Wednesday, September 14, 2011
ARLEQUIN TAKES AIM AT BETFRED CAMBRIDGESHIRE
James Bethell is hoping the rain stays away for his £160,000 Betfred Cambridgeshire (3.40pm) hope Arlequin (9st 3lb, 16/1 with Betfred), one of 122 horses going forward at the scratchings stage for the historic nine-furlong heritage handicap at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, September 24.
The prestigious contest has been a highlight of the racing calendar since 1839 and forms the first leg of the traditional Autumn Double, the second of which is the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket two weeks later.
The four-year-old saw off subsequent Group Three winner Modun to take a 10-furlong handicap at Glorious Goodwood in July and was then runner-up by a head to the Richard Fahey-trained Our Joe Mac (9st 1lb, 16/1) in a competitive mile and a quarter handicap at York on August 17.
Bethell, who trains at Thorngill in North Yorkshire, revealed today: “The plan is to go for the Betfred Cambridgeshire with Arlequin. We gave him a little bit of a break after his last race at York and this was the plan, to go to Newmarket. He has had a nice time between his races.
“We hope that the ground won’t be too soft because I think if we had had faster ground at York he would have probably beaten Our Joe Mac.
“He has run some really good races and obviously Goodwood was a nice one to win. It was sad that he didn’t quite get home at York, I think the softer ground there didn’t help him.
“The other sad thing from our perspective is that he went up seven pounds for that. A seven pound rise is just going to make the Betfred Cambridgeshire that much more difficult.”
Bethell has no fears about the gelding dropping down a furlong in distance for the Betfred Cambridgeshire.
He said: “Philip Robinson thought that because they always go a good pace in the race, you probably need a mile and a quarter horse to win a Cambridgeshire.”
Jeremy Noseda trains Betfred’s current 6/1 market leader, Dare To Dance (8st 2lb). The three-year-old has won two of his three career starts and was most recently successful in the 10-furlong University of Cambridge Veterinary School Handicap at Newmarket’s July Course on August 27.
Roger Charlton has landed the prize previously with Cap Juluca (1995) and Blue Monday (2005). The Beckhampton trainer has two remaining entries, Proponent (9st, 20/1) and the well-fancied three-year-old Cry Fury (8st 6lb, 10/1), a winner at Goodwood but only eighth behind Man Of Action (8st 13lb, 12/1) at Doncaster on September 10.
Man Of Action is one of eight representatives going forward for Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The four-year-old had previously taken sixth place in the totesport Mile at Glorious Goodwood in July, a race won by Boom And Bust and in which Proponent was second and the David Simcock-trained Pintura (8st 13lb, 20/1) took third.
Sir Michael Stoute’s only Betfred Cambridgeshire win came back in 1976 with Intermission but the master of Freemason Lodge may run the useful Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Markazzi (8st 6lb, 16/1).
Charlie Hills is in his first month with a licence so he has not had a Betfred Cambridgeshire runner to date, but the trainer has a prime contender in Maqaraat (8st 8lb, 14/1), also owned by Hamdan al Maktoum, who was runner-up in the Group Three Dee Stakes at Chester in May and waltzed to a seven-length maiden win at Haydock in June.
The owner’s hand is further strengthened by another three-year-old, the John Dunlop-trained Maraheb (8st 11lb, 12/1), who was also impressive at Haydock last time, winning a mile handicap by five lengths on August 4.
Tazeez (9st 8lb, 20/1) won the race for Hamdan Al Maktoum and trainer John Gosden in 2008. Gosden also took the prize with Halling (1994) and Pipedreamer (2007), and as well as Tazeez, he could saddle the same owner’s Dhaamer (8st 9lb, 16/1).
Credit Swap (8st 8lb, 25/1) won last year’s Betfred Cambridgeshire when in the care of trainer Michael Wigham. Now trained by Venetia Williams, the six-year-old could bid to become the first back-to-back winner since Prince De Galles in 1969 and 1970
Nanton (9st 2lb, 33/1) has a fantastic record in the Betfred Cambrigeshire and Jim Goldie’s charge is set to attempt victory at the third time of asking. The nine-year-old grey was runner-up in 2008 and finished third in 2009, the year in which he also contested the second leg of the Autumn Double, finishing ninth in the Betfred Cesarewitch. Jim Goldie’s charge was a fast-finishing second in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster on September 9.
