After last week’s Cambridgeshire Meeting there’s yet more high quality racing taking place at Newmarket on Saturday. It’s the Sun Chariot Stakes that takes top billing and this looks a particularly interesting renewal of this Group 1. The Sun Chariot Stakes is open to fillies and mares aged three and older but of the 10 strong field only two are older than three. The bookies are struggling to separate two of those younger competitors – Wind Chimes and Laurens.
Sun Chariot Stakes Tips
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Laurens to Return Home with a Bang
Karl Burke has had some very good horses over the years but when he retires from training he’ll remember few of his charges as fondly as Laurens. Burke had had Group 1 success before Laurens turned up at Middleham but Burke speaking at Leopardstown after she won the Matron Stakes, Burke said it was, “probably the highlight of my career.”
The win at Leopardstown was Laurens’ fourth Group 1 success. Only one of them came on British soil though and her owner, John Dance, is desperate to see Laurens win at home. That’s why Laurens has been entered for the Sun Dance Stakes rather than heading to Longchamp this weekend. Her main rival, Wind Chimes, could also easily have had other plans.
Coolmore went as far as to pay £20,000 to supplement Wind Chimes for the Sun Chariot Stakes. Her trainer, Andre Fabre, was happy enough with her second place finish to Recoletos in the Prix Moulin to believe she has a real chance at Newmarket. There’s little doubt she is a real contender but there are some question marks.
Wind Chimes has never raced at Newmarket before nor has she won on the sort of good to firm ground expected on Saturday. She’s also yet to win at Group 1 level and has been hampered before in tactical races. By contrast, Laurens is a course and distance winner, has won on good to firm ground and can control races from the front to negate the impact of a tactical race. It will likely be close but the signs are pointing towards a fifth Group 1 win for Laurens at 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
Can Aljazzi Stand Up for the Mares?
Although three-year-olds dominate the field, older horses have won six of the last nine renewals of the Sun Chariot Stakes. Of the two mares in the field it’s Aljazzi who gets preference over Wilamina.
Aljazzi has had rides from some of the best jockeys around over the last couple of years but the lack of a regular partner seems to have made it tough for Marco Botti to get his tactics across. Generally speaking, she performs best when she’s held up but she’s not always been able to produce the sort of strong finish that we saw from her under William Buick when she won the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Aljazzi will need her best to overturn the leading pair in the betting but if Colm O’Donoghue safely navigates the first two thirds of the race, she can kick for home and claim at least a place at 20/1 with Coral.