Catching Pigeons: Feeling Blue
Our Catching Pigeons column has all the gossip and whispers ahead of the weekend's action.
Blue Point: Worth chancing in the Dewhurst
Irish hope Churchill may be the ante-post Guineas and Derby favourite, but he looks a poor price to win the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, the highlight of Newmarket's Future Champions Festival, with plenty to like about the chances of some of the local team.
There are plenty within John Gosden's yard that really fancy Seven Heavens, despite the bare form of his achievements on the track thus far, amounting to relatively little.
However, the vote goes to Godolphin's Blue Point, who was turned away by The Last Lion in the Middle Park, but whose price has become more appealing now as a result with his bubble looking a little limp, if not entirely burst.
Both Godolphin yards were experiencing something of a lull in fortunes in August, but the pace has been picked up in recent weeks and you can expect a hatful of winners to come in the famous royal blue silks in the weeks ahead (as so often seems to be the case these days).
It could just be that Blue Point was a gallop short that day in the Middle Park as he came there travelling better anything a furlong out but couldn't quite get past inside the final strides. Yes, the move up to seven furlongs poses a different question here but provided the ground doesn't get any worse than good, he seems a more tractable horse than was the case earlier in the season and might even improve for the extra distance.
He produced an exceptional piece of work on the Trial Ground earlier this week, delighting watching connections, and must be worth another chance.
We'll take two bites of the cherry in the Betfred Cesarewitch with Sweet Selection and The Cashel Man.
Hughie Morrison held out great hopes for the four year old Sweet Selection last season, but she was unable to deliver through immaturity.
However, his patience has been rewarded this term with three wins in a relatively light campaign and good efforts at both the York Ebor Festival meeting and at Group Two level at Doncaster last time out.
She renews rivalry here with the favourite for this race, St Michel, and given the fact she finished less than six lengths adrift of her Newmarket rival at Doncaster, she looks well weighted to overturn the form on 9lb better terms.
The Cashel Man could prove the pick of the local team, having run a really solid race when second to a well-handicapped Godolphin horse in the 'Trial' here over course and distance.
He has proved a bit of a quirky customer on occasions this season, but blinkers straightened him out – literally as well as metaphorically – last time, and David Simcock believes that if ridden a little handier, he is capable of being right on the premises in a contest like this. He will certainly still be plodding on when others have cried enough.
Spring Fling merits serious consideration in the Visionsport.com EBF Stallions Boadicea Fillies' Stakes that opens the Newmarket card.
There was quiet confidence behind Henry Candy's filly at Haydock last month after some bright homework with the stable's star sprinters, and she duly delivered in what looked a competitive handicap. This looks a slightly stiffer task, but she will be sharper for what was her first run after a summer break.
At a huge price, Redicean could reward a speculative interest in the Listed Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes. There was a good message for Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt ahead of his second start at Wolverhampton, but he failed to find a sufficient finishing kick over the seven furlongs to cope with the very well-backed winner Quinteo.
There were plenty of long faces after that defeat, but connections have clearly not lost faith, given the fact that he now tackles listed company for his first appearance on the turf. Plenty of improvement is anticipated for the switch, but an even bigger aid to his cause may be the step up to a mile and a quarter.
Chapple-Hyam also has a nice colt to look out for next week in Medalla De Oro, who holds entries at Yarmouth and Nottingham. He surely won't be fully wound up but has plenty to offer in the long term.
Sir Dancealot can see off the fancied Perfect Angel in the Listed Coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes at York. A winner twice on the all-weather at Kempton, he ran a sound race on his return to the turf in a hot juvenile event at the Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting.
Although he came out worst in a three-way photo, he looked likely to win until faltering in the closing stages. The step back from seven to six should suit judged on that performance, as should this relatively flat track and David Elsworth has never made any secret of the fact that he really likes this horse.
The jumps season really warms up with an appeaing two-day programme at Chepstow this weekend and Philip Hobbs has sound prospects with Braavos in Saturday's feature handicap, the Tote Silver Trophy.
The five year old improved steadily over hurdles last season and despite being a son of Presenting, won the deep ground at Exeter during the winter. The prevailing good ground here should suit him better however, and the Hobbs team have high hopes he can improve on last season's form in the weeks and months ahead. He is reported in very good form for this return from a five-month break, and he is at the right end of the handicap in what looks a competitive renewal of this popular early autumn event.
Charlie Longsdon has been making hay in recent months in his usual style before the superstar stables really get going, and he should go close with Our Kaempfer in the totequadpot Novices' Chase. This looks the best novice run so far this autumn, but Our Kaempfer has always been well regarded and underlined his talent with a very good fifth when well fancied in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham in March. He looks the sort to do well over the larger obstacles and he will be well suited by the good ground.
Vieux Lille, a stablemate of Braavos, looks the sort to do well over fences after a sound campaign over timber last term and he should give Arpege D'Alene plenty to think about in the totepoolliveinfo.com Novices' Chase at Chepstow on Sunday.
Red Spinner showed plenty of promise for the future in his debut campaign over fences last season and expect a good run from Kim Bailey's gelding off a light weight in an ultra-competitive John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase. Aidan Coleman takes the ride on this likeable gelding, and whatever he achieves here, he will improve upon as the first half of the season proper progresses.
Back to the Flat and despite the season fast drawing to a close, Newmarket's training grounds have been as frantic as ever this week with trainers desperate to get one more back-end run into their team.
John Gosden, in particular, has an astonishing army of potential runners next week in maidens – just look at Nottingham's card on Wednesday to see the depth of his team.
One of his representatives definitely worth looking out for is Crazy Horse, unsighted on the track since an ordinary run in the French Guineas at Deauville. He shaped very nicely on the Round Gallop with some smart companions this week and Frankie Dettori has already been asked to ride him at Salisbury next Monday.
Also coming on nicely still is Jack Hobbs, who seems fully recovered of his ailments ahead of his planned return at Ascot next Saturday.
Other names to note for Monday's action include Jeremy Noseda's Firefright, who looked capable of breaking his duck whether turning up at Windsor or Yarmouth after a nice spin along the Al Bahathri this week.
Cat Silver hasn't lived up to expectations in three starts so far, but keeps working like a good horse and he could strike at Yarmouth under Ryan Moore after another nice piece of work this week.
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