Newmarket: “He Goes In There With A Favourite's Chance.” Vandeek To Star On Super Saturday?

Vandeek | Goodwood Racecourse


   Saturday's action features four Group 1s and four Group 2s across Newmarket and ParisLongchamp, with all ages and distances covered from the six furlongs of the G1 Juddmonte Middle Park S. and G1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park S. to the two and a half miles of the G1 Qatar Prix du Cadran. It is the former pair of prizes that take centre stage, with so much at stake for the precocious stars of their generation. The onus is very much on KHK Racing's G1 Prix Morny winner Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) in the Middle Park given the manner of his success in that Deauville feature, having taken the G2 Richmond S. en route.

Since 2012, five winners of the Morny have followed up here including three of the last four in Blackbeard (Ire) (No Nay Never), Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) and Earthlight (Ire) (Shamardal), so the Crisfords' leading light has history on his side. Ed Crisford is keen to see if he can become the latest to do the tough double.

“It's a good field, as you'd expect for a race of this stature, but I'd say he goes in there with a favourite's chance,” he said. “It will be the first time he's encountered ground this fast, but he's a nice-moving colt by Havana Grey so that shouldn't be a problem.”

   Third in the Morny after his well-documented training troubles, Ballydoyle's TDN Rising Star River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) is the obvious thorn in Vandeek's side now that he has a clear preparation for this highlight. He had a host of smart peers behind including Bucanero Fuerte (GB) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) in Royal Ascot's G2 Coventry S. on ground similar to the unseasonably fast conditions he encounters here and Ryan Moore is happy to tackle Vandeek again and another quintet of group winners including the G2 July S. hero Jasour (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) from the always-to-be-feared Clive Cox stable.

“He wasn't at peak fitness [for the Morny] and I thought he shaped very well in the circumstances,” Moore said of River Tiber, who represents the stable successful in three of the last six runnings. “I would expect him to get a lot closer to the winner here and I'd say we had a very fair shot at winning this group one. He's in good shape.”



Relief Rally Poised For Cheveley Park Coronation

Whatever wins Newmarket's Cheveley Park S. will first have to see off Simon Munir and Isaac Souede's Relief Rally (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), whose sole defeat in five starts was as a result of coming out the wrong side of a head-bobber with Crimson Advocate (Nyquist) in the G2 Queen Mary S. at Royal Ascot. Having dealt with every European rival thrown at her so far, including Ballydoyle's Cherry Blossom (Ire) (No Nay Never) in York's G2 Lowther S. last month, the William Haggas trainee has some new contenders to front up to here but the willingness to fight is almost her forte.

Jockey Tom Marquand has faith that she can come through her most important bout to date. “She has taken big steps forward with each of her runs and she was unfortunate not to win at Ascot, but she has shown a high level of form,” he said. “I was really looking forward to riding her over six furlongs at York, as I thought it would suit her so well and she proved us right.”

One of the lesser-known rivals to Relief Rally is Wathnan Racing's Criterium d'Ete scorer Jasna's Secret (Fr) (Galiway {GB}), who saw off the smart yardstick Zorken (Fr) (Goken {Fr}) in that valuable Deauville prize and is entitled to due respect as a result. Whether Carlos and Yann Lerner's bargain €42,000 Arqana Deauville September purchase has the know-how to cope with some hardened opponents remains to be seen, with the G3 Albany S. scorer Porta Fortuna (Ire) (Caravaggio) and the G3 Princess Margaret S. scorer Sacred Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) boasting the touch of class necessary to win one of these.


Capulet Heads Strong Royal Lodge Cast

Newmarket's G2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge S. is one of the day's more intriguing contests, with Ballydoyle's G2 Champions Juvenile S. runner-up Capulet (Justify) taking on Godolphin's G3 Solario S. winner Aablan (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah's Listed Ascendant S. scorer Al Musmak (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}). Another in the mix for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf qualifier is Jeff Smith's unbeaten Ghostwriter (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), the recent winner of a seven-furlong Ascot novice from which the impressive subsequent winner Military Artist (Munnings) emerged.

Ryan Moore said of Capulet, “He did it nicely on his debut at Dundalk last month and he obviously improved a good deal when running Diego Velazquez to half a length at Leopardstown last time. That form looked strong at the time and it looks even better now with the well-beaten fourth, Deepone, coming out and winning the Beresford next time. All of these have the potential to take a big step forward, most notably Ghostwriter maybe, but he deserves to be the favourite as it stands as the Leopardstown form is the best on offer going into the race.”

