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Tenebrism all class in Cheveley Park

Tenebrism produced a brilliant performance in coming from virtually last to first to win the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge had just one previous run under her belt, winning a Naas maiden back in March, but she shrugged off her 181-day absence in some style with a power-packed finished.

Flotus led them up the stands side in the six-furlong contest, setting a sound pace in front as Ryan Moore was out the back on 14-1 shot Tenebrism.

It looked as though Simon and Ed Crisford’s Flotus had the measure of her rivals with a furlong to run, as favourite Sacred Bridge and her main market rivals Sandrine and Zain Claudette were all making little impact on the leader.

However, Tenebrism was responding in kind for Moore and found an extra gear to sweep by Flotus and win going away by a length.

Sandrine kept on for third, beaten a further three lengths in the Group One heat.

Tenebrism, who boasts an exceptional pedigree as a daughter of Caravaggio out of top miler Immortal Verse, is 8-1 for the 1000 Guineas with both Betfair and Coral.

O’Brien said: “I didn’t think it was possible for her to do that, not because of ability but because of the lay-off she’d had.

“She had a setback after the last day and was off for a long time. She was just literally ready to come racing and I had a knot in my stomach whether it was fair to be running her or not.

“But there is only one Cheveley Park and you don’t get horses with the speed and the turn of foot she has very often. That’s why she’s here really.

“Her dad had a terribly good turn of speed as well and that’s what she has. I said to Ryan ‘just get her to relax and find herself and see what’s going to happen’.

“She did the very same thing in her maiden – it’s a rare thing when you see them able to quicken like that.

“How far would she stay is the next thing. I had her entered over seven furlongs at the weekend and usually if they get seven they might get a mile.

“Wherever she is, you’ll be riding her for speed. You have to train her now as a Guineas filly and you can come back in trip any time.”

He added: “I would say if she’s going to go again this year it will be in America. The lads will decide if they want to go to the Breeders’ Cup. It will depend how she comes out of today.

“For next year, to go travelling (now) would be a great experience. I’d say if she comes out of it well and the lads want to do it, we’d be delighted to go – it’s definitely something we’d have to think about.”

Of the gallant runner-up, Ed Crisford said: “I thought there was nothing coming out of the pack to catch her, and then you just saw Aidan’s filly coming and I thought ‘oh, no!’.

“She ran a huge race and showed what we’ve been seeing at home. She’s a proper filly.

“We’ll see how she is. There’s not that many options left this year. Whether we go to America or not, I’m not sure.

“She’s definitely got the size and scope to make a three-year-old, which is exciting.”

Fellowes banking on rain to help Eve Lodge’s Cheveley Park bid

Charlie Fellowes is keeping a close eye on the Newmarket weather after stumping up £20,000 to supplement Eve Lodge for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.

The Ardad filly struck Group Three gold last time out when landing the Sirenia Stakes on the Kempton Polytrack – form which received a huge boost when runner-up Wings Of War and third-placed Hierarchy finished first and second respectively in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Eve Lodge, who runs in the colours of Mathis Stables, may bid for Group One glory on Saturday, although Fellowes would not be keen to run if the ground is on the fast side.

He said: “The owners have been brilliant – they’ve put no pressure on her running but have said we’ll see what happens with the weather through the week and go from there.

“I was a bit worried about what she beat at Kempton, but it turns out I need not have been – with them being first and second in the Mill Reef.

“You don’t get to run in Cheveley Parks very often. She’s a very good filly, we’ve always felt that, so providing the ground isn’t too quick I see no reason why we won’t take our chance.

“The rain on Sunday helped, and there is the possibility of showers later in the week.”

Sacred Bridge is Ger Lyons' possible runner
Sacred Bridge is Ger Lyons’ possible runner (Brien Lawless/PA)

George Boughey’s Corazon, a Group Three winner in France and third in the Flying Childers this month, was also supplemented for the six-furlong heat – while the same trainer has Thunder Love too.

The Ger Lyons-trained Sacred Bridge is among the leading lights for the contest, having won each of her four starts to date – including the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh last time out.

She is one of four possible Irish raiders – along with Aidan O’Brien’s Naas maiden winner Tenebrism and Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Pennine Hills and Velocidad.

Zain Claudette has won her last three races
Zain Claudette has won her last three races (Nigel French/PA)

Zain Claudette brings some classy form to the table, having won three of her four starts, including the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot and the Lowther at York on her two most recent outings for trainer Ismail Mohammed.

He said: “She’s in very good form – we worked her on Monday on the all weather, and she is flying.

“She’s in good nick up to now – we’ll work her on grass on Wednesday too. She’s changed a lot since the Group Two and she’s doing very, very well.

“You will 100 per cent see her in the Cheveley Park next.”

Sandrine was beaten at York last time
Sandrine was beaten at York last time (David Davies/PA)

Lowther second Sandrine is in the mix again for Andrew Balding, having won the Albany at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on Newmarket’s July Course earlier in the campaign.

