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Classic hopes set for HQ test

 Sep 28 2017

Proceedings at Headquarters kick off with the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes where Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore will typically team up with a likely favourite in the form of Nelson. He’s a different horse since switching to front-running tactics and produced a dominant win in a Group 3 at Leopardstown. He’s able to sustain a strong pace over a mile and is rapidly improving.

However, Herculean, a son of Frankel, could prove the value. He won on debut for Roger Charlton in an Ascot maiden in a fast time and is physically very impressive.

The Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes follows with a fascinating line-up of two-year-old fillies and again O’Brien and Moore will have the likely favourite with Clemmie.

A full sister to Churchill, Clemmie is now rapidly fulfilling her potential after two initial defeats. She followed up a Curragh Group 3 win with a very impressive win in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge over the track and distance and O’Brien won this last year with Brave Anna.

This time it’s Mark Johnston’s Threading who offers serious opposition after being superb in winning her maiden at Glorious Goodwood in a good time and following up with a Group 2 win in the Lowther at York. She won with plenty in hand and will only improve physically and is a very exciting prospect ahead of next season’s 1000 Guineas.

The Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes this time sees the colts race over the 1200 metres and Karl Burke’s Unfortunately, Richard Fahey’s Sands Of Mali and Sioux Nation will all vie for favouritism.

Sioux Nation has been a typical improver for Aidan O’Brien and was suited by quick ground on his last two starts winning the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot before the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes over this trip at the Curragh.

He’s got loads of speed but will be tested by Unfortunately who has been superb in winning his last two in France, adding a Group 2 win with a very impressive and easy win in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville

Sands Of Mali stepped up on his novice win on his second start when improving out of all recognition to comfortably win the Group 2 Gimcrack at York, while at a price Hey Jonesy can go well for Kevin Ryan. His York third can be massively upgraded as the race split into two groups and he comfortably won his side while being hugely inconvenienced by the draw.

The fourth race at Newmarket will be the Cambridgeshire Handicap itself which will be a typically wide-open affair. It’s a great night of racing and will be live on Sky Racing 1.

Richard Wade - Sky Racing

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