Posted 6.15pm Thursday October 12th
Should we have a fear of Friday the thirteenth? With Newmarket all about level weight contests, mainly for the girls, and York top heavy with handicaps, winners won’t be easy to find but with both meetings due to be run on Good ground hopefully excuses will be in short supply and the form should be solid.
Newmarket’s card opens with an impossible 5F handicap.
However the second race is full of interest, the G3 Oh So Sharp Stakes over 7F for 2yo fillies. The likes of Dark Rose Angel and Gavota have solid G2 form whilst Butterscotch represents Aiden O’Brien. I am a big fan of Dark Rose Angel who was just caught by Laurens at Doncaster in the May Hill and steps back a furlong here and Frankie Dettori takes over in the saddle. There are plenty of improvers lurking in this field and one I was impressed with when she beat Blanchefleur and Fille de Reve on debut was Herecomesthesun. A daughter of Invincible Spirit she cost £140K and represents Archie Watson and Eddie Greatrex who are two men very definitely in a hurry. Herecomesthesun travelled, lengthened and put her head down and just struck me as a filly who wants to please and that there was more to come. With BetFred offering four places at a fifth I thought there was some each way mileage at 20/1.
The G2 3yo+ 7F Challenge Stakes is all about how you feel about last year’s 6F July Cup winner, Limato at 7/4. Double G1 winner but is he the same horse this season? I’m happy to take him on and I promised myself that as soon as he was Ballydoyle’s “first choice” and Ryan Moore was on board I would back Cougar Mountain. This time last season he won the G2 Joel Stakes and was fifth in this race last year when sent off 10/3 favourite. He has been on the go since February in Doha, has run at 6, 7 and 8F, often on unsuitable Soft ground but hopefully HQ will have dried out, 7F is his best trip, no 3lb penalty this year and at 16/1 with William Hill (20/1 SkyBet on-line) I am willing to play each way.
The G1 2yo Fillies mile looks an O’Brien benefit with Happily, Magical and September. I wonder with no Soft in the going could September show her true colours as seen at Ascot and outrun the 15/2 being offered by Ladbrokes. Probably best to follow the money as “the lads” rarely get it wrong.
The 4.10 Old Rowley Cup over 12F for 3yo’s I’ve covered in my previous blog putting forward Duke of Bronte and Humble Hero as the likely winner. The 7F 2yo fillies maiden will be strictly Notebook only. The closing 10F Fillies Lisited Pride Stakes has Architecture at the top of the market but I think the 3yo’s Natavia, Ouja and Uae Queen can shake her up especially in receipt of four pounds but which one? At 20/1 with PP the improving Uae Queen could be the each way play.
With the exception of the staying 3yo handicap, covered in my previous blog, the York card looks of the “too difficult” category. Zap in the nursery, Zwayyan in the 8F handicap and Venturous in the sprint handicap catch my eye but with no conviction.
Jumps fans will no doubt be keeping tabs on the novice chases at Newton Abbot and the C2 handicap hurdle could be informative.
Saturday’s cards need some further research although my Cesarewitch shortlist is Euchen Glen, Endless Acres and Byron Flyer. The Dewhurst looks like Expert Eye’s to lose but I’m going to take a deeper look at the 6F Coral Sprint Trophy and the C2 10F handicap, both at York, and I’ll blog all three tomorrow.