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Haggas launches double assault on Cambridgeshire

William Haggas has two runners in his bid to win the bet365 Cambridgeshire for the first time at Newmarket on Saturday.

Seven days on from combining to land the Ayr Gold Cup with Nahaarr, Haggas and in-form jockey Tom Marquand team up with Sinjaari, who won the John Smith’s Cup at York on his only previous start this season in mid-July.

Haggas also saddles Montatham, who reverts to handicap company under Jim Crowley after finishing second in a Listed contest at Sandown recently, however, Ilaraab, the scheduled mount of Cieren Fallon, does not run.

Haggas said: “It might be asking a bit much of Sinjaari to win a John Smith’s Cup and a Cambridgeshire, but he’s very well and I’m very happy with him.

“He’s down in trip so there’s always a concern, but there aren’t many options for these good handicappers – they can run in Listed races and win £15,000, or wait for big pots like this. They may as well run for the big money.

“Montatham is going up in trip a bit, but he will love the cut in the ground and he’s very well, he’s been running well all year.

“They’ve both got decent chances, but I’m not convinced they are drawn on the right side. You’d hope with two to be spread across the track, but they are in two (Montatham) and six (Sinjaari) and having walked the track, the draw could scupper them, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”

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The Roger Charlton-trained Tempus bids to make it three from three for the year in the hands of Jason Watson.

A winner at Newbury in August on what was his first appearance in 10 months, the Kingman colt readily followed up at Ascot three weeks ago and carries a 4lb penalty for that victory as he goes in search of the hat-trick.

“He was a nice horse last season, but he has progressed really nicely,” said Watson.

Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton
Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He had a long time off before running at Newbury and we were expecting him to need the run. He was mightily impressive at Ascot the last day and I believe he will come on for that again.

“My only concern would be the track as it is unique and not to the liking of every horse. That’s going to be the test for him as he has only really raced on nice, galloping tracks so far.

“I do think he has the class to hopefully overcome that. To me, he still has improvement left in him and the more rain that falls, the more it will help him.”

Ralph Beckett believes the demands of the race will bring out the best in Lucander, who won three times last season and opened his account for the current campaign at York last month.

Beckett said: “It was a good effort to win at York and he seems to like these big-field handicaps.

“I was always keen on the idea of the Cambridgeshire for him. The nature of the race will suit him really well.”

Sir Busker was narrowly beaten by Montatham on his penultimate start at York, before chasing home Century Dream in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

William Knight’s stable star must carry 9st 11lb on his return to a handicap, but connections are nevertheless hopeful he will run another big race.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owner Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “We’re really pleased with him at home and he’s a big horse, so he should be able to carry the weight.

Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot
Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“Obviously there are a lot of young improvers who we’ll have to give weight to. We’re hopefully weighted to reverse placings with Montatham from their York form. Sir Busker has since run second in a Group Two, and Montatham was second at Sandown.

“He’s in great form. It’s a big task to try to win such a prestigious handicap off a mark of 111, but you never know. He’s a highly progressive horse and we’ll keep our fingers crossed – he’ll love the fast pace.”

Other hopefuls include Roger Varian’s Fifth Position, the Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock and Al Rufaa from John Gosden’s yard.

Of the latter, Frankie Dettori told his Sporting Index blog: “I’ve won the Cambridgeshire three times and all three times I think I had Group horses in Halling, Wissahickon and Lord North.

“We don’t know if Al Ruffa is quite as good as those yet, but I certainly hope so. He’s a three-year-old who could improve further, but he’s got plenty of weight for what he’s done so far.

“He didn’t give his best running last time and it’s a wide-open race, but he’s still lightly-raced so fingers crossed.

“We’re drawn 22 and hopefully that’s the side that’s up with the pace, because sometimes you can win your half of the race and still finish 10 lengths behind!”

La Barrosa moves up in class at Newmarket

Impressive Ascot scorer La Barrosa tests the water at Group Three level in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

The Lope De Vega colt made a big impression on his racecourse introduction three weeks ago – showing a smart change of gear to leave his rivals, which included Enable’s half-brother Derab, trailing in his wake.

