14:20 Newmarket The first race on Channel 4 is the Royal Lodge Stakes and it seems an open affair between the three at the top of the market. Best Of Days was a narrow second in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes after being collared close home. The third from that race, Lockheed, managed a third in a Group 1, to advertise the form. With the way the tank emptied at York leaves you wondering if the extra furlong would suit or whether he hit the front too soon. If the stalls are where they were yesterday then stall eight looks to be on the wrong side. Douglas Macarthur got off the mark on his second start winning a maiden that doesn’t look to be working out too well. He then was pitched into a Group 3 but trying to make all he was well seen off finishing third, which put pay to a Derby run. If he has matured he could be the one from stall one and his running style should suit this track. However the way he found little on the last day would worry you if taken on for the lead and when coming up the hill in the closing stages. Montataire is the one I’m siding with despite the big step up in grade. He ran away with a Listed race at Salisbury when running over this trip for the first time and it looked to bring the best out of him. He’s progressed nicely all summer and could make it two from two at this distance. The quick ground should suit him and he is one that will go forward in typical Mark Johnston style. He is bred to be better over a trip, so this could top the season in nice fashion but we could still see the best of him in the future. Montataire (E/W if 9/2+)
14:35 Market Rasen The first of our two trips to Lincolnshire for a Listed Handicap Hurdle over two miles where last year’s winner returns to the track. Cloonacool has been off for 184-days but claimed this race when fresh last year, so don’t let the absence put you off. That suggests Stuart Edmunds will have him tuned up and ready to go to defend his crown off a 3lb higher mark. He ended last season over fences putting in some creditable performances and on that evidence you’d suggest this is just a prelude for a campaign over the bigger obstacles. Red Tornado won the big Listed Summer Hurdle and made it five consecutive wins over hurdles. He seems quite a speedy type but one who could potentially get further. The worry today is the fact he carries top weight and was keen on the last day. If he pulls in this one that he could blow his chances under 5lb conditional Bridget Andrews. A chance is taken on Thunder Sheik for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who had a few winners up at Perth over their two-day meeting. This eight year old is just 1lb higher than his last of two wins at the back end last season – both came in good fashion at Newbury and Haydock respectively. He ran 92-days ago at Cartmel when well beaten but that is a bit of a specialist track for which he’s been dropped 3lb. At his price he is worth siding with in this sort of field. Thunder Sheik (E/W)
14:55 Newmarket The Cheveley Park Stakes has been highly anticipated because of the presence of Lady Aurelia. Wes Ward’s unbeaten filly scorched the Royal Ascot turf when comfortably claiming the Queen Mary Stakes. She was then sent to Deauville and made all in the Prix Morny and up against five rivals should be able to dictate the fractions, which we’ve seen so far this week is crucial on the Rowley Mile. There were questions about the soft ground at Royal Ascot but she’s by Scat Daddy whose progeny seem to go on all ground. The Frankel filly Queen Kindly has won three of her four starts. She re-opposes Brave Anna, who beat her in the Albany Stakes, whilst she also faces off against Roly Poly, who she beat at York. The drying ground has come in her favour however the way she races out at the back might not be suited to the way this race might unfold considering very little has come off the pace this week. She does have a turn of foot but if surrendering ground early on could leave her with too much to do to catch Lady Aurelia. You have to feel Roly Poly would be the one to pose an early threat to Lady Aurelia from the stalls. She’s one that races forward, so could have track position to claim the second prize and I think she can reverse form with Queen Kindly if Ryan Moore gets her into a good stride straight from the gates. Holy Cat is the least exposed in this field but has plenty of improving to do to trouble the main protagonists. Lady Aurelia (WIN)
15:10 Market Rasen The Listed Handicap Chase looks a tricky puzzle to solve but again there could be some logic behind the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner. Ballykan is arguably still ahead of the handicapper on the basis of his run three starts ago at Stratford. He was leading approaching the last and ran out unseating Daryl Jacob with the win at his mercy. The handicapper kept him on that mark for his run at Perth for which he took advantage of. For me he would have won at Stratford meaning he is a few pounds well in. He has a high cruising speed and travels well, so if handling the step up in class could run a big race. Vintage Vinnie might find the trip on this track too sharp. He’s more of a staying type with wins being just short of three miles. Rebecca Curtis gave him a spin over hurdles 18-days ago and he was a comfortable winner what was a weak race but this is far more competitive. He does look well weighted in this one, so could pose a threat but the trip is still a concern. There could be a nice race in him but if it’s this one I’m not sure. Father Edward won on stable debut for David Pipe overcoming an eight-month absence and he did it in good style. The handicapper has hit him with a 12lb hike in the weights, so needs a career best but he is still unexposed over the larger obstacles. The other one to consider is Presenting Arms in the first time cheekpieces. He consistently runs his race without getting his head in front. At Southwell when behind Ballykan he was outpaced but stayed on late to claim third. He may want a further trip but Harry Fry has put the cheekpieces on him to see if it can spark him into winning. Ballykan (E/W)