Flotus was an impressive Ripon scorer for Simon and Ed Crisford and she is also among 15 confirmations – while French raider Have A Good Day, sixth in the Prix Morny, adds an extra European flavour for Florian Guyader.

Karl Burke has both Guilded and Illustrating to choose from, with Desert Dreamer and Sense Of Duty the other possibles.

Breeders’ Cup on radar for Ger Lyons’ ‘wow’ filly Sacred Bridge

Sacred Bridge is set to tackle Group One engagements following her brilliant performance at the Curragh last week – potentially including the Breeders’ Cup.

The Ger Lyons-trained filly – who carries the famous Juddmonte silks of the late Khalid Abdullah – took her unbeaten record to four when rocketing clear in the Round Tower Stakes.

A natural progression would be the Juddmonte-sponsored Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 25.

Lyons – who celebrated his 1,000th career winner at Roscommon on Monday evening – told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “The little filly gave me a ‘wow’ feeling on Friday – it was her fourth win, but I didn’t get a ‘wow’ off her until Friday. That was a ‘wow’ performance.

“She literally goes through the motions at home and does what she’s done. Every time I’ve gone to the races I’ve kept thinking ‘is she up to this?’, and every time she’s produced.

“I love training two-year-olds, and it’s for that reason – you don’t know what you’re uncovering. It’s when they hit the ceiling you go on to the next one, but she’s still on the rise.

Sacred Bridge has an exciting future
Sacred Bridge has an exciting future (PA)

“Subject to us talking to the (Abdullah) family and everybody being on the same page, that’s (Cheveley Park) where you would go with her.”

Should all go well at Newmarket next month, then an exciting trip to America and Del Mar could be on the agenda, for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Lyons added: “There’s a lot of options open with her, including a trip to the States at the end of the year

” If she stays in this form why not, that would have to come into the conversation that we’ll be having close to the time.”

Ground key to Quick Suzy’s Cheveley challenge

Queen Mary winner Quick Suzy will revert to fillies-only company in next month’s Cheveley Park Stakes, as long as the ground is suitable.

The Gavin Cromwell-trained filly travelled well for a long way against the colts in the Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday before fading to finish ninth of 14, beaten just over four lengths by Perfect Power.

Her main aim all along has been the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and while connections would prefer to get a run in before then, should the ground be soft at Newmarket then she is likely to head straight there.

Joe Burke, spokesperson for her American owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, said: “I’d walked the track Sunday morning and I was very happy with the ground, it was good to firm on the straight track.

“Unfortunately there was a real downpour before racing and Gary (Carroll) said it chewed up the path along the rail we were going to take. Also, while she travelled great, when he asked her to pick up she couldn’t and he described it as speed-blunting ground.

“He said we’ll see a different filly back on faster ground so we’ll regroup this week, but the plan had always been the Cheveley Park and we’ll probably still go there but only if the ground is good or better. On good to soft, even back in against fillies, we’d probably get the same kind of result.

“She’s at her best on fast ground when she can show that turn of foot she showed at Ascot.

“Her main aim all along has been the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint where she’s guaranteed to get fast ground at Del Mar. That race is made for her.”

Cheveley Park target for Zain Claudette

Ismail Mohammed is aiming for the Cheveley Park Stakes with Zain Claudette – who has Classic aspirations on the horizon next year.

The filly won her third consecutive race when taking the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York last week, by a length from the previously unbeaten favourite Sandrine.

The daughter of No Nay Never had already won the Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes and is set to move up to the top level in Newmarket’s Cheveley Park next month.

“We’ll give her one or two days to be happy and then we’ll start riding her again,” said Mohammed.

“She is a classic already, she’s shown us in every race that she’s improved.

“Next month it is our plan to go to Newmarket for the Group One, the Cheveley Park.”

Zain Claudette’s success on the Knavesmire was jockey Ray Dawson’s biggest winner to date, with the Princess Margaret having been his first Group success.

“We like to help the young guy get some kind of Group race,” added the Newmarket trainer.

“He’s been there from the Listed race to the Group Three and he is doing really well.”

Dawson spoke with confidence post-race about Zain Claudette’s Group One potential, and also indicated a trip beyond six furlongs will eventually prove within her compass – with the 1000 Guineas discussed for her three-year-old season.

Mohammed added: “We will be targeting the Guineas for next season.

“She handles everything very well and she can definitely go further. She (also) has a very good turn of foot.”

Owner Saeed Al Tayer has been the recipient of multiple offers for the filly, but she will be staying at her trainer’s Grange House Stables.

“She has run so well for us and she is improving – we don’t want her to go and we have had a lot of offers,” said Mohammed.

“We have to keep her. She is giving us so much fun and happiness – for a small yard, to get any Group race is so good for us.”

Cheveley Park aim for Desert Dreamer

Stuart Williams remains keen on a crack at the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes with Desert Dreamer after his star filly ran yet another fine race in defeat at York.

A dual winner at Newmarket in the spring, the daughter of Oasis Dream has since finished second in the Listed Empress Stakes, the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes and the Group Three Princess Margaret – beaten just a nose by Zain Claudette on the latter occasion.

