Alex Hammond racing blog featuring tips for the Ayr Gold Cup, Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch

Last Updated September 22 2017, 13:53Racing
Wells Farhh Go (l) denies James Garfield
Wells Farhh Go (l) denies James Garfield

Alex Hammond covers a smorgasbord of topics in her latest blog including a positive word for George Scott's Mill Reef hope James Garfield.

It was a thrilling St Leger but can the winner, Capri, make his mark dropping back to 1m4f in the future?

I caught up with the Leger on my laptop in my caravan on my hols on the Sussex coast on Saturday evening. Whilst I was disappointed that my tip Crystal Ocean didn’t quite stay the mile and three quarter trip to win, but finished a gallant second, I begrudgingly admitted that Capri was a decent winner of the classic, despite him not paying for my seaside fish and chip supper!

He has a great attitude and has the results to back that up. Capri may well make his mark back over 12 furlongs in future, he’s already won an Irish Derby at the trip, but I don’t think he will against an improving Crystal Ocean; or Cracksman come to think of it.

Capri digs deep to repel Crystal Ocean (left) and Stradivarius (right)
Capri digs deep to repel Crystal Ocean (left) and Stradivarius (right)

Sir Michael Stoute has taken the patient route with the Leger runner-up and there’s no doubt, accidents aside, that it will pay off going forward. Crystal Ocean swerved the big dances until last Saturday's race with his trainer preferring to go slightly lower key with his son of Sea The Stars. He holds an entry in the Arc, but won't run again this year and is an exciting middle distance Group One campaigner for next season.

News emerged over the weekend that Ulysses is Arc-bound, can he lay it down to Enable at Chantilly?

Of course, Sir Michael doesn't need Crystal Ocean in the Arc, he has Ulysses. Already with that extra year under his belt and all the better for it. He couldn't go with Enable at Ascot in the King George though and despite his progression, I would expect the story to be the same at Chantilly.

As a three-year-old filly she gets the weight allowances that favour her generation and sex and given luck and a following wind, will be hard to beat.

Click on the image below to check out Sky Bet's latest Arc betting...

There's a kiss for Enable from Frankie Dettori as John Gosden looks on
There's a kiss for Enable from Frankie Dettori as John Gosden looks on

While we’re talking ante-post, here’s your chance to knock a big priced Autumn Double out of the park with your long-range fancies for the Cambridgeshire and the Cesarewitch…

You don’t want much do you?! Oh my days, well, at the moment I'm going to go with Chelsea Lad in next weekend’s Cambridgeshire.

He’s currently 16/1 with Sky Bet for the first leg of the Autumn double and providing he can put a moderate run behind him last time out, has some decent form which should see him figure in this tricky handicap. I'm definitely up for forgiving him his latest effort at York as it was his first outing for almost two months and his first run since being gelded.

He wasn’t beaten far when second to subsequent Sussex Stakes winner Here Comes When at York in May and seems to handle ground on the fast or easy side of good. He has clearly had physical issues as he pulled up lame in the spring, but hopefully they are behind him now. Trainer Martyn Meade is having a successful season with some smart horses, notably Eminent, and his stable continues to send out winners at a decent strike rate. He’ll do at this stage.

So let’s try for that Autumn double. The Cesarewitch takes place in the middle of October so plenty can happen (go wrong) before then.

The horse that takes my eye is Magic Circle for Ralph Beckett. He had a lucrative York last month, winning a two mile handicap on the Wednesday before running another cracking race to finish fifth in the Ebor on the Saturday.

He is only 1lb higher than he was in the Ebor and the break since then should have freshened him up. Looking a bit further back and he ran another sound race in the Chester Cup and he deserves to win a biggie at some point. He’s currently 14s with Sky Bet. So what price the double, boys?

Click on the image below for Alex Hammond's Autumn Double odds - Chelsea Lad and Magic Circle both to win at 320/1! Both to place (four places) is 22/1...

Magic Circle
Magic Circle

Reining it back slightly to this weekend, a crucial part of the season for juveniles kicks off with the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. What do you fancy?

James Garfield looked like he would appreciate this drop back to six furlongs when just getting chinned on the line in the Acomb at York last month over seven and he also looked to be fading towards the finish over the same trip at Goodwood the time before that.

He still has it to prove, but is one to keep on the right side of dropping back. He’s a lovely horse for George Scott to advertise his training skills with and should go on to better things. It would also be a good start to married life if he could win this Group Two for his new father-in-law Bill Gredley!

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