Sacred Moments

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While Saturday sees the hosting of the signature race of Newmarket's three-day Cambridgeshire meeting, the card is mostly about the 2-year-olds with the venue staging its pair of six-furlong jewels in the G1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park S. and G1 Juddmonte Middle Park S. In the former, Ger Lyons will be hoping that his stable's current purple patch can continue with the sponsors' unbeaten Sacred Bridge (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) who looked to be moving still upwards in the G3 Round Tower S. at The Curragh Aug. 27. That form has taken a couple of knocks subsequently, so she will need to raise her game again to justify her current cramped odds but as a full-sister to Viadera (GB) she is about more than just precocity.

“I wouldn't change her for anything,” Lyons said ahead of the race that launched him onto a bigger stage via the exploits of Lightening Pearl (Ire) (Marju {Ire}) in 2011. “What other trainers are doing is their business and my job is to get this filly there on Saturday in good health and if she rocks up and does what she has been doing all summer then happy days. This is her sternest test, she's stepping into the big leagues now in Group 1 level and invariably they fail and that's not to be negative. In the Round Tower, I thought the way she did it in group company was visually spectacular and it was also fast ground, which I think is the key to her. She hasn't let me down yet. After the Round Tower, I don't think she's out of her depth.”

Primed to prolong Kirsten Rausing and Andrew Balding's season of seasons is Sandrine (GB) (Bobby's Kitten), whose G3 Albany S. win at Royal Ascot June 18 received a boost on Friday with the performances of Hello You (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Oscula (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) in the G2 Rockfel S. She again had that pair behind when denying Desert Dreamer (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) in the July 9 G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. on this surface at the July festival before going down by a length to Zain Claudette (Ire) (No Nay Never) in York's G2 Lowther S. Aug. 19. Racing under a penalty there and giving away valuable ground at the start, the homebred comes into the rematch with confidence behind her. “She's done nothing wrong this year,” Balding commented. “It was probably too quick a test and the draw didn't work out as we'd have wanted at York. She doesn't have to carry a penalty in this and she seems in good form, so we're hoping she'll run well.”

Zain Claudette, who also nosed out Desert Dreamer in the G3 Princess Margaret Keeneland S. at Ascot July 24 prior to the Lowther, will be bidding to provide trainer Ismail Mohammed with a red-letter day and he said, “She has very good recovery and she is handling everything so well. It's the same fillies, it's only the Irish fillies that she hasn't beaten. In the end, we will see if she is the champion or not, but from my side I feel she is already a champion.”

Westerberg, Coolmore and Merribelle Stables's 'TDN Rising Star' Tenebrism (Caravaggio) has a tall task attempting to overcome a 181-day absence since her visually stunning debut success at Naas Mar. 28, but as the sole Ballydoyle representative warrants respect. “Obviously, things haven't been straightforward for her since then,” Ryan Moore said. “However, she's been doing things nicely at home and I'd be hopeful she'd run well but I do think it's a very strong Cheveley Park.” Another 'TDN Rising Star' Flotus (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) relished the switch to front-running tactics when winning the Aug. 30 Listed Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy and she is right in the mix on that form.

In the Middle Park, Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum's June 17 G2 Norfolk S. and Aug. 22 G1 Prix Morny hero Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) looks poised to continue his momentum with the stiff six certain to play to his strengths. Trainer Richard Fahey is confident. “Whatever beats him wins,” he said. “He's pretty smart and has a great mind. He does everything right at home and is easy to train. He goes fast easily which makes my job very easy in turn. I've got every piece of work into him that I needed to and feel he's still progressing. Like all the other good ones I've had, he's very straightforward.”

Perfect Power, who handled this good-to-firm ground when powering home at Royal Ascot and good-to-soft in the Morny at Deauville, may have one achilles heel according to his trainer. “My one concern for Saturday is the draw, I hate being in stall one on the straight course at Newmarket, it limits your options and things can happen away from you,” Fahey explained. “I just hope we're in the right place, because we have the right horse if we are.”

Peter Brant's 'TDN Rising Star' Dr Zempf (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) had his June 26 G2 Railway S. conqueror Go Bears Go (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}) and the May 22 G3 Marble Hill S. winner Castle Star (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) behind when second to Ebro River (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) in the G1 Phoenix S. at The Curragh Aug. 8. Judged by the way Ebro River performed in the G1 National S., that may be strongest piece of six-furlong juvenile form to date and the Ger Lyons trainee looks to have abundant improvement as a strong stayer at the trip.

