Saturday sees the 2018 running of the prestigious Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes which shares its name with the powerful Newmarket stud farm currently home to leading sire Pivotal amongst others.
First held in 1899 and restricted to fillies, the Cheveley Park Stakes is the highlight for female juvenile sprinters in the UK and remains the only Group 1 6f contest in the UK restricted to two-year-old fillies.
Among the previous winners are racing great Pretty Polly (1903) while of the more recent winners Marwell (1980) went on to be a leading sprinter the following year while Natagora (2007) and Special Duty (2009) both took the prize back to France prior to returning the following year to record victories in the 1000 Guineas.
Last year’s winner Clemmie provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with successive winners of the race with the Ballydoyle handler having recorded a first victory in the race 12 months earlier through Brave Anna.
Newmarket trainer Michael Bell saddles the sole previous Group 1 winner in the field Pretty Pollyanna who recorded a third win in four career starts with a victory in France’s Prix Morny over this 6f distance at Deauville (good) last month. The daughter of Oasis Dream had earlier come home 7L clear of her rivals in a competitive looking Group 2 event over the same trip on the July course here the previous month.
Pretty Pollyanna (5/4 Bet365) has the forecast underfoot conditions to suit in this event but given the relatively short odds it may be better to look elsewhere for a value bet in this prestigious contest.
Runner-up to Pretty Pollyanna in France was John Quinn’s filly Signora Cabello, who was suffering just her second defeat in a six-race career that started with a fourth-place finish at Beverley over 5f at the end of April.
Signora Cabello, a winner of four of her six starts to date was a winner at Royal Ascot on good-to-firm going over 5f in June and followed up with a success on good going at Maisons-Laffitte over an extended 5f the following month.
The step up in distance to 6f didn’t appear to inconvenience the daughter of Camacho at Deauville last month and the price discrepancy between her and current favourite Pretty Pollyanna is too big too ignore and with the forecast underfoot conditions likely to suit and she represents a solid each-way bet at 9/2 with William Hill.
As previously mentioned, Aidan O’Brien has won the last two renewals of this contest and his Fairyland (8/1 Bet365) bids to provide the top trainer with a hat-trick in this competitive Group 1 contest.
The winner of three of her four starts to date the daughter of speed influence Kodiac followed up a solid third at Royal Ascot (a race in which she had Pretty Pollyanna back in fifth) by recording a first Group race victory in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes on good-to-firm ground at York last month.
Despite the victory connections may well have left the course slightly disappointed that the filly couldn’t put more than a nose between herself and her eight rivals that day and the form of that particular contest could be working out better.
Of more interest from the O’Brien yard is the Scat Daddy filly So Perfect (10/1 with William Hill), also a winner in Group company having taken out a Group 3 event over this 6f distance at The Curragh (good-to-firm) in early July having finished a close fourth behind Signora Cabello over the minimum distance at Royal Ascot prior to that.
The return to tackling fillies company should suit having finished half a length behind Advertise in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes on good ground in Ireland last month while at around the 8/1 mark she looks worth an each-way investment having proven herself at this level with the return to tackling her own sex a further positive.
Held up on that occasion the Exceed And Excel filly appeared to relish underfoot conditions and while the return to the forecast good ground isn’t ideal she has won on it in the past and looks capable of outrunning her 14/1 odds for local trainer William Haggas who took this race with Rosdhu Queen six years ago.