Others of note are the German-trained raiders, Combat Zone (8st 13lb, 33/1) and Ideology (8st 10lb, 33/1) from the Mario Hofer stable, and the Irish challenger Stunning View (9st 6lb, 20/1), trained by Dermot Weld.
The maximum number of runners is 35 and for the second year a consolation race is staged at Newmarket the day before, Friday, September 23, the £30,000 Standing For Success Handicap (Silver Cambridgeshire), for horses that miss the cut for the Betfred Cambridgeshire.
Betfred will generously award a fantastic £100,000 bonus to any stable that wins both the Betfred Cambridgeshire and the Betfred Cesarewitch. Betfred is sponsoring both races for the first time and should any stable land the lucrative bonus being offered, the prize will be split so that the trainer receives £50,000 and the yard’s staff share the remaining £50,000.
The last trainer to win both races in a season was Sam Darling in 1925, who saddled Forseti to win the Cesarewitch having already taken that year’s Cambridgeshire with Masked Marvel.
“Dare To Dance still heads the Cambridgeshire market but Man Of Action has been very popular since his victory at Doncaster over the weekend and he could well shorten further over the next fortnight,” said Betfred spokesman George Primarolo.
Betfred Cambridgeshire – sponsors bet: 6 Dare To Dance, 10 Cry Fury, 12 Man Of Action, Maraheb, 14 Maqaraat, 16 Arlequin, Dhaamer, Markazzi, Our Joe Mac, Questioning, 20 Albaqaa, Club Oceanic, Galiando, Kirthill, Naqshabaan, Nordic Sky, Pintura, Proponent, Red Gulch, Sagramor, Saptapadi, Sarrsar, Stunning View, Tazeez, Terdaad, 25 Absinthe, Aerial Acclaim, Belgian Bill, Circumvent, Credit Swap, Distant Memories, Don’t Call Me, Emirates Dream, Haylaman, Hillview Boy, Hot Prospect, Jutland, Paramour, Pendragon, Pires, Prince Of Johanne, Sahara Kingdom, Tinkertown, 33 Askaud, Brick Red, Capaill Liath, Combat Zone, Con Artist, Constant Contact, Crown Counsel, Grumeti, Harrison George, Ideology, Janood, Leviathan, Little Rocky, Loving Spirit, Madam Macie, Master Of Arts, Mawaakef, Merchant Of Dubai, Nanton, Nice Style, Oceanway, Point North, Pravda Street, Riggins, Roayh, Robemaker, Seattle Drive, Shavansky, Stevie Thunder, Voodoo Prince, Wannabe King, West Brit, 40 Desert Romance, Maali, Sergeant Ablett, Vainglory, 50 Afkar, Arabian Star, Camerooney, Classic Colori.
Place Terms: ¼ the odds, 1-2-3-4-5
MEADE CONSIDERING NEWMARKET FOR TOP HURDLER DONNAS PALM AS 91 REMAIN IN BETFRED CESAREWITCH
A total of 91 horses remain on course for the £160,000 Betfred Cesarewitch following the first scratchings deadline for the second leg of the Autumn Double on Dubai Future Champions Day at Newmarket on Saturday, October 8.
Dual-purpose performers have enjoyed a superb record in the two and quarter-mile heritage handicap over the past decade with Miss Fara (2002), Landing Light (2003), Detroit City (2006), Leg Spinner (2007) and Caracciola (2008) all having followed up success in the National Hunt sphere with victory at Newmarket.
This year’s remaining entries include another leading hurdler in the Noel Meade-trained Donnas Palm (8st), who triumphed in a Grade Two hurdle at Navan in December, 2009, and was runner-up to Solwhit in the 2010 Irish Champion Hurdle.
The Irish-trained seven-year-old, a 16/1 chance with Betfred, has also won two of his three Flat starts and was runner-up to subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite Of Passage on his only defeat in Leopardstown’s November Handicap in 2009.
Meade revealed: “We have left in Donnas Palm and we will see how he progresses before making any final decision. He had a Hobday operation just before he went out at the start of the summer and has been back in work for quite a while now, but I don’t now yet whether he will make it to Newmarket.
“He is a nice horse and he has loads of ability, while I don’t envisage the trip being a problem for him. He wasn’t himself at the back-end of the jumps season so we had the wind operation done, which we think has helped him a lot.
“He seems to be in very good nick at the moment and, if we were to get him to the Betfred Cesarewitch right and well, I think that he would have a good chance.”
