HORSE RACING FIXTURES AND RESULTS
HORSE RACING FEATURE
Ratings Update: Newmarket Cambridgeshire Meeting 2016
Adam Brookes reviews the key performances on Timeform ratings after the three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket.
It's been a busy few days in British racing, so let’s get straight down to it. There were 25/1-shocks in both the Group 1 races at Newmarket on Saturday, with The Last Lion beating the short-priced Blue Point in the Middle Park Stakes and the odds-on Lady Aurelia only third behind Ballydoyle pair Brave Anna and Roly Poly in the Cheveley Park Stakes. The Last Lion was making his tenth start in the Middle Park and improved a chunk (now 114 from 106) to score by three-quarters of a length on his first try in a Group 1. It’s hard to figure where the improvement came from having come up short in lesser group races over the course of the season, but tactics obviously played a big part, with The Last Lion at an advantage in setting soft fractions. That said, he’s now won two of his three races over six furlongs and there's no reason why he won't hold his own in the top three-year-old sprint races next season, especially as he’s wonderfully tough. Blue Point couldn't confirm his Gimcrack superiority over the winner, but he was not seen to such good effect in a more tactical affair and the result of the York race is arguably still the best guide to his merit relative to The Last Lion. Blue Point remains with a high rating—now 120 from 121p—while the third-place Mehmas will likely retire to stud with a rating of 115.
Brave Anna not only got on track—after finishing sixth in both the Debutante and Moyglare Stud Stakes—but proved better than ever (now 115 from 103) as she beat her better-fancied stablemate by a short head. Brave Anna was well suited by being waited with off the strong gallop set by Lady Aurelia and, as such, was probably seen to something like maximum effect. Her best form is at six furlongs, though her strength at the finish here - not to mention her pedigree - suggests it was something other than the seven-furlong trip which was responsible for those two poor runs. Roly Poly confirmed her improvement from the Lowther (now 115+ from 113) and maybe deserves a bit of extra credit considering she raced closer to the strong gallop than Brave Anna. Trips beyond six furlongs are unlikely to pose her any problems and she’ll obviously deserve her place in the Guineas next year (or a trial beforehand if connections choose). Lady Aurelia overdid things a shade into a headwind over the stiff six furlongs and was over a stone below the form she showed when winning the Queen Mary (also found to have bled). She’s now difficult to rate confidently and has been left on 127, with the Commonwealth Cup reportedly her big target for 2017, though a return to five furlongs will probably represent her best chance of reproducing the high-class effort she put up at Royal Ascot.
There was a more predictable result in the Group 2 Royal Lodge earlier on the card as favourite Best of Days (now 107p) prevailed in a tight finish from the maiden The Anvil (107p) and dead-heaters Arcada and Sea Fox (both 105). Best of Days was suited by the step up to a mile and resumed winning ways without needing to do much more than repeat the form that saw him go close in the Acomb. He was made to work a bit harder than his SP might've suggested (heavily backed 6/5), though in fairness the race wasn't really conducive to a flashy performance and he remains with potential. For reference, it usually takes around a 10 lb better effort to win the Racing Post Trophy. The Anvil finished where he did in spite of the way the race took shape (came from even further back than Best of Days) and middle distances are sure to be his thing in 2017.