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Cheveley Park Stakes preview

One of the highlights of the Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket is the first 2yo Group 1 race of the season, the Cheveley Park Stakes for fillies. Not sure I'd say it had the greatest honour roll with few of these winners going onto bigger things on the track, but this year the market is headed by two exceptional fillies

It's a warm welcome to aspiring journalist Adam Crooks, @acrooks95, making his first contribution to the blog.

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Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes
Group 1, 2yo fillies, 6f
Newmarket, £180,000
Saturday 1455 BST, 2355 AEST


Early favourite for the race is the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia, who burst onto the scene at Royal Ascot with a breathtaking seven-length win in the Queen Mary. That performance was over five furlongs, and this race was mentioned straight away as her main target of the season.

Lady Aurelia was next seen on track over in Deauville, stepping up to six furlongs in the Group 1 Prix Morny, facing male opposition for the first time in her career. Sent off the very warm 2/7 favourite, she made all of the running under Frankie Dettori and won the race in workmanlike fashion by three quarters of a length. Not as impressive as her Queen Mary romp, and for this reason I believe her optimum trip will be the minimum five furlongs. In the Queen Mary, Al Johrah was seven lengths behind in second, whereas in the Prix Morny she was only a length behind in fourth. Now it could be that Al Johrah improved with the step up to six furlongs, but I am going with the belief that Lady Aurelia's greatest asset is her speed and that she will be unable to show her best over six furlongs.

So, who could beat the American filly?

Only six runners have been declared for this Group 1, and we can safely discount the three outsiders. Brave Anna, a winner at Royal Ascot but bitterly disappointing since, the inexperienced Holy Cat, and Pellucid are all double-figure prices and will struggle with this step up in class.

That leaves two runners, the Richard Fahey-trained Queen Kindly, and Aidan O'Brien's Roly Poly.

Roly Poly has had a busy season so far, running six times. She has won half of her races; a maiden, a Group Three and a Group Two. Her last run was a valiant second in the Lowther Stakes at York, beaten three quarters of a length by Queen Kindly. While that was a good run, I feel she is now quite exposed with not a lot of improvement left to come, and minor honours is her best hope.

I am a big fan of Queen Kindly, daughter of the mighty Frankel, and believe she was in command the last day at York and could have won by further. She has plenty of speed and also sees her races out really strongly. Her only defeat thus far has came at Royal Ascot when finishing third behind Brave Anna on her first try at six furlongs. That was only her second career start and her lack of experience cost her that day, although she still ran a mighty race. After Royal Ascot she was stepped down in trip and class, running over five furlongs at Catterick, going off the eye-watering 1/16 favourite, winning easily by three lengths. This was a valuable racecourse outing for the filly, allowing her to gain vital experience. Sent off second favourite at York, she was up against fellow Frankel daughter Fair Eva, who was odds on favourite, and Queen Kindly was really impressive in winning.

Six furlongs seems her ideal trip, and my gut feeling tells me that she will be more effective over the distance than Lady Aurelia. 3/1 looks a nice price for the daughter of Frankel, and hopefully she produces the goods on Saturday.

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