The attention of the horse racing world may mainly be focused on Longchamp this weekend, but there’s still plenty of decent horse racing taking place in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The main event of the weekend is the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, and Laurens could be many punters idea of a banker after she beat the now retired Alpha Centauri in Ireland last month.
However, before then, you can also enjoy Listed Race action from Ascot and Dundalk on Friday, with Ascot hosting Group Race and Listed Race action on Saturday, whilst Redcar hosts the Listed Bernborough Stakes on Saturday. Meanwhile, high-class jumps racing takes place on Friday and Saturday at Gowran Park, with the PWC Champion Chase being the main highlight.
Ascot Friday 5 October
Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes
The Noel Murless Stakes is a Listed Race run over 1 mile 6 furlongs and 34 yards. The race is named after the legendary nine-time champion flat trainer and was established in 2002, though it was run at Newmarket up to and including 2010. Since it’s move to Ascot in 2011, the race’s highest-profile winners have been Nichols Canyon, who went on to become a top hurdler, and Big Orange who went on to win both Goodwood Cup and Ascot Gold Cup. John Gosden has trained two of the last five winners of the race and he could be represented by Sevenna Star. Another entry to catch the eye is India, who runs for the same connections as Big Orange.
Dundalk Friday 5 October
iCopy Irish EFF Star Appeal Stakes
The Star Appeal Stakes is a seven furlong Listed Race run on the Polytrack. It is named after the Iris-bred but German trained horse named Star Appeal that was the first German horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1975. The last two winners have been Ambassadorial and Riyazan. Aidan O’Brien has a potentially interesting runner in Old Glory, with the Frankel-sired two-year-old winning his only start to date.
Gowran Park Friday 5 October
Pat Walsh Memorial Irish EBF Mares Hurdle
This 2 miles 2 furlong Listed Hurdle Race for mares has been dominated by top Irish National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins in the last two years with wins for Airlie Beach and Mystic Theatre. He also looks to have a great chance of winning the nearly €20,000 first prize once again as he has the high-class pair of Good Thyne Tara and Glens Harmony entered, with the latter second in the Listed Bumper on the card last season.
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mucklemeg Mares Flat Race
This two-mile Listed bumper also provides trainer with a chance to win a prize that will pay most of the year’s training fees and, again, it’s no surprise that Willie Mullins claimed it last year with Ains Va La Vie. Mullins also has some useful entries this year in the shape of the unbeaten pair of Queen Boulevard and Scagleitti, whilst Yukon Lil is a potential third arrow for his bow.
Ascot Saturday 6 October
Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Rous Stakes
The Rous Stakes is a Listed Race for horses aged three and older that takes place over five furlongs. It was established in 1988 and its most famous winner is the three-time winner Blyton Lad. Trainer Brian Smart saddled three different winners in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and could rely on Mythmaker here. However, he has something to find with the likes of Mr Lupton, Muthmir, and Judicial, three horses that could make this one of the best renewals of the Rous Stakes in recent years.
Stella Artois Cumberland Lodge Stakes
The Cumberland Lodge Stakes is open to horses aged three and older and is a Group 3 Race that takes place over a trip of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 211 yards. Named after the famous Cumberland Lodge Stud, it was first run in 1952. Famous winners include Shardari, Moon Madness, Drum Taps, Nayef, and Sixties Icon. First Eleven and Communique are disputing favouritism and their trainers John Gosden and Mark Johnston will be hoping to claim a first win in the race. However, watch out for Game Starter if he runs, as his trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has won two of the last five renewals.
John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes
The Bengough Stakes is a Group 3 Race that is run over six furlongs and is open to horses aged three and older. It was first staged at Newmarket in 1986 but was transferred to Ascot in 2008. Notable winners include Hamas, Bahamian Pirate, Tropics, Shalaa, and Blue Point. This year’s renewal looks a good opportunity for former July Cup winner Limato to add another win to his CV, with interesting potential opponents including Projection, Dream Of Dreams, Gifted Master, and Laugh A Minute.
Neptune Investment Management British EBF October Stakes
The October Stakes is a Listed Race that is open to fillies and mares and is run over seven furlongs. The last three renewals have been won by Pelerin, Eternally, and One Master, and this looks a good opportunity for Eternally’s trainer John Gosden to get another win out of Laugh Aloud. However, she is rated just below the Dean Ivory trained pair of Eirene and Lucymai.
Newmarket Saturday 6 October
Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes
The Sun Chariot Stakes is a Group 1 contest for fillies and mares that takes place over a mile. Established in 1966, it is named after the winner of the 1942 Fillies Triple Crown. It has been won by horses such as Time Charter, Indian Skimmer, One So Wonderful, Attraction, Peeress, Saphresa, Esoterique, Alice Springs, and Roly Poly. French horses and horses trained by Aidan O’Brien have a tremendous record in the race. This year, the French could be represented by Winds Chimes who is trained by Andre Fabre, whilst Aidan O’Brien could run Clemmie, Happily, and I Can Fly.
However, the multiple Group 1 winning filly Laurens should prove hard to beat if in the same form as when beating Alpha Centauri last time in Ireland, and she’s already a course and distance winner.
Redcar Saturday 6 October
Racing UK EBF Stallions Guisborough Stakes
The Guisborough Stakes is a Listed Race run over seven furlongs that is open to horses aged three and older. It was first run in 2003, since when the likes of Eton Forever, Top Notch Tonto, and Jallota have added their names to the role of honour. This year’s renewal is a potentially classy affair, with the likes of Above The Rest, Emmaus, Mankib, Oh This Is Us, and Tabarrak all rated within a few pounds of each other.
Gowran Park Saturday 6 October
PWC Champion Chase
The Grade 2 Gowran Park Champion Chase usually gets the juices flowing for the forthcoming National Hunt Season. It is open to horses aged five and older and is run over 2 miles 4 furlongs. It was first run in 1998 when it was won by Dorans Pride. Since then. Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kicking King has added his name to the role of honour, whilst Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe on the race four years in succession between 2011 and 2014. This year, the last two winners A Toi Phil and Ballycasey could bid to become the second horse to win the race more than once. However, this could also be an ideal early-season opportunity for last year’s Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos.