Weekend Review – Noble Mission Stars At Ascot

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at Ascot on Saturday where both Noble Mission and Lady Cecil followed in the footsteps of Frankel and Sir Henry Cecil, who both won the Champion Stakes a few years earlier.

It remains to be seen whether Noble Mission will run again, but one who will race again is Cirrus Des Aigles, who disappointed in being unplaced behind Noble Mission, but will now go for a fifth spell in Hong Kong this winter.

Also heading to the Far East is Gordon Lord Byron, who showed a gutsy attitude in arriving late at Ascot to win the big sprint, and goes for further glory in December’s Hong Kong Sprint.

Dermot Weld’s Forgotten Rules is another set for more action, following his victory at Ascot in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup, and has been punted into 3/1 favouritism for next year’s Ascot Gold Cup.

There was also plenty of ante-post action from Friday’s big meeting for juveniles at Newmarket, where Aidan O’Brien’s, Together Forever, was one of three big-race winners to get the better of the trio of red-hot favourites – all of whom sunk in the mud.

Together Forever made it a 1-2 for Ireland in the Group 1 Fillies Mile, in the process earning a quote of 16/1 for next season’s 1,000 Guineas. Punters should note, however, that only Bosra Sham in 1996 won this race prior to landing the Guineas, and as a daughter of Galileo, it could well be that the 16/1 for the Oaks offers more value.

Elsewhere, Godolphin’s, Charming Thought beat Ivawood narrowly in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and is 25/1 for the 2,000 Guineas

, although Ivawood remains the ante-post second favourite at 12/1, despite this defeat.

Belardo meanwhile, won the Group 1 Dewhurst to take his record to 3-5, and will be interesting for the 2,000 Guineas at 12/1 if we have a wet spring – his high knee action suggests he loved the soft ground.

There was also plenty of Flat action abroad, where Sir Michael Stoute’s, Hillstar, won the Grade 1 Canadian International under Ryan Moore – a race in which Brown Panther ruined his chance by bolting before start.

Charles Hills’, Just The Judge also took a Grade 1 in Canada under Jamie Spencer and could now go for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare, where she is around the 8/1 mark.

But, with the leaves continuing to fall, the jumps season is going through its early paces, including at Cheltenham last Saturday, where Johns Spirit won same race he won last year, prior to his big handicap win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November. Could a repeat be on the cards at 10/1?

Roalco De Farges also took the 3m1f handicap chase for Philip Hobbs and could head back here next month, or go for the Badger Beer at Wincanton or 3m3f.

Sunday also witnessed a Nigel Twiston-Davies treble, including The New One, who made a perfect seasonal return and is 7/2 for the Champion Hurdle in March, though he heads next for valuable hurdle at Haydock on November 22. Victory at Haydock could well see the 7/2 vanish.

Finally at Kempton was the continued progression of trainer, Dan Skelton, who landed the Listed hurdle with Blue Heron, who goes for next month’s Greatwood Hurdle Cheltenham. His price will be interesting when betting opens – stay tuned for the latest odds…