Red alert in the Cambridgeshire
Simon Holt previews Saturday's card at Newmarket and fancies Red Avenger in the Cambridgeshire.
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French jockey Gerald Mosse has made a big impression on several visits to these shores this summer and could be on the mark again aboard RED AVENGER in Saturday's hotly-contested Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.
Mosse has several booked mounts on the card (he renews his partnership with Newbury winner Somewhat in the Royal Lodge Stakes) and is a jockey with massive experience of big racing occasions.
Red Avenger fills the criteria as a likely Cambridgeshire winner as this "nine-furlong sprint" (as it is often described) is well suited to a progressive horse with form over a mile and a quarter and the son of War Front has posted some excellent efforts at the distance, winning at Haydock in July and then running second behind the progressive Mark Johnston pair Maputo and Broughton on his next two starts.
A recent fifth of seven at York can, I believe, be safely forgiven as it represented a step up in class but, more importantly, the softish ground conditions would not have suited him.
However, it was significant that trainer Ed Dunlop ran him in that company and unearthing a potential Group horse can be another strong angle with regard to finding the Cambridgeshire winner. The booking of Mosse, now the regular partner of the stable's international star Red Cadeaux, looks a big plus.
In the massive field, there are many potential winners with Bronze Angel, last year's winner (only 6lb higher), and the tough Strictly Silver appealing more than most.
Bronze Angel hasn't raced for nearly a year, but the form of his victory (from Mull Of Killough and Boom And Bust) has worked out well and one assumes trainer Marcus Tregoning will have him ready especially as the son of Dark Angel goes well fresh.
Strictly Silver is a horse I really like. Tough and consistent, he scored over a mile and a quarter on the July course last month but was then less effective on soft ground behind Sam Sharp at York subsequently.
With the weather forecasters reporting that rain is unlikely, Alan Bailey's grey should have his conditions.
In contrast, the lack of rain could well scupper the chances of Top Notch Tonto and Ascription, the two handicap 'good things' in the race who carry just 4lb penalties for improved performances since the entry-closing date.
Both horses are set to race off much higher handicap marks in the future but their trainers are adamant that some cut in the ground is required.
A tremendous day's racing begins with the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes in which the Mosse-ridden Somewhat will have to improve to beat 2000 Guineas and Derby fancy Berkshire who beat him eight lengths into fourth in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
That form looks very strong: Bunker, the runner-up, won a listed race at Deauville next time, third-placed Ihtimal won her next two starts including the May Hill at Doncaster and Somewhat beat subsequent winner Be Ready in the Washington Singer at Newbury.
In the three months-plus since Royal Ascot, much can change in terms of a two-year-old's rate of progression but there is no denying that Berkshire was hugely impressive and trainer Paul Cole reports considerable physical development during his colt's absence from the track. He will, however, start a short price.
Meanwhile, the Group One Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes features an intriguing re-match between Elusive Kate and Sky Lantern who fought out a controversial finish to the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting.
While Elusive Kate's rider William Buick was criticised in some quarters for allowing his mount to carry Sky Lantern across the course that day, it was his controlling tactics whereby he set a steady pace and then got first run on his rival which was probably more significant.
Neither filly shone on their latest starts; Elusive Kate could finish only seventh behind Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Jacques le Marois while Sky Lantern looked edgy before having little luck in running when fifth in a messy Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
I find it difficult to split them but it is perhaps surprising to see Sky Lantern so favoured over her old rival in the betting.
Finally, the Group One Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes has been weakened by the defections of Lucky Kristale (scoped badly) and Rizeena (at the time of writing scheduled to run in Friday's Fillies' Mile).
Kiyoshi, a fluent winner of the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot (Joyeuse third), looks the best home contender after her subsequent defeat by Rizeena in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh.
But the Charles Hills-trained filly hung badly right on both occasions (and was disqualified from second place in Ireland) and that has to be a worry on the open-spaced Rowley Mile course.
Rizeena had previously finished just behind the French challenger VORDA when third to No Nay Never in the Prix Morny at Deauville.
That was Vorda's first defeat - beaten by a really imposing American-trained two-year-old - and stable confidence, the booking of Olivier Peslier and her slight form edge swing me in her direction.