Racing Expert & Columnist
Alex Hammond Blog
Last Updated: 29/09/17 12:17pm
Alex Hammond previews a stunning weekend of racing and reckons we could see a Classic performance from Clemmie at Newmarket.
What did you make of Saxon Warrior's performance in the Beresford Stakes on Sunday and do you think he can emulate Capri in winning a Classic in 2018?
I was impressed and yes, possibly.
He was visually very impressive at Naas, albeit on soft ground which can exaggerate winning distances. Afterwards Aidan O'Brien said he was concerned about the underfoot conditions beforehand and that he was a Classic colt for next season.
No real surprise to hear those comments as he's bred with the bluest of blood. He's by a stallion called Deep Impact, a champion in Japan and himself a son of superstar stallion Sunday Silence.
Saxon Warrior's dam is Group 1 winner Maybe, so plenty to like there. He was cut into 10/1second favourite with Sky Bet for next year's Derby. That's a long way off, but if he were to win his next race, if indeed he does run again this season, then he will most likely shorten up again.
It looks like middle distances will be his forte if he is to excel in a Classic next season.
The racing from Newmarket over the next few days should shed plenty of light on next season's Classics. Which juveniles are you most looking forward to seeing in action and should we get them onside for 2018 now?
This isn't a ground-breaking selection, but I'm a fan of Aidan O'Brien's Clemmie.
Clemmie is Sky Bet's 6/4 favourite to win the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday and that's a fair reflection of her chance in the six furlong Group 1. She's a full-sister to dual Guineas winner Churchill and comes here with a couple of decent wins under her belt.
She has loads of speed which stands her in good stead for this, but is bred to stay a mile, which I'd hope she will next season and she's already 7/1 favourite with Sky Bet for next year's 1000 Guineas. Ryan Moore was impressed with her in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on her last outing in July and I haven't seen anything I like more just yet.
I'm hanging on in there with Beckford and Gordon Elliott's colt holds an entry in Saturday's Middle Park (he's also entered at Chantilly on Sunday).
He's been beaten into second on his last two starts, including by Sioux Nation who could reoppose, but the seven furlongs on testing ground last time out probably did for him and the time before that (when he was second to Sioux Nation) the ground might have been a bit too fast.
I know it may seem like I'm clutching at straws, but I'm giving him another chance to give his leading jumps trainer a first Group 1 victory. He's 6/1 to win this weekend.
The Betfred Cambridgeshire is one of the key handicaps of the season, who takes your eye from among the five-day entries?
He needs to put a moderate run behind him last time out, but has some decent form which could see him figure in this tricky handicap. I mentioned last week his latest effort at York, but it could be worth forgiving as it was his first outing for almost two months and his first run since being gelded.
He wasn't beaten far when second to subsequent Sussex Stakes winner Here Comes When at York in May and seems to handle ground on the fast or easy side of good.
Another horse has caught my eye since then too. Brorocco is now a 14/1 shot after he did me a favour in the Racing Post Naps competition last Saturday with his win in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury.
He's not guaranteed to get a run in Saturday's big race as he's 36 in the entries at the time of writing and he doesn't want the ground to turn soft, but if he runs I'll have a couple of pounds each-way on him as he is clearly in top form at the moment for trainer Andrew Balding.
Sunday is all about the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but Enable is past the post isn't she?
I think so, although you can never be that certain in horseracing. She's 4/5 favourite and whist that doesn't grab my attention particularly, it might prove to be good value.
I wonder if it might be worth chancing Brametot each-way; he's 10/1 at the time of writing. Jean-Claude Rouget has had a mixed season and the surprise defeat of this colt last time out was one of the lows.
He went into the Group 2 at Deauville with wins in the French Guineas and Derby to his name, but he flopped and never challenged, finishing fifth in the race won by Eminent.
The step up to a mile and a half shouldn't inconvenience him on pedigree and maybe it will even help this slow starter. I hope we see a superstar performance from Enable though; Brametot can finish second!
Could you highlight a fancy or two for the rest of the action from Chantilly?
Well I'm hoping that Winter runs in the Prix de l'Opera rather than the Arc, she's currently 5/2 favourite to win the race confined to fillies and mares. It is run over 10 furlongs rather than 12 furlongs of the Arc, which I think will stretch her out a bit too far.
It's a shame that Limato won't be defending his crown in the Foret, but the forecast soft ground is not what he needs. In his absence, I like Brando to bounce back from his defeat behind Harry Angel in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. The main danger is likely to be Zelzal for Jean-Claude Rouget.
Marsha will be popular to win the Abbaye again given her tough performance to hold off Lady Aurelia to win the Nunthorpe at York last month. I hope the ground doesn't get too testing for her as that will just take the edge off her chance.
Away from Chantilly, the rescheduled Ayr Gold Cup takes place at Haydock on Saturday and I'm still keen on the chances of Ice Age for trainer Eve Johnson-Houghton who comes into this off the back of three wins in a row.
He won the Sky Bet Sprint Series Finale at Windsor on his penultimate start and followed that up at the Curragh in an ultra-competitive six furlong handicap. Kickboxer is also on my shortlist for trainer Michael Appleby. He's only had one start for his shrewd handler, winning at Thirsk back in May, after being picked up for just £16,000 by his new owner at the sales out of Saeed bin Suroor's stable.
The pair are 12/1 and 14/1 respectively for the big sprint handicap.