1:45- Royal Lodge Stakes
A five runner field for the Royal Lodge this year, and a fair case can be made for them all, hence why there’s not too much disparity being the whole field in the market.
In basic terms, Acomb Stakes winner Gear Up has the biggest win to his name after winning that Group 3 event on his latest start, but it looks a weak race for the level; the second and fourth were soundly beaten in a Listed event at the St Leger meeting last time, whilst the third finished last of seven in the Champagne Stakes a few days after.
Therefore, I’m inclined to side with market leader Cobh, whose only career defeat to date came in the Pat Eddery Stakes when he was beaten by one of the best two year olds we’ve seen this season in unbeaten Champagne Stakes victor Chindit.
That form is working out well, with third Naval Crown winning the Convivial Maiden and fourth Saint Lawrence having since taking a Listed prize.
Cobh himself was a winner on his most recent start in the Stonehenge Stakes, defeating Fancy Man, himself an easy Listed winner on his next start.
His form is stacking up quite well, and despite this being a nice race for the level, this looks a good opportunity for Cobh to add a Group race to his CV.
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2:25- Cheveley Park Stakes
An intriguing renewal of the Cheveley Park, and one in which I hope for the fifth consecutive year, will see the trophy brought back to Ireland.
Miss Amulet was quick enough to defeat Ger Lyons’ speedball Frenetic over the minimum trip on her penultimate start, and confirmed that was no fluke when getting the better of the short-priced favourite, Royal Ascot runner-up Sacred, when upped in trip in the Lowther at York last time out.
She opposes once more here, as does the third, the relatively green Umm Kulthum, who has since won the Firth Of Clyde in the meantime.
I think the Lowther is the strongest piece of recent form, and Ken Condon’s filly was impressive in stringing the field out, so gets the verdict here.
Favourite Dandalla obviously merits huge amounts of respect and retained her unbeaten record when winning her third career start in the Duchess Of Cambridge on the July Course last time out. Visually, it wasn’t as impressive as her Albany romp on the start prior, but the Newmarket event was probably a stronger affair and she ranks as the main danger.
At a bigger price, Aloha Star’s connections could probably.have counted themselves unlucky to be demoted to third after their filly crossed the line a place ahead in the Phoenix Stakeson her latest start.
That was a good effort, and she represents value at 14s.
3:00- Middle Park Stakes
This year’s Middle Park Stakes is a well up-to-scratch renewal, with bar outsiders Charterhouse and Lipizzaner, all the field have won at Group level during the season or beaten subsequent Group winners. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if any of the first six in the betting were to return victorious, but I’m inclined to side with Richmond Stakes scorer Supremacy.
Clive Cox’s colt showed a rare turn of foot when slamming his to win that Goodwood event, careering clear at the finish and travelling strongly on the front end. That burst of power is enough to give the narrow vote here ahead of Minzaal, who didn’t have to come off the bridle to break his maiden at Salisbury, and would’ve barely known he had a race when taking the Gimcrack, such was the ease with which he breezed home. Neither the Gimcrack or the Richmond particularly appeared to be the deepest of races, but both winners oozed class and look Group 1 horses in the making.
It’s also impossible to rule out Lucky Vega, who has excuses for slightly disappointing effort in the National Stakes last time, and for whom a reproduction of his Phoenix Stakes win would see him well in the mix, or Method, who smashed up one of the best fillies we’ve seen this year in Fev Rover when winning his maiden and beat another future Group scorer in Mighty Gurkha Royal Ascot winners Tactical and The Lir Jet are also well worth their place in Group One and are capable of hitting the frame. It’s a mouthwatering race.
3:35- Cambridgeshire Handicap
Just the 29 runners go to the post in one the biggest handicaps of the season, the Cambridgeshire, and it’s entirely clear to see why the horses heading the market have their prominent positions in the betting. Tempus is from a highly successful Juddmonte family and has won both of his starts this campaign, whilst Sinjaari’s only start this year has seen him victorious in the John Smith’s Cup.
Sir Busker and Montatham drop back into a handicap after successful seasons saw them tackle black type races on their most recent outings, and the latter would be my selection to win another major handicap this season.
He’s well towards the head of the weights, but I don’t think his current rating of 109 underestimates him and a strong gallop here should suit him perfectly. He’s better off at the weights with Sir Busker from there meeting at York’s Ebor meeting and, I can take positives from his arguably disappointing performance when beaten favourite at Sandown a fortnight ago, given that the surprise winner gave the field the slip that day and Montatham still have proven Listed and Group 3 level horses behind him. He’s better than a handicapper, and is isn’t unfairly weighted on his
progressive form this season.
At bigger prices, a pair of interesting runners are the three-year-olds King Carney and Dubai Mirage. King Carney was a Listed winner at two and started this season competing in a brace of Derby trials.
He found himself out of his depth, but the drop in both grade and trip worked well when third to Tempus on his handicap debut last month, and there could be more to come from a mark of 100, whilst Dubai Mirage ran well at Sandown earlier this month and now has 5lb claimer Stefano Cherchi in the saddle, meaning he could be quite well in at the weights if continuing his progress.
THE REST OF THE CARD
The opening fillies maiden at 1:15 is a typically strong race of it’s type for the track, and favourite Wootton Creek could be good enough to get the job done. Her only prior start to date saw her split the useful pair Concessions and Seattle Rock at Chelmsford, but there’s a heap of promising fillies in opposition, with the most interesting, on paper, being Roger Charlton’s Quilted, a full sister to Fillies’ Mile winner Quadrilateral.
The fillies’ nursery at 4:15 is another good race for the grade, and a tentative vote goes to Godolphin’s Renaissance Rose, who was fourth in a solid maiden at Ascot on her debut before dancing up by eight lengths at the second time of asking at Kempton last month. She was very stylish that day, and whilst the race wasn’t very deep, the combination of that facile performance and the strength of her Ascot maiden means 84 could prove to be a very lenient mark to make her handicap debut from. In the 4:45, Marcus Tregoning’s lightly raced five year old Ghalyoon showed good form in2019 and has finished with a flourish on both starts this season. This looks like a solid opportunity for him to get his head in front for the first time this campaign.