“Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain” may be the first line of the Cascades 1963 hit, but it’s also pertinent to the racing today, with the wet stuff due to start at around 11.00am and continue for the rest of the day.
Getting the excuses in early, this obviously makes analysis more difficult, especially as there is no knowing how much is going to,er, cascade.
However, it is what it is, so let’s get on with it.
Main televised action come from Ascot, with the most valuable race being the Bet With Ascot Challenge Cup Handicap at 3.35, a 7f affair with a field of 18.
Favourite in all books at around 5-1 is the Roger Varian trained Cape Byron, last seen getting to within half a length of the admirable Rip Orf over this CD in the Cunard Handicap. A 2lb pull this afternoon may well be enough, the more so if the ground softens, but we will oppose both these with the horse that finished back in eighth place, namely Raising Sand.
This Jamie Osborne trained 6-y-o finished a close third in this race last year, off a higher mark and finished eighth again last Saturday when winning its group in the Cambridgeshire. A substantial pull in the weights with both Cape Byron and Rip Orf, including Nicola Currie‘s 3lbs allowance gives it every chance of revenge and an each way bet at 13-2 is recommended.
Another runner which, at the weights, should finish in front of the Fav is Flaming Spear, which won the Ladbrokes Handicap at Goodwood at the end of August, with Cape Byron well beaten in second. The subsequent six pound rise is nullified by the booking of a crack conditional, so we must suggest an each way bet here too, at 13-2.
The card kicks off with the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Rous Stakes, a Listed contest over the flying five which has been the target of Spring Loaded since its victory in the Heritage Handicap here in July. With Adam Kirby again on board, we’ll go with it at 11-4.
The Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes at 2.25 has a small but select field of 5 and it’s difficult to look past the favourite First Eleven. A 3-y-o, trained by John Gosden, this son of Frankel‘s latest win received a serious boost, when the well beaten second notched a comfortable victory in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes here yesterday. Short, but not too short, we recommend a win bet at 11-10.
Over at Newmarket, where it’s largely a day for the laydees, the highlight is the Group 1 Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, which sees the return to action of Karl Burke‘s star filly Laurens, three weeks after her victory in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. It’s likely, though, that she would have finished second in that race had Alpha Centauri had four legs to run on rather than three and Laurens may meet her match today in the French raider Wind Chimes.
Supplemented for this race with £20,000 out of petty cash, she joins three other runners for the Coolmore Crew and should beat them all. Just touched off last time out in the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin, in which she beat all the boys bar one, and with her trainer knowing exactly what it takes to win this race, Wind Chimes is a confident selection at 9-4.
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place tomorrow and it’s 20-1 bar 4, with Enable even money favourite. With her three main opponents receiving off-putting double figure draws, this race looks at the mercy of JG‘s filly for the second year, but, at that price we just watch.
Raising Sand 3.35 Ascot e/w @ 13-2 (5 places)
Flaming Spear 3.35 Ascot e/w @ 13-2 (5 places)
Spring Loaded 1.50 Ascot win @ 11-4
First Eleven 2.25 Ascot win @ 11-10
Wind Chimes 3.15 Newmarket win @ 9-4