I am writing this before Sunday’s showpiece the Arc de Triomphe from Chantilly but I must highlight the quality of the performance by Clemmie in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. The filly was cut to 5/1 from 7s with BetVictor for the 1000 Guineas next spring in the immediate aftermath of the run, but subsequently trimmed again and is now 4/1 favourite for the Newmarket fillies’ classic.
The going is described as heavy for today’s jumps card at Newton Abbot but the course must pass an inspection at 7am to see if racing can go ahead. The highlight is the return of Emerging Talent (2.20) who has been absent since winning three of his last four starts over timber back in the spring of 2016. He has the scope to jump a fence and is taken to get his career back on track for Paul Nicholls.
No problems expected at Stratford where the open ditch will be omitted in all chases due to remedial works. In the opener Gumball (2.00) has been bought privately by Terry Warner after having just the one start in his native France when finishing third of nine at Dieppe. The selection will need to brush up his jumping but will have been well schooled since by Philip Hobbs and champion jockey Richard Johnson rides.
Riverside City is potentially very well treated on the best of his Irish form although he hasn’t won since landing the Troytown Chase back in November 2015 – a market move would be worth noting. The vote, however, goes to Leanna Ban (2.30) who ran a cracker from the front when runner up to an unexposed sort at Kelso last time. Soft ground holds no fears for the 10-year-old although he could have done without the 4lbs rise in the weights.
Only five go to post for the Novices’ Chase but all can be given a realistic chance. Braavos might want better ground but should make up into a decent chaser for the Hobbs yard – marginal preference is for Sam Red (4.00) who represents the very much inform Dan Skelton team. The recommendation won a Navan Maiden Hurdle for Alan Fleming back in March 2015, when ridden by Adrian Heskin, and ran a fine race when runner up at Wetherby behind Ami Debois back in February.
Soft ground also the order of the day at Bath and Haylah (2.10) was too keen for her own good when finishing fifth at Newbury on debut and she travelled as though this slight drop back in trip would suit. Sean Levey take over in the saddle and she can beat the Clive Cox-traine3d filly Fashion Sense who also shaped with considerable promise at Ascot on debut.
Belleverde will have her supporters in the 5f sprint but the nod goes to Her Terms (2.40) who made all to win at Brighton on fast ground last month and, as a daughter of Pivotal, she should not be inconvenienced by today’s underfoot conditions. A 3lbs rise for her Sussex win is fair.
In the ”hands and heels” apprentice race trainer Tony Carroll has been waiting for suitable ground for Evanescent (3.40) and the hope is that his patience will be rewarded. This trip is, arguably, on the sharp side for the eight-year-old, but there is plenty of pace in the race including from Clive Cox’s Peter Park who finished third at Ascot on her belated seasonal reappearance under today’s pilot last month.