Trainer Charlie Appleby immediately identified Thursday’s seven-furlong contest as a suitable target for La Barrosa, and he will be widely-expected to dispatch five rivals on the Rowley Mile.

Appleby told www.godolphin.com: “La Barrosa produced a very pleasing debut at Ascot and has come out of the race well.

“We felt that he has shown us enough to merit the step up to Pattern company and this should tell us more about his future.”

His highest-rated opponent is the Richard Hannon-trained Ventura Tormenta, who carries a 5lb penalty for winning the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly in July.

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Since that summer triumph in France, the son of Acclamation has finished last of 10 runners in the Phoenix Stakes in Ireland and sixth in the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

Hannon said: “We’ve gone up and down in trip with him a bit, but the guys that ride him think that this trip is what he wants.

“He was the last off the bridle over seven furlongs in a Group Two on the July Course (finished fifth in Superlative Stakes), so let’s hope we have made the right decision.

“I hope the ground isn’t too soft. He has been busy all season and he ran a good race last time out at Doncaster.”

Yazaman would not be winning out of turn for William Haggas, having filled the runner-up in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, the July Stakes at Newmarket, the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and in a valuable sales race at Doncaster this season.

Qaader (Mark Johnston), Dark Lion (Roger Varian) and Albadri (Jane Chapple-Hyam) complete the sextet.

Six runners are also set to go to post for the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes, which Roger Charlton’s stable stalwart Withhold is bidding to win for the second season running under Jason Watson.

The seven-year-old won a Listed prize on the July Course earlier this year and was last seen finishing second to Trueshan in a conditions event at Salisbury.

“He has dropped in and out of form this season – but as he has got older, he has got wiser,” said Watson.

“He has not been straightforward throughout his career, because he had little injuries and breaks. It was nice to see him run like he did at Salisbury the last day – giving weight away to all bar one.

“I know that was a drop in grade, but it showed that he is still willing to give it a go – and he was only beaten by a progressive, young stayer.

“It isn’t a big field and if we can get out in front and lob along, I think he will run a good race again.

“It really depends which Withhold turns up on the day.”

The standard is set by Johnston’s Mildenberger, who makes his first competitive appearance since being touched off by high-class stablemate Nayef Road in the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle in early June.

Ghostwatch (Appleby), Ranch Hand (Andrew Balding), Sleeping Lion (James Fanshawe) and Who What When (Murty McGrath) are the other hopefuls.

Quadrilateral camp size up Sun Chariot

Quadrilateral remains on course to make her return to Group One company in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

The Roger Charlton-trained Frankel filly will bid to open her account for the campaign in the mile contest on October 3 – attempting to score for the first time since landing last year’s Fillies’ Mile over course and distance.

Having filled third spot in both the 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, Quadrilateral finished one place further back when dropped down to Group Three company for her latest outing in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.

Charlton said: “The only race for her at this stage is the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

“If she is well we will be heading there.

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“I thought she needed the race at Sandown, because she had her setback and she just blew up.”

Headman, who trainer Roger Charlton hope to have out before the end of the year (Julian Herbert/PA images)
Headman may run again before the end of the year (Julian Herbert/PA images)

The Beckhampton handler hopes to have dual Group Two winner Headman, who has not been sighted since failing to beat a rival in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting, back out before the end of the season.

He added: “There are no plans for Headman at the moment, but he has been in exercise for about six weeks.

“I couldn’t tell what we are doing going forwards, but hopefully we will be able to run him somewhere.”

A trip to Haydock on Saturday for the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes is on the cards for winning Ascot debutante Love Is You, who is a general 14-1 shot for the Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Charlton added: “We plan on sending Love Is You to Haydock on Saturday. I think the mile trip is fine for her, and she doesn’t want to be going further than that.

“She was well on top at the line at Ascot – but she needs more experience to find out whether she is a possible candidate for the Fillies’ Mile.

“Carrying penalties against some smart newcomers is not easy, and more often than not they get beat. She has got a good pedigree and hopefully will be a good filly for next year.”