The sponsor’s market for the Betfred Cesarewitch is headed by 10/1 joint favourites, Tuscan Gold (8st), from the shrewd stable of Sir Mark Prescott, and Keys (8st 8lb), who also hails from a jumping background having completed a hat-trick of bumper victories for Roger Charlton last season.
Nicky Henderson, successful with Landing Light and Caracciola, has entered Ascot Handicap scorer Veiled (11/1 & 8st 9lb) and Sentry Duty (25/1 & 8st 11lb), while the progressive Rainforest Magic (12/1 & 8st 1lb), a dual winner at this year’s Galway Festival, may line up for Dermot Weld.
Other notable entries include the top-weight Fox Hunt (14/1 & 9st 10lb), one of nine remaining contenders from the Yorkshire stable of Mark Johnston, the David Wachman-trained Mount Athos (14/1 & 9st 2lb), and the first five home from last year’s race - Aaim To Prosper (20/1 & 9st 7lb), La Vecchia Scuola (20/1 & 8st 5lb), Plymouth Rock (25/1 & 8st 7lb), Ocean’s Minstrel (14/1 & 8st) and Palomar (25/1 & 7st 13lb).
There is a safety limit of 34 runners in the Betfred Cesarewitch.
Betfred spokesman George Primarolo said: “Keys has joined Tuscan Gold at the head of the Cesarewitch market over the past fortnight and any further support for Roger Charlton’s gelding would surely see him go off as favourite.”
Betfred Cesarewitch – sponsors bet: 10 Keys, Tuscan Gold, 11 Veiled, 12 Rainforest Magic, 14 Fox Hunt, Mount Athos, Ocean’s Minstrel, 16 Beyond, Big Occasion, Colour Vision, Donnas Palm, Petara Bay, 20 Aaim To Prosper, Bollin Judith, Buy Back Bob, Darley Sun, Dazinski, Kazbow, La Vecchia Scuola, Mystery Star, Pateese, Regent Street, 25 Activate, Ajaan, Askbrittle, Bernie The Bolt, Bow To No One, Cosimo De Medici, Diamond Boy, Ermyn Lodge, Gifted Leader, Hawk Mountain, Hollins, Ile De Re, Never Can Tell, Palomar, Plymouth Rock, Sentry Duty, Tasheba, 33 Abergavenny, Alcalde, Becausewecan, Blimey O’Reilly, Bowdler’s Magic, Dayia, Downhiller, English Summer, Eshtyaaq, Exemplary, French Hollow, Halifax, Hawaafez, La Estrella, Lacateno, Mobaasher, My Arch, Phoenix Flight, Regal Park, Rosewin, Sunwise, Wayward Glance, 40 Advisor, Braveheart Move, Lastroseofsummer, Sherman McCoy, Spiekeroog, Trovare, Wells Lyrical, 50 Forrest Flyer, Gordonsville, Jonny Delta, L Frank Baum, Magicalmysterytour, Montparnasse, Nave, Neptune Equester, Petella, Red Anthem, Right Stuff, Rosewood Lad, Sea Change, Slight Advantage, Soprano, Valid Reason, 66 Blackmore, Cotton King, Dark Ranger, Gogeo, Mohanad, Sancho Panza, Secret Tune.
Place Terms: ¼ the odds, 1-2-3-4-5
STRONG SUIT HAS CHALLENGE STAKES OPTION
Dubai Future Champions Day boasts an impressive card on Saturday, October 8, and preceding the two feature juvenile races, the £300,000 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (3pm) and the £150,000 Group One Emaar Middle Park Stakes (2.25pm), is the £80,000 Group Two Challenge Stakes.
The seven-furlong contest for three-year-olds and upwards kicks off the tremendous card at 1.55pm and has attracted 34 entries, including the Richard Hannon-trained Strong Suit, successful this season at the distance in both the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group Two Bet365 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Further notable entries include two contenders with Group One credentials from Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien. Group One winner Zoffany ran the mighty Frankel close when second in the St James’s Palace Stakes in June, while Together has been runner-up four times in the top grade, including behind Blue Bunting in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at the course in May.
There is a potential challenger from Scandinavia in Giant Sandman, trained in Norway by Rune Haugen. The four-year-old won the Group Three Polar Cup at Ovrevoll in July.
Other high-class contenders are the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Chachamaidee, QIPCO 1000 Guineas third Maqaasid from the John Gosden yard, Godolphin’s smart pair of Delegator and Saamidd, King Torus and Libranno from the Hannon yard and the Charles O’Brien-trained Bewitched.