Rory Delargy is on tipping duty on the first day of Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting...
"Cable Bay may have shown himself short of the standard required to compete for highest honours, but he's a rock-solid performer at this level, and each of his last 3 runs has produced a performance which would beat anything achieved by any of his rivals here."
Readers of a certain vintage will remember the hook to Sister Sledge's eponymous 1985 hit. It may well be that racing's most famous Frankie has been wondering "do they remember me" at various times in the past year, with his oddly-feted comeback nearly derailed before it began, and not really gathering a full head of steam despite his gaining a welcome retainer to ride for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani. It's been thin pickings on the pattern-race front, too, with his only domestic success at the upper echelons coming in the less-that-grandly-titled "Sheila Madden's 60th Birthday Winter Hill Stakes".
Things are looking up for Mr Dettori, though, with a Group 1 win courtesy of the exciting Treve on the anniversary of his infamous écart de conduite, and corresponding dreams of Arc success, which would eradicate the painful memories of last September. He also looks to have a strong chance of gaining his first juvenile pattern success since 2011 when he rides Cable Bay for Charlie Hills in the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at 15:40 today.
Cable Bay may have shown himself short of the standard required to compete for highest honours, but he's a rock-solid performer at this level, and each of his last 3 runs has produced a performance which would beat anything achieved by any of his rivals here. That profile ought to make him a short-priced favourite, but the natural desire of the racing aficionado to rank potential over proven performance means that the likes of Championship and Silent Bullet are snapping at his heels. They are the "sexy" horses, but they still have to show that they have the same substance as the selection.
Championship is interesting, having been earmarked as Richard Hannon's main hope for the Coventry after an impressive debut, but he was well held at Royal Ascot and has plenty to prove now. Hannon has won this race in three of the last four years, but all of those winners were hardened campaigners coming off recent runs, and a Hannon juvenile reappearing after a layoff is a negative for me. Silent Bullet is unexposed, having beaten Safety Check at Haydock on just his second start. That looked a good performance, but the runner-up has shown himself to be no battler, and that win may flatter the Godolphin colt. All in all, it would be surprising if Cable Bay didn't go very close indeed, and he looks seriously overpriced at morning odds.
In the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes at 16:15, the market is dominated by Caucus and Repeater, with the latter coming out best on Timeform figures after a good third to Times Up in the Doncaster Cup last time. A line through the winner makes him almost an identical horse to Caucus , who was a place behind Times Up in York's Lonsdale Cup on his latest outing. With David O'Meara's new recruit receiving weight from the penalised Gosden runner, he is the logical choice to win, but it's rarely that simple, and the factor which swings the verdict in favour of Caucus is his superior reliability, something which bare ratings cannot express.
Caucus' only poor run this year was when held up in a messy Goodwood Cup, but otherwise has been a model of consistency since stepped up to staying trips. On the other hand, Repeater has a pair of standout efforts on his card, and both of those have come in the Doncaster Cup. The fact that he ran the race of his life in the contest last year for Sir Mark Prescott, only to finish down the field in a Yarmouth handicap on his next outing, militates against his chances of backing up that latest effort.