With Bated Breath
Alex Hammond looks at the weekend racing and expects a good result for Roger Charlton at Haydock.
Last Updated: 13/09/12 1:57pm
There is some top class racing to look forward to this weekend with Group 1 contests in Britain and Ireland.
The domestic feature is Haydock's Sprint Cup, a Group 1 over six furlongs and it has attracted a world-class field.
Ortensia is on a roll and is already taking plenty of prize money back to her native Australia after a successful raid that has seen her win at Goodwood and the Nunthorpe at York a couple of weeks ago.
She's a successful jetsetter having also won the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March. She has been based in Newmarket for the summer, but this will be her last start in Europe and may head to the Breeders' Cup before flying back to Australia.
I really believe that Bated Breath's turn isn't far away. He smashed the five-furlong course record when winning the Temple Stakes here in May (his last win) and he was second to Dream Ahead in this race last year, only just pipped at the post. The ground has finally come in his favour after an unseasonably wet summer and a Group 1 victory is something Roger Charlton's horse deserves.
Charlton also saddles old stager Genki who has run well in this for the past two years, but shouldn't be good enough to win this year and in fact may be retired after this race.
Richard Hannon's Strong Suit is an interesting runner over six furlongs once again. He ran in the Hungerford Stakes last time out and just failed to get up over that seven furlongs. Prior to that he testing ground in the July Cup had blunted his speed, but his trainer is hopeful he can show up well over the trip in this race. If he wins it would be a welcome Group 1 victory in 2012 for the Champion Trainer.
There are also some smart runners making the trip to Haydock from further afield. Wizz Kid travels from France for Robert Collet, Tom Hogan sends Gordon Lord Byron from Ireland and another raider from over the Irish Sea is Wokingham winner Dandy Boy for David Marnane.
Society Rock represents James Fanshawe and can't be ruled out in a wide open contest. The 2011 Diamond Jubilee winner has been in better form at home recently, but I'd be concerned if the ground stays on the quick side of good as he prefers to get his toe in.
It would be a fairytale if Hawkeyethenoo were to win in the hands of Graham Lee who only switched to the flat in May but has been building a serious reputation as a flat jockey since then. A group 1 would cap an already superb season for the popular rider who rode this horse to win the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
Frankie Dettori joins William Buick in a helicopter after this race to head to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes. He rides Soul at Haydock who is another horse that would prefer a bit more ease in underfoot conditions.
I don't feel I can desert Bated Breath having stuck with him on his last couple of starts and so he gets the nod from a good draw in 1.
Old Borough Cup
The Old Borough Cup is a wide open handicap over a mile-and-three-quarters and William Buick will be in the air by the time John Gosden runs Tropical Beat in this competitive handicap.
Nicky Mackay rode the horse to win his maiden and he gets the leg up again. He is a horse that probably takes some knowing and it's handy that his jockey has won on him before albeit not for some time.
Gosbek represents Henry Candy and Dane O'Neill and won over this trip in a small runner field at Nottingham on her last start. This looks harder but she's going the right way and she may have more to come over this trip.
Lyric Street represents Ed Dunlop nowadays having started his career with Luca Cumani. He ran well for Dunlop when going down by four-and-a-quarter lengths to Melbourne Cup antepost favourite Mount Athos in the John Smith's Silver Cup in July.
He can be forgiven his run at the Shergar Cup meeting last time as he didn't get much cover and was too keen over two miles. He has the assistance of the brilliant Richard Hughes in this race and is a horse I like in a wide open race.
Irish Champion Stakes
William Buick could have a memorable weekend as he takes a helicopter from Haydock having ridden Ortensia to ride Nathanial for John Gosden in the Irish Champion Stakes.
What a summer Gosden and Buick have had with wins in numerous top-class races and although Gosden has stressed that the Arc is the number one target for this horse I can't believe he will be far off 100% on Saturday.
If that's the case he will be hard to beat, but there are some smart horses in opposition. Namely the remarkable Snow Fairy who has been brilliantly handled by Ed Dunlop to come back from a serious tendon injury and was a winner against her own sex at Deauville last time out.
