a huge weekend of racing as the Turf season begins to draw to a close. There is
plenty to look forward to yet here in the UK
and of course out in the USA
but for this weekend it’s all about HQ Newmarket Saturday and day three of the
Cambridgeshire meeting. If that isn’t enough for you it being the first weekend
of October it’s the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de
Triomphe at its temporary home of Chantilly
with a plethora of Group Ones on the supporting cards over the two days.
I am going up early with my thoughts for the entire weekend and will look at the two days on two separate posts as I am going to be busier than a dog with two tails over the coming 48 hours!
I have six bet for Saturday and firstly I will look at HQ Newmarket. I am not getting involved in the Cambridgeshire itself as it is nigh impossible to back anything with any confidence; I am though getting involved in a number of contests on a cracking card. There is no messing about as we are straight into the good stuff at 1.50 with the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes. Nelson comes here rather than a trip across the Channel for the Group One Prix Jean Luc Lagardere on Sunday and has to be considered. The colt has been progressing nicely all season and won a Group Three over a mile at Leopardstown last time on the yielding in the manner of a good horse. The field has cut-up a bit and he is now 8-13.
At 2.20 it’s the the Group One Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs. Happily is off to France this weekend leaving the improving Clemmie at 7-4 the main hope for Ballydoyle. She won the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge on the July Course last time and looks very much on the up. Heartache won the G.2 Flying Childers Stakes from Havana Grey and is feared stepping up to six furlongs for the first time.
Next at 2.55 we have the colts over six for the Group One Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. Karl Burke trained Unfortunately caused a bit of an upset when landing the G.2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte in July. He followed that up, and showed himself to be a colt on the up, by winning the G.1 Prix Morny at Deauville last month with stablemate Havana Grey second and he has a chance in this. Sioux Nation and Beckford, first and second in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, take each other on again and are also feared. For me the one to be on is Sands Of Mali, the all-the-way winner of the G.2 Gimcrack Stakes at York in fine fashion, he is one well worth a tilt at a Group One and is the tentative pick at 4-1 in what could be a cracker.
And so we pop across the Channel to France for the late afternoon as it’s not just about the Sunday in Chantilly with a decent card on the Saturday to get involved with. Showers are forecast so the going is likely to have the word soft in the description that said it was changed to good to soft from soft on Friday with rain possible overnight.
I am getting involved in three of the five pattern races. Something to remember is that a low draw appears to be an advantage in races ranging from 7f–1m2f on this right-handed track as does the ability to lead or be up with the pace. I won’t be punting in the Group Two Prix Chaudenay or Group Two Prix de Royallieu.
The Group Two Qatar Prix Dollar at 3.25 over 1m2f could see the Andre Fabre trained Godolphin owned Avilius getting back to winning ways. The Listed winner has framed up on his last three starts, all Group two’s, the last when second to Cracksman in the G.2 Prix Niel here on Trials Day. Prior to that he was third in the G.2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano Haras du Logis Saint-Germain; at 4-1 he is well worth a couple of bob investment.
The main event Saturday is the Group One Prix du Cadran over 2m4½f. Sadly the weather does look to have gone against Big Orange and I cannot believe my favourite horse in training will line-up if it is soft; seems madness to run over the marathon trip on ground he’ll hate. Michael Bell said on Friday “He's very well in himself. We're just hoping the ground isn't bottomless," If he runs I will of course have a bet at 11-4 but ideally would like no more rain at all. Vazirabad who was nutted in the shadow of the post by Quest For More twelve months ago, looks the way to go if Big Orange is taken-out. The Alain de Royer-Dupre trained stayer won the Dubai Gold Cup in March and won a G.2 and G.3 here at Chantilly since and is unsurprisingly now odds-on and that will shrink further if it pours and Big Orange doesn’t run.
For the Group Two Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein I really like the look of last years winner the Jean-Claude Rouget trained Taareef to go in again. Second in the G.1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Trials day to Ribchester the four-year-old looks more than capable of winning again at 4-5.
All being well it will be early to bed with a few quid having been pocketed ready to go again on Sunday.