Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newmarket and York on Saturday. View selections below.
STARCHITECT (4.10) has the profile of a stayer sure to go close in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket, the second leg of the autumn double.
David Pipe’s gelding, running in the familiar Paul and Clare Rooney colours, progressed into a very smart handicap hurdler last season. After running a blinder under an aggressive ride in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, Starchitect wasn’t beaten far when fifth to Superb Story in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Pipe called it a day after Starchitect won twice in May, at Newton Abbot over 2m 5f off a 143 rating, and at Salisbury on fast ground, and has a fresh horse on his hands. Jamie Spencer does the steering and presumably he could have ridden The Cashel Man for Fitri Hay. Hurdlers have a terrific record in the Ces and, despite a dodgy draw, Starchitect should go close.
Ante-post backers of hot favourite St Michel will be cursing their luck after Sir Mark Prescott’s handicap snip drew stall 32, which makes life difficult.
St Michel was last seen running third to Sheikhzaderoad and Quest For More in the Doncaster Cup, with Sweet Selection more than five lengths back in fifth. The assessor has lumped more than a stone on to his handicap mark but that new rating doesn’t kick in until after the Cesarewitch.
Stablemate Sea of Heaven comes out of stall one which could be an awkward spot if he is unable to hold a position. His form claims are solid, having beaten Nakeeta narrowly in the Brown Jack Stakes at Ascot in July on quick ground.
Sweet Selection is another facing a hefty rise after Doncaster and is officially 17lb well in. Hughie Morrison’s filly rattled up a hat-trick of wins on fast/good ground earlier in the season and this stout stayer must go well, despite a tricky draw in stall 23.
A low draw is often a significant advantage and The Minch could hit a place at loud odds.
Feature event is the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, with Aidan O’Brien’s Churchill a warm order to make it five straight wins.
However, one of his least impressive victories came on fast ground at Leopardstown in July when getting home by a neck from Alexios Komnenos and BLUE POINT (3.30) will be no pushover at more attractive odds.
Blue Point had The Last Lion almost five lengths adrift when running out a most impressive Gimcrack winner at York so it was something of surprise to see Mark Johnston’s charge turning that form on its head at HQ last weekend.
There appeared no fluke about the result, with Mehmas back in third, but that run gave Blue Point invaluable experience of the Newmarket terrain.
Churchill put Mehmas in his place when running away with the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh, but that was seven furlongs on yielding ground and Mehmas clearly failed to stay the extra furlong.
Very little separates Rivet and Thunder Snow on their Champagne Stakes form at Doncaster, but of more interest are Andrew Balding’s South Seas and Seven Heavens, the unbeaten son of Frankel trained by John Gosden . Churchill could be the real deal and it’s a fascinating renewal.
There is some terrific action at York, with NORMANDY BARRIERE (3.45) more than a hopeful pick to scoop the Coral Sprint Trophy.
He goes particularly well on fast ground and Lewis Edmunds takes off 7lb from a good draw in stall nine. Normandy Barriere had subsequent Ayr Silver Cup runner-up Get Knotted three lengths behind in third when scoring at Doncaster’s St Leger fixture and is better off at the weights if the apprentice’s allowance is taken into account. Get Knotted would appreciate any rain and if there is juice in the Knavesmire turf he would be well worth a saver.
Stewards’ Cup hero Hoof It ran another belter when third to Brando in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup but could find himself isolated racing on the wing from stall 20.
DAWN MISSILE (4.55) should go close for William Haggas under top weight in the Coral Stayers’ Stakes over two miles.
Essentially something of a disappointment this season, Dawn Missile ran much better at Yarmouth last time, eventually fading into third behind bang-in-form filly Kiltara. Fifth horse Noble Silk has since chased home Life Less Ordinary at Ascot with two of today’s rivals Teak and Wordiness well down the field.
HIBOU (5.30) is well worth the wait in the 1m 2f handicap. Hibou has threatened to win on a couple of occasions since joining Iain Jardine from Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin operation and he threw away a gilt-edged opportunity at Musselburgh when idling after cruising to the front a furlong out.
Exaggerated waiting tactics are the order of the day and they worked a treat at Redcar last time. Hibou goes particularly well on a sound surface and it is easy to envisage him looming up late off a strong gallop.
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