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Double Or Bubble seeks big finish in Challenge Stakes

Chris Wall’s Double Or Bubble will try to end her season on a high in the Group Two Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

The four-year-old has been in fine form all season, finishing out of the top two just once when ninth in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Since then she has been defeated by just a neck in the Listed Queen Charlotte Fillies’ Stakes at Chelmsford – before going on to take the Flying Fillies’ Stakes, another Listed race, at Pontefract in August.

A return to Group level followed with performances in the Supreme Stakes at Goodwood and Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster, finishing second each time to Toro Strike and then Just Beautiful.

Double Or Bubble is back at Group Two level on Friday, and Wall is hoping the current good to soft ground proves suitable.

The Newmarket trainer said: “We’ve not had as much rain here as other places, so the ground will probably be good.

“But that’s all right – she’s just a filly we’d like to avoid soft ground with.

“While it’s a competitive race, this didn’t look as scary as a Group Two may do, and I didn’t think there was anything in this the likes of which we haven’t already taken on or run against this season.

“We thought we’d give it a go again. She’s in good form – and if she runs her race then I hope she’ll be at the competitive end of things.

“She’s been second in two Group Threes. The colt that beat her at Goodwood (Toro Strike) beat the track record, and it’s a good filly (Just Beautiful) that beat her last time.

“She’s not out of place in this company. Although she’s been on the go a long time, she looks well – she’s been going well at home, so we thought we’d roll the dice one last time this season.”

Charlie Appleby fields two in the seven-furlong contest, and reports both Suhail and D’bai in fine shape.

“Al Suhail lacks a bit of consistency but has taken each run well this year and, if he produces his best form, should be bang there,” the trainer told godolphin.com.

“D’bai has been consistent all year and heads into this race in good order.

“We are hopeful of another solid performance over his optimum trip.”

Richard Hannon’s Chindit seeks to get back to winning ways after a handful of mid-division finishes in Group contests – with John Quinn’s Safe Voyage also looking for a return to the form which saw him take the Listed City Plate Stakes at Chester in July.

William Haggas’ With Thanks won the Listed October Stakes at Ascot just last weekend, and looks to claim a first Group Two – as does Aidan O’Brien’s Horoscope, last seen finishing third in the Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown.

Charlie Hills’ Prix de Meautry winner Garrus and Henry Candy’s Jouska complete the field of nine.

Double delivers for Wall in Pontefract feature

Few jockeys are riding with as much confidence as Jack Mitchell at present and he capped a profitable few days by winning the EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies’ Stakes at Pontefract on Double Or Bubble.

Having partnered Chris Wall’s improving filly to win at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in April, Mitchell was also on board when she was narrowly beaten in a Listed race at Chelmsford.

In taking her career record to four wins from just seven starts, she clearly has a bright future and those who backed her into 5-4 favouritism never really had a moment of worry.

Double Or Bubble was in front soon after the turn into the straight and she held 50-1 chance Shepherds Way at bay by two lengths.

“I’m obviously delighted with that. She had to miss a couple of suitable opportunities earlier in the year when the ground came up too soft for her,” said Wall.

“It’s great to get a Listed win out of her, she did it very nicely and Jack has given her a well-judged ride. We spoke about being positive today as there were quite a lot in this race you didn’t want to get trapped behind.

“She’s toughed it out well and I’m very pleased for her owner (Salah Fustok) who is also a breeder and a long-standing supporter of ours, so black type is very important.

“The faster the ground, the better for her. After she won well at the Craven meeting we wanted to run in the Group Three at Lingfield but the ground turned very soft so we didn’t run.

“A mile was too far at Ascot for her but she ran very well behind a tough filly of John Quinn’s (Highfield Princess) at Chelmsford in a Listed race. Back on the grass, on a sound surface, she’s shown what she can do.

“We’ll have to look for a Group Three but I’m not sure what our options are for now. There probably aren’t too many for fillies so we may have to take on the boys, I’ll discuss it with the owner but she does need a decent surface.”

Mitchell is averaging a winner every four rides currently and was partnering his 83rd winner of 2021, well on course to beat his best total of 103 he achieved last year.

“We always thought a stiff six furlongs would suit her as she has loads of natural speed – if anything I took it up too soon,” said Mitchell.

“It’s nice to see her get that Listed win and she hit the line well enough, if something had come to me, I think she might have gone again.

“She’s versatile, she stays further. It’s lovely, good ground today but she usually likes to bounce off it. She’s a class act in her own right.

“Touch wood I’m having a good spell at present.”

Wall on weather watch ahead of Double’s Chartwell challenge

Chris Wall plans to check on ground conditions before giving Double Or Bubble the green light to run in the Novibet Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday.

The four-year-old is a full-sister to the Newmarket handler’s former stable star Mix And Mingle, who claimed an impressive victory in this Group Three contest four years ago.

Double Or Bubble has earned herself a step up in class by winning her last three starts, including an impressive return from seven months off the track at Newmarket’s Craven meeting, but Wall is concerned about the forecast of morning rain.

He said: “She came out of her Newmarket race in good shape and did a nice piece of work last week, so I’m very happy with her.

“Our main concern at the moment is the ground because there is some heavy rain forecast, so we shall be monitoring that.

“She’s a filly who is much better suited to a sounder surface than to a soft one, so I’ll have a walk on the track before racing and see what we think and make a decision based on that.

“I think she’s good enough for a race like this, so it would be nice to be able to run her, but obviously it would be even better to run her with her optimum conditions.”

Double Or Bubble’s seven rivals include Andreas Wohler’s German raider Axana. The five-year-old won twice at Group Three level as a three-year-old in 2019, but failed to add to her tally last season.

However, Wohler believes her comeback victory in a Listed event at Hoppegarten last month is proof Axana is back to her best.

“I hope she can run a good race. She has had one run this year and did it quite easy. That form was proven because the filly that was second was second again last Sunday in a Group race in Italy,” said Wohler.

“She’s in good shape. Hopefully the ground stays on the good side, because the weather forecast is not that good. We would not want the ground too soft really.

“She won at Group-race level as a three-year-old and is back to her old form.”

Isabella Giles winning the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket
Isabella Giles winning the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Clive Cox-trained Isabella Giles won at Group Three and Group Two level as a juvenile last term, and finished sixth on her reappearance in the Fred Darling at Newbury three weeks ago.

Cox said: “We’ve got a drop of rain and she showed a liking for an easier surface last year, particularly when winning the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood.

“We’re sticking to seven furlongs after deciding that was a better idea than stepping up to a mile off the back of her run at Newbury.

“She’s in great form. She has a penalty for a Group Two success last year, but she’s in good order and I see no reason why she won’t like the track.”

Bounce The Blues (Andrew Balding), Huboor (Kevin Ryan), Jouska (Henry Candy), Parent’s Prayer (Archie Watson) and Meu Amor (Ralph Beckett) complete the line-up.