“His work has always been impressive, but we've always trained him with next year in mind,” Lyons said. “I'm happy going into the Middle Park–I'm not saying he'll win it, but he'll be competitive. He's always showed quality. I would much rather be going over seven furlongs with him, but we are erring on the side of weakness at the moment. Colin [Keane] has always said 'stick to six with him for the moment'. I think it is the six furlongs that has been getting him beat up to now. Colin said he would reverse the form of the Railway S. and he was right, but then we bumped into one in the Phoenix. The Dewhurst is not out of the question. We'll see what happens on Saturday–he's had a light season and I can't wait to see him over seven.”

Go Bears Go, who was also second in the Norfolk before his Railway win and Phoenix third, is looking to bring up a notable double for Amo Racing and David Loughnane following the success of the combination's Hello You (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) in Friday's G2 Rockfel S. “He's not let us down yet, so it's all systems go,” Loughnane commented. “He was my first runner in a Group 1 in the Phoenix when he was third and he's my only one. The winner franked the form in the National S., so we'll be going confident that he's a Group 1 horse. He seems in a great place. We gave him a little break for a freshen-up after the Phoenix and I couldn't be happier with him at the moment.”

From Ballydoyle is Smith, Magnier, Tabor, Westerberg and Sikura's progressive HMS Endeavour (War Front), who has fast ground in his favour in a race his trainer has won with 25-1 and 10-1 shots in the last 10 years. Considering the depth of experience in pattern-race company that his rivals boast here, the son of Lady Eli (Divine Park) has to progress markedly on his latest success in a five-furlong conditions race on Dundalk's Polytrack Sept. 17. “This looks a very competitive race,” jockey Ryan Moore admitted. “HMS Endeavour has been progressing with each start, but this is a step up in class and he'll have to improve to be in the mix here.”

On a card where only the Cambridgeshire and the closing handicap are not for juveniles, Classic clues are in abundance with the G2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge S. seeing Mick and Janice Mariscotti's Masekela (Ire) (El Kabeir) tackle Godolphin's July Course debut winner Coroebus (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Aug. 18 G3 Acomb S. scorer Royal Patronage (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}). Beaten a short head by Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) in the G2 Superlative S. at the July festival July 10, Masekela has since denied Bayside Boy (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) in the Listed Washington Singer S. also over seven furlongs at Newbury Aug. 14 and both pieces of form have been subsequently boosted.

Oisin Murphy's enthusiasm for the Kingsclere runner was obvious on Friday. “Masekela is the one I'm looking forward to most this weekend in the Royal Lodge,” he said. “I've loved him since the first time I saw him and although he's a horse for next year, hopefully we can get one more run out of him as a 2-year-old. All the signs have been good at home, if anything he's got quite lazy, but a mile will suit him well. Royal Patronage brings strong form into the race, he'll probably go forward again and hopefully Masekela can follow them along and show them how good he is.”

Having a line on Masekela through Native Trail, Charlie Appleby is happy to pitch in Coroebus, whose Aug. 13 win over this trip has also been boosted. “Coroebus won his maiden in a raw style, but did it well and has come on for the run,” he said. “We have been pleased with him going into this and feel that he is ready to test himself in pattern company.”

Royal Patronage looks certain to improve for an extra furlong following his dominating York success from the front and Harry Herbert said, “He was impressive last time at York, I don't think there was any fluke about that and he's now put together two very good performances. He's improving rapidly, so we're hopeful that he'll give everyone a big shout on Saturday. If he's come on the same amount as he has been showing in all of his races then you'd have to hope he'd be right up the sharp end–we love the horse and it's great to hear he has been working impressively.”

In between the Cheveley Park and the Middle Park, The Curragh stages the G2 Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford S. where the Westerberg-Coolmore-Ballydoyle alliance is represented by the July 14 Killarney conditions winner Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). He beat the re-opposing Tuwaiq (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}) in convincing fashion there and that rival has since added substance to the form by finishing runner-up in the Listed Churchill S. at Tipperary Aug. 6, while Joseph O'Brien saddles the five-length Galway maiden scorer Swan Bay (Ire) (Australia {GB}) for the Lloyd J Williams Syndicate and said, “He's a horse that we always hoped would be stakes class and we are looking forward to seeing how he fits into this company.”

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