IT’S another massive Saturday of racing with two Group One events, a Group Two, and of course the big betting race of the day in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.
The latter is always an interesting contest, but like last year the draw and pace bias can play a major part in the outcome of this nine-furlong cavalry charge.
There does seem to be plenty of pace right across the track, and to be honest it would be easy to pick half a dozen against the field and still not hit the first four.
Off a handicap mark of 103 it is easy to understand why Uncle Bryn is the relatively short-priced favourite, having at one time been seen as a potential Derby player. Of course he hails from the yard of John Gosden, who is adept at pitching in unexposed three-year-olds in this event.
He did seem to be dossing out in front when accounting for Walhaan at Ascot last time out, but this was no surprise seeing as it was only his fifth career run and there should be an awful lot more left in the locker.
He is drawn in stall 30, which is at least near one side of the racetrack, and he has plenty of natural pace to chase. The same can be said of the equally progressive Anmaat (drawn 22), Fantastic Fox (23) and last year’s winner Majestic Dawn (34).
I couldn’t put you off any of those runners, but I am happy to take a chance on a value selection in the form of NAVAL COMMANDER (nap).
This light weight has been running well all season up to a mile and a quarter. He looked unlucky not to finish closer when not handling the track and hanging into the camber at Epsom when he ended up just one-and-three-quarter lengths off Patient Dream last month.
Set to race off the same mark here with the solid Darragh Keenan on board and from a lovely sit in stall 33, he looks just the each-way job at around the 50/1 mark. As always it is worth searching around all the bookmakers for the best each-way terms and seven places, and some very fair odds of about 66/1 can be found with certain of them.
I also think that Astro King could well be worth a saver if you can get double-figure odds — I have always thought that this contest would prove perfect for the four-year-old son of Kingman. He was just outpaced at a crucial stage over a mile last time out at York in a race hardly run at a hectic pace.
The four-year-old then rallied to get to within a length and a quarter of Cruyff Turn and gets to race off the very same mark here of 102.
Of the two-year-old group events, the Middle Park Stakes (six furlongs) at 3.00 looks by far the most fascinating.
Dr Zempf is very highly regarded by trainer Ger Lyons, but he is quite rightly thought of as more of a 2,000 Guineas hope for next year and could just lack the gears, despite the stiff track at Newmarket, to stay on terms with his speedier rivals.
Favourite PERFECT POWER looks the one to be on despite his price. He was very impressive when bursting through in the closing stages to see off Trident and company in the Prix Morny at Deauville, having raced from too far out of his ground when making late gains to finish fifth in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
The Cheveley Park Stakes (2.25) will see the unbeaten Sacred Bridge go off a short-priced favourite, but there could be some each-way value in the form of VELOCIDAD (nb).
The daughter of Gleneagles won her first two starts at Fairyhouse and then in a Group Two at the Curragh before finishing down the field in the aforementioned Prix Morny when taking on the boys.
However she had to race on the outside of the track that day, seeing way too much daylight, and you could also readily argue that the tacky ground wouldn’t have suited her either. This sounder surface should prove much better for this lovely moving filly, and at about 33/1 she smacks of massive each-way value.
The one-mile Royal Lodge Stakes at 1.50 has the smallest field of the juvenile events with just the seven set to go to post.
Masekela will go off at about the 13/8 mark, after the Godolphin horse well and truly cemented his second to Native Trail last time out in Ireland. This mile looks absolutely spot on for this son of El Kabeir and he will surely take plenty of beating, but the fact that Godolphin are running COROEBUS in a Group Two after winning his sole start in a novice says plenty.
This beautifully bred son of Dubawi has loads of scope and the second to him at Newmarket has since hosed up at Ascot. Reports of his work since that win on August 13 have been very complimentary and he has taken turn over the short-priced favourite.
Away from Newmarket, STRONGBOWE (Chester 2.35) can finally come good for the Easterby clan, while SOPHAR SOGOOD (5.25) should readily outrun his odds in the mile-and-three-quarter handicap due off at 5.25.
Finally, at Ripon, have a second look at GOLDEN APOLLO in the six-furlong handicap at 4.05. He has a cracking chance of reversing the result with Justanotherbottle in the Great St Wilfrid last month, on 7lbs better terms for that length-and-a-half beating.