Catching Pigeons: Get on Von
Our column has the news from the major training centres and hopes are high for Charlie Hills to send out an HQ winner.
Charlie Hills: Fancies his chances in the maiden at HQ.
Despite the absence of Sacred Act from the Betfred Cambridgeshire, a horse on whose chances John Gosden was notably sweet and must be worth following if he turns up in the closing weeks of the season, Newmarket still has at least three very good chances of winning the race.
Ed Vaughan's outsider Interconnection is too big a price and victory in a major historic handicap would be welcomed by all in the town for one of Newmarket's most likeable trainers.
The booking of Josie Gordon makes sense and the rising star apprentice is working hard to build her contacts in the town – she is now regularly riding work for Hugo Palmer and Sir Michael Stoute, among others.
On the subject of jockeys, a little bit of musical chairs saw Ryan Moore initially set to team up with Bravo Zolo for Jeremy Noseda and then seemingly abandon him to ride top-weight GM Hopkins. Both look to have very decent chances but Moore is two-from-two on GM Hopkins and his decision to take the ride again carries enough weight to just make him the selection.
The ex-champ was on board when GM H won the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last season and Gosden is reported to have this consistent five-year-old in prime form in his bid to substitute for Sacred Act, who was found sore at evening stables on Wednesday.
Gosden has a much more obvious chance of winning the seven-furlong handicap that wraps up the day, the Racing UK HD Handicap, with Von Blucher.
The trainer had high hopes for this Zoffany colt at the start of the season and the fact that he has only managed to get his head in front once must be a source of minor irritation.
But a stiff seven furlongs is probably his trip, rather than a mile, and he should be coming home strongly under Frankie Dettori here.
It hasn't been the best season at all times for Charlie Hills but Neshmaya is well regarded by the stable and he should take plenty of beating in the newmarketracecourses.co.uk Maiden Fillies' Stakes – early quotes of 4/1 on Friday morning were eagerly lapped up by the yard's loyal followers.
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By Lawman out of the useful mare High Heeled, she has been showing plenty of class in her recent work on the Faringdon Road gallops and should prove too sharp for the locally-trained newcomers Meshaykh and Blue Illusion.
Blue Point dominates the market for the Group One Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, and understandably so given that he has a very tall reputation at Godolphin, but there are also big-priced possibles among the opposition and old rival Mokarris from Simon Crisford's team could represent some value.
An impressive winner of a run-of-the-mill maiden on his debut at Haydock, he justified plenty of confidence when landing a Listed event at Newbury in July, and went on to chase home Blue Point in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York's August meeting on his latest start.
Withdrawn when again strongly fancied for the Mill Reef at Newbury a week ago after the heavy rain, connections have little option but to take on Blue Point again here, but are very hopeful of a big run because his work seems to suggests he has improved since his trip to the Knavesmire.
Lady Aurelia will be the other Group One banker for many at Newmarket on Saturday when she lines up in the Cheveley Park Stakes and the doubts over her concern her ability to handle the undulations of the Rowley Mile. However, she has worked twice on the track under Frankie Dettori in the last couple of weeks and both times skipped through the Dip, impressing onlookers. Decent ground will be ideal, she looks ferociously well at present and she should simply be too good for her rivals.
Sir Michael Stoute's Blushing Rose failed to justify favouritism in the dead ground at Newbury after pulling too hard, but looks worth another chance despite some tough opposition in the British Stallion Studs Jersey Fillies Nursery.
Takatu, a stablemate of Neshmeya, is back in good form and is fancied to atone for a slightly below-par effort at Ascot last time in the Erre Inox For Stainless Wire Handicap at Haydock.
The defeat was the only blot on a fine summer season for the three-year-old, who followed a debut win at Thirsk with handicap successes at Yarmouth and Salisbury. He was not beaten far at the Berkshire course despite running a bit flat, and remains on a workable mark.
Best bet at Ripon could be David Barron's Spruce Lodge in the Hudson Foster Maiden Stakes. There was plenty to like about his debut effort after a slow start when sixth over five furlongs at Beverley 10 days ago and the performance gave every indication he will be much more effective over this extra furlong. He's one the trainer thinks a bit of.
Crisford's Flower Of Love looks the banker on the Chester card, but may not be much of a price, while it's also worth giving a good mention to Corinthian up at the north west venue for Roger Varian.
Andrea Atzeni has been under the weather with the flu for the last couple of days, but partnered this horse in a final piece of work for Varian and the application of blinkers is expected to help focus his concentration – something that hasn't always been the case either at home or on the racecourse.
Fox Appeal can give Emma Lavelle an encouraging start ahead of the resumption of the jumps season proper when he lines up in the £50,000-added 188bet Prelude Handicap Chase at Market Rasen.
The nine year old is a proven performer in races at this high level, and has fallen in the ratings after his trainer's very disappointing 2015-2016 campaign. However, he showed on his last outing of the campaign that he was still a force and he has shown in the past that he comes readily to hand for his first outing of the season. A move of yard has seen an upturn in form this summer for a couple of similar types under Lavelle's care.
Cloonacool may be able to repeat his 2015 success in the 188bet.co.uk Prelude Handicap Hurdle. Stuart Edmunds' charge is just 3lb higher than 12 months ago and followed that success with a very good fifth off only a 1lb higher mark in a hot handicap won by Nabucco at Ascot. Provided a spell over fences has not blunted his speed, he should give recent course-and-distance winner Red Tornado something to think about.
Malcolm Jefferson loves to have winners at Market Rasen and he should land the bumper with Captain Sam. He seemed to throw a winning opportunity away after running green on his debut at Doncaster on his only start 10 months ago, but he was only beaten a nose by Jam Session and he has gone on to win a maiden on the Flat and finished placed in a decent conditions event at Deauville. Captain Sam can only improve from that experience, and this does not look a particularly tough bumper.
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