Cheek can 'bear' its teeth for Lyons team
Irish raider to prosper and complete good week for Atzeni
Ryan Moore will today endeavour to work his unfussy magic aboard two contrasting juveniles for Aidan O’Brien.
Moore’s first bookings for the Ballydoyle kingpin since returning from injury are Deauville in the Royal Lodge Stakes and Alice Springs in the Cheveley Park Stakes. The latter event is one of two Group Ones on this afternoon’s Newmarket card.
It is a decent renewal of the six-furlong contest, and plenty of observers will have been taken by Alice Springs’ fine turn when third in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Settled in on that occasion, she finished well in a first-time hood to press her highly-regarded stablemates Minding and Ballydoyle. She was beaten little more than a length, and left the impression that there would be more to come yet.
With Moore up now, Alice Springs might well deliver what would be a first Cheveley Park victory for O’Brien.
However, she may have been a little flattered by her proximity to the principals at the Curragh, as she was ridden to get home and only put into the race late.
This drop back to six furlongs wouldn’t be sure to suit, so, while Moore’s booking is an obvious bonus, Alice Springs might come up short again, as she has done on her last three starts.
The form of Illuminate and Besharah ties in closely. Both have live chances and are priced accordingly, and it may be the second Irish-trained runner that represents the best value in the race.
In 2011, Ger Lyons won this with Lightening Pearl, a filly that was owned by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Pearl Bloodstock and was supplemented for the Newmarket feature.
Similarly, Bear Cheek is owned by Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar Racing and Lyons sanctioned her £16,000 supplementary entry for this.
That decision won’t have been taken lightly, and it’s worth noting that the sheikh’s Simple Verse was also added late to the St Leger field at an inflated cost – a gamble that yielded dividends for connections and jockey Andrea Atzeni on Wednesday when the filly was re-instated as the winner after an appeal.
By Kodiac, which sired last year’s Cheveley Park heroine Tiggy Wiggy, Bear Cheek impressed in her first two starts over five furlongs, latterly in a Curragh Group Three.
While she might not have beaten any superstars, the form is solid, and her subsequent Flying Childers defeat at Doncaster was not without genuine promise.
Over the minimum trip again, she got a little outpaced around the halfway point, before keeping on to be fourth behind the Group One runner-up, Gutaifan.
Again, the form is solid, and the manner in which Bear Cheek responded for pressure was encouraging, albeit she never looked like winning. Today, then, she steps up in trip, and that could help her cause considerably.
At odds of up to 10/1 on decent ground, Atzeni’s mount looks considerably overpriced.
Deauville is a more precocious partner for Moore in the Royal Lodge. This is an intriguing edition of the race that the mighty Frankel danced up in five years ago, with John Gosden’s Foundation an un-flashy colt that might be the sort to keep doing enough to stretch his 100pc record to three.
Deauville is also two from two, having seen off Sanus Per Aquam in a Leopardstown Group Three in July, when the pair drew clear of the remainder.
A Galileo full-brother to David Simcock’s smart middle-distance campaigner The Corsican, this exciting prospect will relish this step up to a mile, so odds of 11/10 seem more than fair.
Jessica Harrington revealed yesterday that Jezki will not race this season after suffering a leg injury.
It is a bad blow for Harrington, not least given the way in which her 2014 Champion Hurdle hero dominated when stepped up in trip at Aintree and Punchestown last term.
Jezki looked a solid ante-post market leader for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham, and the only consolation is that he’s just seven years old.
With Hurricane Fly retired, the reigning World Hurdle victor Cole Harden beatable and the 2014 winner More Of That plagued by issues, the three-mile rank is wide-open.
As such, Willie Mullins might give Annie Power – second in 2014 and unlucky when falling in the mares’ race in March –another stab at the open Grade One. Maybe the smart money, though, would be on his Nichols Canyon at up to 14/1.
While he was held by Windsor Park at Cheltenham in March, his impressive wins at Aintree and Punchestown suggested that he could yet be a real force in staying company.