The Channel 4 cameras, we won’t be saying that much longer, are at Newmarket this afternoon for a pair of Group 2 contests including the Rockfel Stakes for juvenile fillies’ over seven furlongs.
This is something of a retrieval mission for Fair Eva (3.05) whose bubble was burst on the Knavesmire last time when only third in the Lowther Stakes over a, seemingly, inadequate six furlongs. Roger Charlton’s daughter of Frankel looked to be crying out for a step up in trip on that occasion and the selection remains 6/1 favourite at BetVictor for the 1000 Guineas next spring.
The filly was so impressive when winning the Princess Margaret on her penultimate start that she must be given another chance and she is reported to have worked well at Beckhampton since York. The filly is 8/13 at BetVictor to get back to winning ways and is hard to oppose although she makes little appeal as a betting medium at that price.
The listed Harvest Stakes has been won by the classic generation nine times in the last decade including last year’s winner Journey who carries a 5lbs penalty for her Haydock win back in May. The filly has a poor draw in stall 12, might need a bit of cut and is reluctantly overlooked.
The lightly-raced Beautiful Morning (2.30) has only had four career starts and has not been seen since finishing runner up in a similar contest for three-year-olds over 10f at Newbury back in May. The selection looked to be crying out for today’s 12f trip on that occasion and Luca Cumani looks sure to have this well-bred filly primed following a 4-month absence.
I’m convinced Via Serendipity (4.50) is better than he showed at Yarmouth last time although I just wonder whether he would be better dropping back a furlong having travelled supremely well in both starts over 7f. It will take a good newcomer to lower his colours and the main danger is likely to be Century Dream of Simon Crisford’s although that once-raced colt looks sure to appreciate another furlong sooner rather than later.
Roger Varian’s Barsanti continues to climb the ranks and has won four of his last six starts including a valuable handicap under top-weight at York last time. He must go close but opposing the stable’s Mount Logan was a wise move earlier in the week and I hope Dal Harrald (5.25) can maintain his own progression and make the transition from handicapper to listed company in his stride.
The selection is a personal favourite from the red-hot yard of William Haggas; connections believe he will make a better four-year-old but he is an exciting colt who can give his older rivals plenty to think about.
Cote D’Azur (5.55) will surely make the cut for the Cambridgeshire next season, but will have to make do with the consolation (Silver Cambridgeshire) this afternoon. The 3-year-old looked to bump into one at Chester last time and is the each-way recommendation in this 21-runner cavalry charge.
At Worcester Boss In Boots finished runner up under Richard Johnson from a 7lbs higher mark last September and a market move for Tim Vaughan’s charge would be worth noting.
It would be fair to say that former Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Thomas hasn’t exactly taken the training ranks by storm but his Enjoy Responsibly (2.55) is very well handicapped on his old Irish form and looked to be coming back to his very best when second at Stratford last time.
Chap (4.40) disappointed in both starts for Dan Skelton last season but has been given a long break to acclimatise and is surely better than he has shown to date having been so visually impressive when scoring in his point and bumper for his previous yard.
The handicapper has taken a chance raising Sandgate (5.50) just 5lbs for his recent Southwell success where the application of both first-time blinkers and a tongue tie worked the oracle for Neil Mulholland.