This week there is the small matter of trying to sort out the first leg of the Autumn double, The Cambridgeshire.
Sky Bet are offering us all a bit of help with six places in the race on all place bets in Saturday's contest. Just to give us a slightly better chance I'm going to try and find six horses that look to have strong claims in this nine furlong heritage handicap.
1. Queensbury Rules
William Haggas is an obvious trainer to follow, not least because he has six runners and his horses seem to have been farming valuable handicaps this season - maybe we should just back all six?! His best chances appear to lie with Graphic and Queensbury Rules. Frankie Dettori rides the former and the excellent Ryan Moore is on the latter. For that reason and the fact that this horse has some decent form in big handicaps I'll go with Queensbury Rules from his stable.
His best chances appear to lie with Graphic and Queensbury Rules. Frankie Dettori rides the former and the excellent Ryan Moore is on the latter.
Quotes of the week
2. Top Notch Tonto
Brian Ellison is nobody's fool and Top Notch Tonto looks like a group horse in a handicap. His Haydock win last time out looked exceptional and he doesn't looks harshly handicapped. One point to bear in mind, he does like some ease in the ground and it could dry out by race time.
Hugo Palmer is another trainer on ground watch for his runner Ascription. I have reservations because this horse also likes some cut in the ground and unless the weather surprises us, it's unlikely to be on the easy side.
Johnny Murtagh has been the 'go to' jockey for big races this season and he has been snapped up by Ismail Mohammed for Educate. That is a positive alone, but this horse has some decent form too having not been beaten far in a couple of very hot handicaps and group company last time out.
5. Code of Honour
Code of Honour is another horse who doesn't look too badly treated. Trainer Henry Candy is very capable given the right material and this horse has plenty of ability. This nine-furlong trip looks right up his street and this race was mentioned by his trainer earlier in the season.
6. Chapter Seven
Chapter Seven is the final horse on my shortlist of six. Stuart Williams is a trainer we always call 'shrewd', so as a result his horses are always respected. His horses are running nicely and this horse has been running well. The ground may not be quite soft enough for him though.
So there are my six for the shortlist, but if I had to nail my colours to the mast I'd go with Queensbury Rules each way.
Away from that tricky handicap there is some really classy racing and on Friday the feature is for 2 year-olds and is the Group 1 Fillies' Mile. Eight have been declared headed by Clive Brittain's stable star Rizeena who comes here rather than run in a depleted Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs on Saturday.
Clive has had some very smart fillies over the years including Sayyedati, User Friendly and Pebbles and he thinks this filly is almost up there with those illustrious performers. This filly has gone from strength to strength and has handled anything that has been thrown at her.
She has won over five furlongs (including the Queen Mary), six and most recently a stiff seven furlongs at the Curragh in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, so her trainer doesn't think this mile will be an inconvenience. Probably one of her best runs came when she was third to No Nay Never and Vorda in the Prix Morny at Deauville on her penultimate start.
The Saeed bin Suroor trained Ihtimal won the May Hill over a mile at Doncaster last time out so the trip will hold no fears. Sound Reflection is another Godolphin runner, this time for Charlie Appleby who has taken the decision to supplement her for this race.
This is a big step up in grade, but she's a progressive filly and looks like she could be an Oaks filly next year. A leading two-year-old contest wouldn't be the same without an Aidan O'Brien runner and he saddles Wonderfully who was badly hampered behind Rizeena in the Moyglare last time out so you can disregard her finishing position there which showed she only beat one home.
She is a sister to Derby 6th Mars so she will relish the further step up in trip. In conclusion, Godolphin have a great record in this race and they have a couple of potentially smart fillies entered. However, Rizeena has proved herself at the highest level and she has to be the selection. Wonderfully could be one for each way punters with Ryan Moore up as the former champ is riding out of his skin at the moment.
Also on Friday there is a British Champions Series race, the Group 2 Joel Stakes. This is a race for the milers and Mike de Kock will be hoping his Soft Falling Rain can get back to winning ways. I was really keen on the Godolphin Mile winner when he lined up in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time out, but he disappointed there only managing to finish second.
However, that was seven furlongs and a step back up in trip will help and having a recent run under his belt is also a bonus. He could be vulnerable again though in a race that is probably more open than the prices suggest and Montridge is another who will appreciate the mile trip here.
Richard Hannon's colt was disappointing behind leading Cambridgeshire fancy Top Notch Tonto at Haydock last time out, but I hope he can put that behind him and reproduce the form he showed at Glorious Goodwood when he won a Group 3 contest. I'm banking on the old saying that form is temporary and class is permanent!
Saturday kicks off with the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings over a mile. This is all about Berkshire who has waited to run on Saturday rather than earlier in the week in the hope the ground dries out a bit.
Having spoken to Newmarket clerk Michael Prosser on Thursday he expects it could ride good to firm by Saturday so it looks like a sensible decision. Paul Cole's colt is 14/1 with Sky Bet for next year's 2000 Guineas and 25s for the Derby after his win the Chesham at Royal Ascot on his last start. He has a lovely pedigree and reportedly needed time after Royal Ascot so despite what is likely to be restrictive odds I fancy his chances.
There are two Group 1 races, the first of them is the Cheveley Park Stakes for juvenile fillies over six furlongs. The reason I described it as depleted earlier is because Clive Brittain has chosen to run Rizeena in the Fillies' Mile and George Margarson's Lucky Kristale has finished for the season having scoped badly in the week.
That leaves French trained filly Vorda as Sky Bet's market leader. She hasn't done much wrong in her career, in fact her only deafeat came when second to No Nay Never in the Prix Morny (the form could be boosted by the third there Rizeena who runs in the Fillies' Mile on Friday).
Apparently the Charlie Hills trained Kiyoshi is going to wear a special bit to help stop her hanging. Let's hope it works because she's a very talented filly and if that straightens her out she could dominate here. She hung across the track when winning the Albany at Royal Ascot and then was demoted to third from second in the Moyglare last time out having done a similar thing.
If Lady Jane Cecil saddles Frankel's half sister Joyeuse to win there would be a fantastic reception. To be able to raise the flag over Warren Place in the week the trainer confirmed she would be staying on there next season would be something special. The flag has always been raised after group 1 wins and after a tough year no one would begrudge that honour. Despite that, I'm hoping that new headgear does the trick for Kiyoshi, followers of this blog will know that she definitely owes me one!
The other Group 1 is also for fillies and mares, the Sun Chariot, for three year-olds and upwards, run over a mile. There is plenty of confidence behind the Richard Hannon trained Sky Lantern. Apparently she is flying at home, so let's hope she gets the luck she deserves in this race.
Luck is the all important word as you may recall that she didn't get much of it in the Falmouth Stakes when accidentally struck across the face by the jockey's whip on eventual winner Elusive Kate and then being badly hampered again when favourite for the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last time out. Elusive Kate takes her on again, but I'm hoping she can reverse those placings here.
Rizeena in the Fillies' Mile @ 6/4 with Sky Bet
Montridge in the Joel Stakes @ 100/30 with Sky Bet
Berkshire in the Royal Lodge
Queensbury Rules in the Cambridgeshire @ 14/1 with Sky Bet (each way - 6 places)
Kiyoshi in the Cheveley Park Stakes
Sky Lantern in the Sun Chariot @ 7/4 with Sky Bet