Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes: Where will each runner finish?

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Fri 2 Oct 2020

The 12 declared runners for the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday could end being the dirty dozen because it looks like being a soggy 24 hours at Headquarters and the going is likely to be testing.

The official ratings suggests there is only 3lb between the six highest-rated runners in the line-up and there will be easier races to pick apart this weekend.

But it promises to be a cracker and with the horses likely to end up with some mud on their face, then I’m happy to end up with some egg on mine. Here’s how I think each runner will fare.

1ST: PEACEFUL (General odds: 7-2)

Aidan O'Brien told us more about Peaceful after his Irish Guineas triumph

Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore leave very few stones unturned but she’s had little racing. Perhaps she’s not the most robust or perhaps she’s in for a busy autumn. She’s shown no hint of being “soft” and so I fancy it will be the latter.

She was a decisive winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas in June; went down on her sword when a close third in the French Oaks (strong form) and had been off ten weeks before being collared late on by Champers Elysees in the Matron last time.

I'm inclined to mark up her Matron run - she was drawn widest of all and chased a strong pace - and fancy she will turn the tables on the winner with that run under her belt, especially given the stiffer test. She’s proven on the Rowley Mile and in the mud, so her chance is there for all to see.

2nd: TEREBELLUM (Odds: 5-1)

Watch a full replay of the Falmouth Stakes

She’s not got many miles on the clock and returns to the scene of her comfortable Dahlia Stakes success over 1m 2f in June.

Since then she’s had victory snatched away from her in the closing stages of the Queen Anne Stakes and Falmouth Stakes, hinting she might have won each time had a bit more use been made of her in muddling contests.

I like the fact she’s been off 85 days as she goes well fresh, plus her prominent style of racing is suited to the track. This will probably be the softest ground she has encountered but her dam was a winner on heavy going and her half-brother, Mount Wellington, was also at home in the mud.

It goes without saying that her ability to stay further will also be a plus given the likely underfoot conditions.

3rd: BILLESDON BROOK (Odds: 12-1)

Watch how Billesdon Brook beat Veracious last year

She evidently has a soft spot for the Rowley Mile, having won a good renewal of this race last year after landing the 1,000 Guineas the previous season when the next three home were all Group One winners.

She’s yet to win this term but has looked as good as ever, especially when splitting Nazeef and Terebellum in the Falmouth Stakes in July. Versatile regards the ground and back on her favourite patch, she seems sure to again make her presence felt.

4th: VERACIOUS (Odds: 8-1)

We’ve not seen much of her since her Falmouth Stakes victory last summer but she’s a smart cookie who beat all bar Billesdon Brook in last year’s running of this race before making a bold bid when fourth in the QEII on Champions Day.

She’s had a breathing operation since last year and presumably this has been the plan since she made a winning return in Listed company at Haydock in August.

Soft ground has not been a problem for her in the past and the Frankel filly promises to be in the thick of things.

5th: CHAMPERS ELYSEES (Odds: 7-2)

The Verdict: Angus McNae looks back at the Matron Stakes

She’s thrived on her racing this year and took her form to another level when pouncing from off the pace to beat some classy opposition in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last time.

However, I wonder whether the runner-up, Peaceful, was at her peak that day, while the third, Fancy Blue, the French Oaks and Nassau winner, seemed to find the mile on the sharp side.

My other concern for Champers Elysees is the straight mile at Newmarket, especially with the combination of a honest gallop and testing ground. She’s got a lot of speed and, in addition, swooping late at Headquarters can get complicated.

6th: HALF LIGHT (Odds: 11-1)

This race has been kind to French-trained challengers over the years and she’s evidently been pleasing her connections at home as she was supplemented for this on Monday.

She arrives on the up and is proven on soft ground, although her narrow defeat in a Group Two contest in Germany last time, at the hands of Dark Vision in a blanket finish, suggests she’s got to raise her game.

7th: NAZEEF (Odds: 13-2)

She was making it six wins on the spin when edging home in the Falmouth Stakes in July, having previously won in similarly tenacious style at Royal Ascot.

However, Nazeef has not reproduced that form on her past two starts at Goodwood or Deauville, with the longer trip not looking to be the issue. She just might have had enough for the year.

8th: FELICIANA DE VEGA (Odds: 16-1)

Feliciana De Vega cappped a fabulous day for Beckett at Newmarket last autumn

Lightly raced and relished the soft ground when winning the Radley Stakes at Newmarket a year ago, on the day when her trainer, Ralph Beckett enjoyed a dazzling 21,119-1 five-timer - but her subsequent absence has to be a concern.

Even if fitness and wellbeing are not an issue, this is much the toughest race she has contested.

9th: LADY BOWTHORPE (Odds: 40-1)

The daughter of Nathaniel has made big strides since her defeat in a handicap at Newmarket last autumn off a rating of 81.

Her emphatic Group Three success at Ascot in July is worth a second look and she wasn’t seen to best advantage when behind several of these at Sandown last time, when also carrying a penalty. Usually held up, the quicker they go the better her chances of picking up some pieces late in the scene.

10th: CLOAK OF SPIRITS (Odds: 20-1)

Confirmed her effectiveness on the Rowley Mile when landing the Listed Rosemary Stakes over course and distance last week, having previously been runner-up in the 1000 Guineas and third in the Rockfel.

She’s evidently in good heart and coped well enough with heavy ground at Deauville earlier this summer, but she looks vulnerable back in this higher grade and others are more persuasive.

11th: LAVENDER’S BLUE 7th: (Odds: 33-1)

Usually travels strongly in her races and was a creditable keeping-on fourth in this race last year.

It’s encouraging that she has seen her past two races at Sandown out well (not always been the strongest of finishers) but her form is a notch or two below several of these and soft ground also presents an unknown.

12th: FINAL SONG (Odds: 66-1)

This will be her tenth start of the campaign, with her only success coming on the opening night of the Dubai Winter Carnival over 7f in early January.

She’s still yet to convince that she really wants a mile, albeit she was a creditable fourth in the 1000 Guineas when only a length behind Cloak Of Spirits. It’s not really happened for her since then and the likely testing ground is not going to help her when it matters most.

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