Alex Hammond: Follow the Rules
Alex Hammond previews all of the feature action at Newmarket on Friday and Saturday and expects William Haggas to win the big betting heat.
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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 for each-way 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 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.
2 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 look harshly handicapped. One point to bear in mind, he does like some ease in the ground and it could dry out by race time.
3 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.
4 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 in Group company last time out.
5 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 is the final horse on my shortlist. Stuart Williams is a trainer we always call 'shrewd', so as a result his horses are always respected. His team are running nicely and this fellow has been going well of late. 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.
Saturday kicks off with the Group Two 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 QIPCO Guineas and 25s for the Investec 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 One 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 defeat came when second to No Nay Never in the Prix Morny (the form could be boosted by the 3rd 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. The trainer confirmed she would be staying on at Warren Place next season earlier this week and a Group One win here - and the famous flag flying high at the yard - would be something special.
The flag has always been raised after top flight wins and after a tough year no one would begrudge her 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 One 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. She was 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.