The Duke’s Weekend Preview

This weekend is packed full of quality. We’ll turn to Europe’s richest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in a separate preview.

Before Sunday’s stellar contest, there are some high quality races at Newmarket that are well worth watching. Let’s start with some of the Group 1 races on the card there.

The Cheveley Park Stakes at 2.20pm has some high quality fillies. Leading Ballydoyle contender Clemmie is a full sister to the excellent Churchill and she is already making waves herself having won the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course on her latest start. She should improve with age, which may not be the case with Threading, who represents Mark Johnston. It’s a bit of a guess but I think Clemmie may have more potential given her pedigree. Different League is shipped over from France for this race, so she is worth considering for each-way backers.

The Middle Park is the boys equivalent race at 2.55pm. Ask yourself this question – why does Aidan O’Brien have four horses in the race?

Remember any other occasions where he has had a few runners in the same contest and an outsider prevailed (eg – The Derby). Keep an eye out. Unfortunately (that’s the name of the horse!) is the one I’d highlight for win purposes outside the Ballydoyle quartet. He won the Prix Morny last time in fine fashion and he has a massive chance.

Also, as a side note on the Newmarket card, Highland Colori jumped off the page at me in the lucky last. He’s totally out of form and as such he’s about 14/1 in the betting, but he’s incredibly well-handicapped on his best form (19lb below the mark he won the 2013 Ayr Gold Cup.)

The Cambridgeshire is the big betting heat on Saturday. Carry On Deryck tops the weights after finishing second in last year’s race. He’s run well enough in a few Group races since, but it may be a tough task off top weight.

Very Talented is perhaps more interesting. If Saeed bin Suroor has managed to get him fit enough after a year off, this colt who was third in the race last year has a big chance.

Fellow Godolphin-owned runner Linguistic wears cheek-pieces for the first time. He is seriously underestimated in the market too for a horse trained by John Gosden who has gone close in Listed races. Big Country is in good form after a close runner-up placing in the John Smith’s Cup at York, while Thundering Blue has obvious claims coming in to the race after a hat-trick of wins. He’s up in the weights but he certainly looked like he had more in the locker at Sandown earlier this month.

Considering there is a field of 35, I’ll have a few picks from that bunch – Very Talented, Linguistic, Big Country and Thundering Blue. Hopefully one of those will hit the target in what is one of the hardest betting races of the season.

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