Desert Dreamer again had to make do with minor honours in York’s Group Two Lowther Stakes, this time finishing third behind the reopposing Zain Claudette and the previously-unbeaten Sandrine.

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy did well to stay on board after Desert Dreamer’s saddle slipped deep inside the final furlong, but Williams does not believe it made any difference to the final result.

“Obviously the little incident towards the end of the race didn’t help, but I think third was the best we were going to achieve anyway,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She’s come out of the race good and the plan would be to go to the Cheveley Park.

“She likes Newmarket and I think a bit easier ground might suit her as well. It was quite quick at York.

“If it was proper good ground or just on the soft side for the Cheveley Park, it might give us a little chance of turning the tables.”

Alcohol Free sparks Cheveley Park celebrations

Alcohol Free prevailed in a tight finish for the Group One Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Andrew Balding’s filly was less exposed than most of her rivals in the six-furlong prize, but Oisin Murphy gave her a positive ride.

The champion jockey was happy to take up the running from favourite Miss Amulet at half way and she was there to be shot at running up the hill.

The previously unbeaten Dandalla moved into contention briefly, but her challenge petered away and it was Richard Fahey’s Umm Kulthum, a winner at Ayr last weekend, and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet who gave Alcohol Free the most to do.

Despite having just the third run of her life, Alcohol Free showed a willing attitude and while Umm Kulthum challenged on her far side and Miss Amulet on her inside, Alcohol Free, a sustained late gamble, won by half a length and a head.

The winner was given a 20-1 quote for next year’s 1000 Guineas by Betfair.

Alcohol Free had finished second behind Happy Romance last time out, but turned that form around with Richard Hannon’s filly who was only fourth this time.

“She didn’t have a great draw at Salisbury and she showed a bit of inexperience and we knew she would come on for that,” said Balding.

“At the end of the day, Happy Romance was likely to be one of the favourites and we only had a couple of lengths to find on her. We had the option to run in the Rockfel, but Jeff (Smith, owner) was keen on going for the Group One and he was dead right.

“She has been on a fast track really, as she only started faster work about three weeks before she ran and we went to the races not knowing quite what to expect as she was the first two-year-old filly we had run.

“She won very easily there (Newbury) and the next logical step was to go for the Dick Poole and she showed enough there to warrant coming here.

“She should stay (a mile) I would have thought. She relaxes well. She acts better with a bit of cover. Oisin was intent that he couldn’t see any pace in the race and he didn’t want to be too far back.

“I’m well past giving him instructions. He did a fantastic job. Just for the yard, it is fantastic, as Jeff has been with us a long time, with dad (Ian Balding) and he has been a big supporter of ours, so it is great to get him a Group One winner again.

“She won’t run again this year. We will see how she does in the spring and we will make a decision nearer the time (whether she runs in a trial). She is obviously good enough to go (to the Guineas), so we don’t need to go to a trial to find out – it’s just whether she would benefit for a run in the spring.”

Oisin Murphy celebrates Alcohol Free's victory
Oisin Murphy celebrates Alcohol Free’s victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Murphy added: “Andrew has done a top job with her because he’s had to carefully manage her training regime. She’s very generous at home and he’s kept a lid on her.

“It’s brilliant for the owner and brilliant for the stable. We’ve a class of horse in the yard at the moment that we’ve never had before.

“She’s a Group One winner now and certainly fits into the 1000 Guineas category for next year because she hits the line well and she also relaxes. She’s a super filly.

“I don’t win enough Group Ones for Andrew and he’s supplied me with two this year. Hopefully we can continue to add to the tally.”

Ferguson excited to pitch Zoetic into Group One company

Fledgling trainer James Ferguson will saddle his first Group One runner when Zoetic lines up in Saturday’s Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Ferguson, who was Charlie Appleby’s assistant for three years at Godolphin, only took out a licence at the end of 2019, but has made great strides in the interim.

With 15 winners on the board already at an impressive strike-rate of over 20%, the Newmarket handler has made an impressive start and in Zoetic he has found a first headline horse with a Listed win already in the bag.

“She’s an intended runner – my first in a Group One, so it’s hugely exciting,” said Ferguson.

“The way she won the St Hugh’s at Newbury, I think she thoroughly deserves to take her chance at the highest level.

“She’s been winning over five furlongs, but we actually started her off over six because she relaxes so well at home. First time out at Kempton, she was keen, which was the last thing I was expecting.

“There was a sign of that at Doncaster as well, so we dropped her back to five as she was using too much energy too early. She’s growing up now though and in three runs since she’s relaxing.

“At Newbury, Oisin dropped her out at the back which I thought was beautiful to see as she relaxes so well, which is how she is at home.

“William Buick will ride as Andrew Balding has first pick on Oisin, so he’s on Alcohol Free. Me and WIlliam go back a long way – we worked very closely together at Godolphin when I was Charlie’s assistant for three years and there’s no one I’d rather turn to.

“I didn’t think we’d be having Group One runners this early in my career, so it’s a credit to the yard and to the owners for giving us the opportunity to do it. If we don’t get another for a while, we’re going to enjoy it.”