Clive Cox said of Ghostwriter, “His first success at Newmarket on the July course, and the way he was balanced and produced a winning debut, gives me confidence he will handle the track. He followed that up with a really impressive success at Ascot and showed a lot of class. He has thrived throughout, he is a wonderful physical, big, strong colt and I'm looking forward to seeing him step up to a mile. He is very deserving of running in this sort of grade. He's a horse we have always loved and he definitely sets the pulse racing.”


Trueshan Looks For Second Cadran

At ParisLongchamp, the Cadran sees Alan King's star stayer Trueshan (Fr) (Planteur {Ire}) bid to double his tally in the prestige marathon having mastered Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in style on easy ground two years ago. Back with a bang after a second wind operation in the G2 Doncaster Cup earlier this month, he has no genuine staying star of that calibre to contend with in a disappointing turnout but he does have Ballydoyle's ever-reliable Emily Dickinson (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). While the ground is not as easy as she would like it, neither is it for Trueshan and a repeat of the form of her latest second in the G1 Goodwood Cup would be good enough should the veteran giant deliver one of his deflating efforts.

Aidan O'Brien said of her, “We think the trip will suit her and any ease in the ground will suit her as well. If the ground had come up soft or heavy, we probably would have had a good, strong think about the Arc, but we thought over the Cadran trip she would be more comfortable. She does stay very well and she seems in good form. When she ran in the Gold Cup she ran very well even though the ground was quick–she didn't have any problems with it.”



All To Play For In Open Royallieu

There is no stand-out in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu and it is fair to say that there have been better editions of the 14-furlong contest since it was elevated to top-level status in 2019. They have included an Oaks heroine in Anapurna (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and the top-class Wonderful Tonight (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), but this is a line-up of wannabes at present headed on the formbook by Wathnan Racing's G2 Prix de Pomone winner and G1 Prix Vermeille runner-up Melo Melo (GB) (Gleneagles {Ire}). Most of her rivals have had plenty of chances at a lesser level and missed the target, so perhaps The Aga Khan's progressive G3 Stanerra S. and G3 Irish St Leger Trial S. winner Shamida (Ire) (Australia {GB}) could be the answer or the Arbibs' G2 Lillie Langtry S. and G2 Park Hill S. scorer Sumo Sam (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) if she can transfer her soft-ground dominance to this livelier surface.


Big Things On The Horizon?

ParisLongchamp's trio of Group 2 races see Moyglare Stud's exciting Harbour Wind (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}) look to enhance his reputation in the staying category in the Qatar Prix Chaudenay; Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum's G3 Sovereign S. dead-heater Embesto (GB) (Roaring Lion) act as one of the more promising types lining up for the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein; and one of the day's more exciting runners in Horizon Dore (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) look to boss the Qatar Prix Dollar.

Horizon Dore, who has flaunted his wares in the G2 Prix Eugene Adam and G3 Prix du Prince d'Orange, is one of the more lively outsiders at present for next month's G1 Champion S. and he sports the Gousserie silks already renowned at that Ascot fixture. Compatriots Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr) (Even Top {Ire}) and Skalleti (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) and also the British raider Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}) have taken this en route to making a major play at the Champion and so Saturday's closing act of ParisLongchamp's pattern-race bonanza takes on extra weight.


Sunday's Supporting Group 1s Confirmed

Friday saw ParisLongchamp's five other Arc-supporting Group 1 contests finalised, with the opening two being the big juvenile prizes. The Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere features Philippe Allaire and Haras d'Etreham's unbeaten G3 Prix la Rochette-winning TDN Rising Star Beauvatier (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), while the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac includes Newtown Anner Stud Farm's impressive G2 May Hill S. and G3 Prestige S. winner Darnation (Ire) (Too Darn Hot {GB}) and Haras d'Etreham and Craig Bernick's G2 Prix du Calvados-winning  TDN Rising Star Les Pavots (Ire) (No Nay Never).

In the Prix de l'Opera Longines, Yeguada Centurion SL's G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane heroine Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) takes on 11 rivals, while the 19 due to assemble for the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines include the star sprinting mare Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) and the G1 Qatar Prix de la Foret sees last year's winner Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}) favourably drawn in two bidding to provide Frankie Dettori with the ultimate Paris send-off.


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