Beheld who is likely to be put away until next season (Tim Goode/PA Images)
Beheld who is likely to be put away until next season (Tim Goode/PA Images)

The Classic-winning trainer is considering drawing stumps for the season with Beheld – who like Love Is You holds an entry in the Fillies’ Mile, having made her debut at Newbury a triumphant one last month.

He added: “I think Beheld won’t be out again until next year. She has won her maiden this year but she is growing a lot – however, we will have more discussion with connections.

“You don’t know what she beat – just because it was a Newbury maiden, it doesn’t necessarily mean the form is strong.”

Aspetar all set for long-haul odyssey

Roger Charlton believes Aspetar has the right constitution to handle a gruelling round-the-world trip as he seeks to strike gold in the 100th running of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The gelded son of Al Kazeem, who is currently in quarantine in Newmarket, will bid to claim victory in the valuable Group One prize, won by Winx on four occasions between 2015 and 2018,  on October 24.

With only one plane of horses heading to Australia from Europe this year for the Melbourne Spring Carnival, it has resulted in extra stops being added to the usual route.

While this will be the longest journey Aspetar – last sighted winning the Group Two York Stakes in July – has faced racing abroad, Charlton feels his trip to Hong Kong at the end of last year will help him handle it.

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Charlton said: “Aspetar is in quarantine in Newmarket until Wednesday week – then he has a long journey.

“From Stansted, they stop at Shannon to pick up the Irish horses (and) then go to the Middle East before going to Singapore and then on to Australia.

“It is a tough flight, and they are not allowed off the plane, so let’s hope he takes the travelling well.

“He travelled to Hong Kong last year, though, and he seemed okay doing that – but we won’t know for sure until nearer the time of the race.”

Trainer Roger Charlton, who states his son Tom, played a part in convincing him to send Aspetar to Australia (John Walton/PA Images)
Trainer Roger Charlton, whose son Tom played a part in convincing him to send Aspetar to Australia (John Walton/PA Images)

Helping give Charlton the encouragement to convince owner, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, to send Aspetar on his travels was his son Tom – who is currently working in Australia for John O’Shea.

He added:  “It came onto the radar as the season progressed, mainly through plenty of encouragement from my son Tom – who is out there.

“He knows the form of the local horses, and there are no horses coming from Japan this year.

“This is the sort of horse to do it with, because he is a tough gelding and the sharp track at Moonee Valley should suit him. He is not without a chance.”

Although Aspetar was forced to miss an intended outing in last month’s Juddmonte International at York with a blood analysis problem, Charlton believes it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

He added: “Missing York was not a frustrating thing.  (But) if we ran there he would have been running for third or fourth against a horse like Ghaiyyath, and all those other good horses, so we would have been playing for places.

“In hindsight, it was probably a good thing – because it has given him that bit extra time off ahead of this.”

Rhythm Master back out in Mill Reef

Prix Morny third Rhythm Master is one of eight colts declared for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

A runaway winner on his racecourse debut at Haydock in mid-July, Richard Fahey’s son of Dark Angel subsequently ran an excellent race to place behind a couple of Royal Ascot winners in Campanelle and Nando Parrado when stepped up to Group One level at Deauville.

The John Dance-owned juvenile will be well fancied to get back on the winning trail in this weekend’s Group Two feature in Berkshire.

Rhythm Master’s rivals include the unbeaten Bahrain Pride. Simon and Ed Crisford’s inmate made a successful start to his career at Windsor before following up in the Listed EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy last month.

Andrew Balding’s Fivethousandtoone was runner-up to Bahrain Pride at Windsor and renews rivalry off the back of a dominant display at Newcastle a little over a fortnight ago.

Line Of Departure completed a hat-trick for Roger Varian in a valuable sales race at Doncaster last week and is swiftly stepped up to Pattern class, while Mick Channon will be hoping his Group Three winner Cairn Gorm can bounce back from a below-par effort in the Morny.

Alkumait (Marcus Tregoning), Devilwala (Archie Watson) and First Edition (Clive Cox) complete the octet.

The Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral, not beaten far into sixth place in the Flying Five at the Curragh last Sunday, heads a nine-strong field for the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy.