She finished second to So You Think in this race last year and should run a good race again particularly if the ground continues to dry out. She will be partnered by Frankie Dettori in this as regular partner Ryan Moore is off with a broken wrist at the moment.
St Nicholas Abbey is a very smart performer, although he was made to look average by Frankel in the Juddmonte International last time out. I would be more interested in him if the race were over a mile-and-a-half rather than a mile-and-a-quarter.
His trainer Aidan O'Brien has an awesome record in this race and he also runs Daddy Long Legs and the field is made up of Born to Sea who has the headgear back on in this race, and Jim Bolger's Light Heavy.
It's King George winner Nathaniel for me who comes here having finished second to Danedream in this year's King George and has been freshened up since then.
Earlier on the card, the Matron Stakes takes place and Emulous is bidding to win the one-mile Group 1 for the second successive year. Sky Bet have her as their 11/4 favourite to repeat the performance for trainer Dermot Weld.
She has to put a disappointing run in the Windsor Forest at Royal Ascot behind her, but having been saved for an Autumn campaign the best should still be yet to come. The ground should be perfect on Saturday, but I hope it doesn't get any faster than good for this filly.
Sir Henry Cecil runs Chachamaidee who is yet to win at this level but has been very consistent just below the highest grade. She is usually fitted with a hood, but she wears blinkers for the first time in this race. Although she has won over a mile, she seems most effect over a furlong shorter and could be vulnerable here unless the headgear helps her home.
Mick Channon sends his filly Laugh Out Loud over for the contest and she is one of six three-year-olds in the race. Guineas third Maybe also represents the classic generation and bids for her first win of 2012.
Duntle is the shortest priced of the 3 year-olds at 7/2 with Sky Bet. David Wachman's filly is a progressive type who comes here having won the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Group 3 Desmond Stakes last time out.
This is a significant step up in class, but she deserves her place in the line-up. It's Emulous for me though, who has been geared up for this race and should be effective on what hopefully will be perfect flat racing ground.
Moyglare Stud Stakes
On Sunday the Moyglare Stud Stakes is the feature at the Curragh and no surprises that Aidan O'Brien has a great record in this seven-furlong Group 1 for juvenile fillies - he has won it on six occasions.
This time round he runs Magical Dream and Snow Queen with the latter looking the first string although she isn't straightforward and needed the cheekpieces and a well-timed ride to win last time out.
Andy Oliver saddles the unbeaten Sendmylovetorose who won for us on the blog when landing the Cherry Hinton at Newmarket last time out. The ground is on the easy side at the time of writing and she has never tried her luck on anything faster than soft, so if it were to dry out that could be a negative. Connections have paid 22,500 euros to add her to the field and I don't think that will be in vain.
Former leading jockey Pat Shanahan runs My Special J's who has also been supplemented for the race. She will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh and is bidding to give her rookie trainer his first top level winner.
The likely favourite is the John Oxx trained Harasiya who will be ridden by Pat Smullen who replaces Murtagh after he lost the job as retained rider to the Aga Khan. She finished behind My Special J's at the Curragh last time out in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, but prior to that she had got the better of the same filly at Leopardstown.
Richard Hannon runs Sky Lantern who was beaten at Goodwood last time out and has plenty of size and scope to expect she will be a nice filly next season.
Joining her on the ferry to Ireland is Mick Channon's Orpha who has the assistance of William Buick. She has only won a Ffos Las maiden and takes a leap up in grade here. I think the two supplementary entries are the ones to be on here with My Special J's the one to give Pat Shanahan his first group 1 winner as a trainer.
Bated Breath in the Sprint Cup @ 100/30 with Sky Bet
Lyric Street in the Old Borough Cup
Nathaniel in the Irish Champion Stakes @ 5/4 with Sky Bet
Emulous in the Matron Stakes @ 11/4 with Sky Bet
My Special J's in the Moyglare Stud Stakes