Two-year-old races in mid-season are always difficult to assess with those having already proven their ability up against others who have yet to show their hand. This pretty much sums up the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket on Friday, a high quality juvenile race for fillies only, run over six furlongs and probably better known to most racing fans by its old name, the Cherry Hinton Stakes.
This contest is nearly always won by a decent performer, the likes of the high-class subsequent UAE 1000 Guineas winner Gamilati having won in 2011, the subsequent Group 1 Juddmonte International heroine Arabian Queen having scored in 2014, and last term the smart Richard Hannon-trained Illuminate winning before finishing a close second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes later in the season.
Bletchley, Top Favorite for the Cambridge Stakes
Looking at the 14 fillies declared at the five-day stage of this year’s renewal, the Ralph Beckett-trained Bletchley very much catches the eye. The daughter of Makfi absolutely fell out of the stall at Royal Ascot last month in the Group 3 Albany Stakes, before flying home inside the final furlong, failing by just short-head to peg back Brave Anna. You would have to think that, had she jumped out of the stalls on terms with the others, Bletchley would have won that race.
If that effort at the royal meeting hasn’t left its mark on her then Bletchley has plenty going for her in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, with proven stamina, a clear change of gear, and after just two starts so far there is every chance there could be even better to come.
David Simcock 2 Contenders
David Simcock has two interesting fillies entered and the market would certainly guide as to just what is expected from whichever takes her chance in this hot contest. Pellucid, an attractive daughter of crack miler Excelebration, showed an impressive turn of foot when landing a modest Thirsk maiden on her racecourse bow in mid-June. She could be open to any amount of improvement, as could her stable companion Soul Silver, who looked green on her debut at Yarmouth but knuckled down well in the closing stages to prevail by a neck. Either of these two unexposed fillies could be far better than we have seen thus far.
Nations Alexander will bid to give the Hannon family their third winner of this race in the last seven years and looked to be going the right way when getting the best of the argument in heavy ground over course and distance last month in a listed contest. It’s hard to know whether the daughter of Dark Angel won despite the ground or because of it, but she represents an outfit who know how to get the very best out of their youngsters.
Frankie Dettori rides Asidious Alexander
Simon Crisford’s Asidious Alexander could do no more than win well on her debut at Doncaster recently and Frankie Dettori has already been booked, a possible sign that connections really mean business, while Godolphin’s Nasimi is one who will definitely have her supporters having beaten Nations Alexander by three lengths on her racecourse bow at Haydock in May.
The daughter of Shamardal hails from the in-form Charlie Appleby yard, is a thoroughly unknown quantity, and might well be the one to give Bletchley most to do.
Aidan O’Brien’s Roly Poly
Aidan O’Brien won this race back in 2007 with the Mick Kinane-ridden You’resothrilling and has both How and Roly Poly currently entered in the contest. Roly Poly appears the better of the pair so far having got the better of James Tate’s Seafront (also entered) in the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes just last week at the Curragh. That form though doesn’t look quite good enough to win at this level.
In the News
 skysports.com, Bletchley heads field for Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, 2016