15:30 Newmarket One horse will be all the rage in the Middle Park Stakes and that will be Blue Point. Godolphin’s charge was a very impressive winner in the Gimcrack and he looks a top quality horse in the making with the way he travelled through the race before putting it to bed. William Buick spoke very highly of the horse after that success and you have to feel he’ll be hard to beat by the manner of victory that day. Mehmas has got the better of Blue Point this season, however there were excuses for Charlie Appleby’s runner that day. That came in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood where Blue Point had to make his own running and hung allowing a strong finishing Mehmas past. This son of Acclamation has since been tried at the top table over in Ireland finishing second to the smart Churchill over a furlong further. The return to this trip is a positive but Richard Hannon’s horse are hit and miss, so is hard to weigh up in those terms. He is usually consistent and is the obvious threat, so if getting quarter the odds you can get him at just over evens to place. Mokarris followed Blue Point home at York he showing he can mix it in this sort of company. His only disappointment came at Royal Ascot where the ground was against him and when you see his movement you can see why a sound, quick surface will suit him better. I do think this son More Than Ready will be suited by this testing track, so at a double figure price could be one to hit the frame. He is one to keep an eye on in the finish because he could make a good miler next season. Blue Point (WIN)
16:10 Newmarket Get the pin ready! Yesterday’s Silver Cambridgeshire proved that it is a fair track with the winner coming on the near side from stall 18, but those who placed came far side and raced on the far rail. The last three winners are all in this 35-runner field – Third Time Lucky (2015), Bronze Angel (2012 & 2014) and Educate (2013). Third Time Lucky is the obvious one having won this race last year under Adam Beschizza. His first two efforts this season were disappointing ones in the formbook but Richard Fahey has probably held this as the long-term target, so the return to form at York last month will be encouraging. Adam McNamara is on board and he showed how useful his 5lb claim is when winning the Ebor and that will help this four year old to try and defend his crown. There’s a race of this nature in Carry On Deryck, who won in Meydan in February over a mile and did it assertively in the end. Since his return to these shores things haven’t really gone to plan but quick ground here and this trip could see him back to his best and I think he can get involved. Stablemate Very Talented is an unexposed three year old and his effort at Ascot earlier this month looked like a potential prep race for this. He has been progressing well and is potentially better than his mark. From a draw towards the far side could be worth having on side. Knight Owl won over track and trip in April under a good ride from George Wood and they could stake a claim in this open race, however I do think he would prefer some cut in the ground. Banksea is one that has won over further, so this sort of race should play into his stamina and he is one that is in contention. Sir Mark Prescott has won this race three times in the past and his Celestial Path is a runner of interest. He was out of his depth in a Group 3 last time but his run at York three starts ago suggested he has a race in him at around this distance. The drying ground should suit and it is interesting to see the tongue-tie and cheekpieces combination on for the first time. We know the trainer can plot a horse, so is worth watching in the markets. Erik The Red has been an unlucky horse this season. In a number of races he’s travelled powerfully before being caught in a pocket or not getting the splits. If this is the sort of race for him I’m not so sure. Interconnection is a huge price after a decent enough run at Epsom off this mark last time. He won at this track in May, so we know he comes up the hill. Josephine Gordon is on board claiming 3lb, which could be potentially useful for this five year old. First Sitting looks overpriced in my book. A five year old with plenty of stamina, so will be suited by the way this race unfolds. He was second at Saint Cloud in a Listed race when last seen, so the handicapper has put him up 6lb for that good effort. He will need a career best here but he gets on well with James Doyle (two wins), is ground versatile and has some solid efforts in big fields. Very Talented (E/W) Celestial Path (E/W) First Sitting (E/W)
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