She will appreciate the quicker ground and can use her turn of foot to put this race to bed.
3.00 Newmarket (Rockfel Stakes – Group 2) – COMMISSIONING
The Rockfel is getting a bit of stick for not being a strong Group 2, but the Gosdens’ Commissioning is a classy once-raced Kingman filly who could be Group 1 class. She may return in two weeks for the Fillies’ Mile.
Olivia Maralda, Rage Of Bamby, Rich, Eximius and Dance In The Grass can all make a mark.
3.35 Newmarket (Joel Stakes – Group 2) – POTAPOVA
The Joel is always a strong race. Tempus is classy but faces different conditions, Pogo can run similarly to last year’s Joel but in a better renewal, while Oscula is admirable but this may be a step too far.
I’ve always been a fan of Mutasaabeq and see him as a 115 horse, but an on-song Potapova getting 3lbs could be too good. She hasn’t always been consistent, but she’s shown numerous times she could be top class and is still improving.
4.45 Newmarket (Godolphin Stakes – Listed Race) – SISKANY
A competitive Listed race. Passion And Glory is consistent, Candleford is dangerous if returning to his strong handicap form and Without A Fight would have a good chance against all bar the selection if it weren’t for his penalty.
Siskany could just be different class. He was back from a long break when a beaten favourite last weekend, but he badly needed that and it’s more than a little interesting that Charlie Appleby runs him again so quickly.
6.15 Newcastle (Maiden Stakes) – STAND STRONG
There’s been lots of talk in racing about poor prize money and bad scheduling. This race should be so much better and I’m not sure where the blame lies after only seven were declared for this unusually valuable £50,000 maiden.
Trainers may get the blame again for not going for the money they’ve been asking for, but this race being scheduled during the Cambridgeshire meeting is daft as there are more important things happening in the back yards of Haggas, Gosden, Appleby and the likes. Saeed bin Suroor is sharp though and may have the winner.
I’m backing the progeny of Cracksman and this is one of them. They tend to improve plenty from their first run and Stand Strong was best of the newcomers when third at Salisbury in July.
He was around 15lbs behind Marbaan that day, the subsequent Group 2 winner rated 109. Poetic Union was a further 10lbs worse and is now rated 91 having contested two Group 3’s. That’s strong form, he’ll get better and he will appreciate Newcastle’s stiff mile.
Saturday 24th September 2022
2.25 Newmarket (Cheveley Park Stakes – Group 1) – TRILLIUM
Swingalong was excellent at York but needs to go on again, while No Nay Never’s daughter Meditate is the one for money for the Ballydoyle operation.
The other No Nay Never, Trillium for Richard Hannon, may be the one to be on though. She has tip-top form and may have been even better when beating Nunthorpe second The Platinum Queen last time but for soft ground. She may be the best of this bunch.
3.00 Newmarket (Middle Park Stakes – Group 1) – MISCHIEF MAGIC
The other six-furlong Group 1 for juveniles is the Middle Park and it could provide yet another top-level success for Charlie Appleby.
His Mischief Magic has been underestimated for me, with the focus going on Marshman and Blackbeard. They are both good, but our horse is improving fast and looks well capable of improving past this bunch. Appleby knows where he stands with Marshman too on a line through Noble Style.
Persian Force is solid and Zoology is also interesting in his second start.
5.25 Newmarket (Handicap) – NOBLE DYNASTY
Noble Dynasty is four, a heavy improver, and will love coming down to seven furlongs on the Rowley Mile. He is the handicap pick for certain, with good runs perhaps coming from Alrehb, The Attorney and Zainalarab.
5.40 Chester (Fillies’ Handicap) – QABILAH
Qabilah is a winner but she has always promised more. She will be very fit now having had to chase Shaara last time who has since followed up in good company, with the selection being much better than a 77 filly.