The five-year-old is taken on by Cox’s recent Leicester scorer Tis Marvellous, Charlie Appleby’s Lazuli and Moss Gill from James Bethell’s yard, among others.

Group Three honours are also up for grabs in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup – formerly The Arc Trial.

The likely favourite for this one-mile-three-furlong contest is Extra Elusive, who bids to complete a Group Three hat-trick for Roger Charlton and Hollie Doyle follow strikes in the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock and the Winter Hill at Windsor.

With the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Balding’s Fox Chairman instead declared to run in Saturday’s Doonside Cup at Ayr, Extra Elusive faces just three opponents in Desert Encounter (David Simcock), Elarqam (Mark Johnston) and Gifts Of Gold (Saeed bin Suroor).

Trainer Stats Point To Tempus In Mile Handicap

The mile handicap at Newbury staged at 2.25pm on Saturday looks a relatively solvable puzzle with 10 runners set to go to post and plenty of reliable form on offer.

There are some top trainers represented here so let’s see how they have performed in Newbury handicaps over the past 5 years:

Trainer record in Newbury handicaps for trainers represented in this race

As you can see, William Haggas and Roger Charlton not only stand out from a win percentage perspective (30.91% and 26.67% respectively) but they are also the top trainers with representatives in this race when it comes to P&L (48.63 and 22.38 respectively). They are the only two of these trainers to have been profitable to follow blindly in handicaps.

Looking at class 2 handicaps specifically now:

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Trainer record at Newbury in class 2 handicaps

Roger Charlton now jumps ahead of William Haggas with a 38.46% strike rate which is almost 3 times as strong as that of Haggas. Charlton is the only one of these trainers producing a profit in class 2 handicaps at Newbury and a very healthy profit at that (31 win profit).

The data is a bit more limited here but it certainly seems Roger Charlton is sending his better handicappers to Newbury whereas Haggas is mopping up some of the lower grade handicaps.

Let’s take a look at the runners from the Haggas and Charlton yards in this race. William Haggas runs Jahbath whilst Roger Charlton saddles Tempus.

Jahbath is 4 from 5 on the all weather and 0 from 2 on turf but that doesn’t tell the whole story. His turf runs have bookended his career to date with his debut effort coming at Salisbury in a race where he only narrowly lost out to Clara Peeters who would go on to rate in the high 80s. He was conceding experience and 6lbs on that day so it was clearly a strong effort.

His most recent turf run came after a 476 day break and although beaten more than 5 lengths, he was a creditable enough 4th on soft ground at Haydock over this one mile trip. How much he’ll improve with that run under his belt on slightly better ground is difficult to gauge.

Tempus hasn’t run for 302 days which is an unknown so it’s worth comparing Roger Charlton’s record with fresh horses in handicaps with his overall handicap record.

Roger Charlton's record in handicaps since 2009 with runners returning from a 60+ day break

Roger Charlton's record in handicaps since 2009 with all runners

 

Since 2009 Roger Charlton has had 294 handicap runners returning from a 60+ day break and they have produced a 16.67% win rate and a 50.18 win P&L. Comparing that to all his handicap runners in this time, the strike rate is slightly improved at 17.95% but the P&L is –48.43. The market is clearly underestimating Roger Charlton horses after a break. It’s worth noting of course that a 302 day break is pretty extreme and the horse has obviously had some issues keeping him off the track.

Tempus has only had one run in handicap company and that was a slightly disappointing 4th, beaten 1.5 lengths at Wolverhampton over their extended mile. He had previously beaten Lyndon B, subsequently rated 97, giving that horse 6lbs. Given Tempus only has a mark of 91 it’s probably a fair assumption that the most recent run wasn’t his best form and whatever issue caused him to miss 10 months of racing probably affected him during that race.

Roger Charlton’s record in Newbury handicaps, and Newbury class 2 handicaps in particular, are quite enlightening. The fact that the market seems to be offering value on his runners after a break adds confidence to the feeling that Tempus might be underestimated here. His most recent turf effort, in testing conditions, suggests he is well handicapped and he could take all the beating in this race on Saturday afternoon, which is live on ITV Racing.