Friday 21 September 2018

Qemah to restore some Gallic pride

Raider primed for Newmarket after French flops on Arc day

Raheen House (right), with Jamie Spencer up, gets the better of Weekender (Frankie Dettori) to win the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Raheen House (right), with Jamie Spencer up, gets the better of Weekender (Frankie Dettori) to win the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Aidan O'Brien appears a certainty to better his previous seasonal record for Group Ones but his gallop may be stalled in today's feature at Newmarket.

The champion trainer sends over Roly Poly and Alluringly for the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, a race stablemate Alice Springs took 12 months ago. The French have snared four of the last eight editions and in Qemah they have a lively hope.

At this stage of her career, it seems that the four-year-old is unlikely to abandon an irritating tendency to race freely. Indeed, she really ought to get much farther than a mile on pedigree, but that trip is generally enough the way she races.

Qemah came up short again in the Matron Stakes last time and she was behind Roly Poly previously, when Persuasive was fifth - today's favourite. Clearly, a case is easily made for any of the three, but there should be a pretty strong pace on, which can help Qemah.

Success would be welcomed by French horsemen, coming six days after a Chantilly flop (no French-bred or trained winner on the Arc card) that will doubtless have Gallic gurus searching into their souls.

Roly Poly would be a worthy winner. While in Winter's shadow earlier in the season, she has had a fine campaign, and if people argue that War Front horses do not train on, she certainly was not listening.

The cheer of our friends from the land of Napoleon may not end there, with Andrew Fabre's Waldgeist looking something of a good thing in Ascot's Gigaset Cumberland Lodge Stakes. There is just a small concern that the winning miler is stretched by 12 furlongs but if one goes back to his Irish Derby run, just two lengths behind Capri, he did have interference to deal with when making his bid.

The first televised heat, the Hope And Homes For Children Rous Stakes, is smart for a Listed affair. Rising 11, Mirza's enthusiasm nevertheless does not seem to have waned, and a couple of fifth-place finishes behind Take Cover last month advertise his claims here for Rae Guest.

Marie Of Lyon attempts to realise a hat-trick bid in the British EBF Breeders' Fillies Series Sprint Handicap. The bookmakers put Clear Water in at 33s here yesterday and, under a rider in Jamie Spencer who rides this course brilliantly, it could be a little long. Note her only win came at Newmarket and in Michael Wigham she has a shrewd handler.

Over at Ascot, Blue Point is another attraction in the Group Three John Guest Bengough Stakes, the news that his Ascot victim in May (Harry Angel) is to stay in training next year good for the game. Heavy ground did not look ideal for the Shamardal colt at Haydock, but Charlie Appleby's charge is a strong fancy now.

This race precedes the totescoop6 Challenge Cup, with the three-year-old Mojito out to prove ahead of the handicapper one more time. Dropping back to seven furlongs seems a positive for Willie Haggas's charge.

Redcar's totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy also features in the televised feast. This is a minefield but old allies Paul Hanagan and County Louth native Richard Fahey may have the answer in Crownthorpe, drawn in 19.

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