Racing: Suez can topple unbeaten Damson

It is not just Messrs Wachman, Jarvis, Fanshawe, Stoute, Loder et al who will have their beady eyes fixed on today's two 'sighters' to next year's Classics, the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Somerville Tattersall Stakes.

Behind the scenes, assorted commercial breeders will be watching the two Newmarket contests with the glittering red gaze of famished wolves. For the right result today could add an extra nought to the bank balance next week, when young siblings to some of this afternoon's contenders are due to come under the hammer at Europe's premier yearling auction.

Provided his four legs point in more or less the right direction, a King Charlemagne half-brother to Damson is already sure to make more than the €160,000 (£109,000) the unbeaten two-year-old star cost at an Irish sale last year. The same applies to the Fasliyev half-sister to another filly, Jewel In The Sand, who had a price tag of €65,000. Of the colts, Walkonthewildside, a 160,000-guinea yearling, has a Sadler's Wells half-brother on offer, and Santa Fe, who fetched 210,000 guineas a year ago, a half-brother by Marju.

The dearest of the juveniles running today is the impeccably-bred Suez, a Green Desert filly originally from the famed Meon Valley nursery in Hampshire. To secure her a year ago, Sheikh Mohammed had to shell out 480,000 guineas, but perhaps unsurprisingly, for her dam Repeat Warning is a daughter of the legendary matron Reprocolor, dam of Colorspin, Bella Colora and Cezanne, grand-dam of Kayf Tara, Opera House, Zee Zee Top, Stagecraft and Mona Lisa.

If Suez had not taken a single step on the track she would still have been worth her purchase price as a potential broodmare. But, in fact, she goes to today's Group 1 feature two for two. Should she emerge as victrix, it will be standing room only in the Tattersalls sales ring next Thursday night when Meon Valley offers her half-sister by Polish Precedent, sire of Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Rakti.

The clash between Suez, Damson and Soar in the Cheveley Park Stakes should be one to savour on the first of four top-class days' sport, first on the Rowley Mile and then in the Bois de Boulogne. It says much for their class that the remaining four fillies in the six-furlong race, winners of 11 races between them, including a Group 2 and a Group 3, are dismissed as virtual no-hopers in betting.

Damson is, so far, the season's plum youngster. After two victories from as many races in Ireland, the daughter of Entrepreneur burst upon the British scene with her sensational success in the Queen Mary Stakes, cutting down Soar in a matter of strides to score by three lengths. She has already won at today's highest level, and against colts to boot, when she beat subsequent Group 2 winner Oratorio in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. The worth of her Royal Ascot success was emphasised when Soar came out and won the Princess Margaret and Lowther Stakes.

But there are perhaps enough reasons to think that SUEZ (nap 2.25) may be the best value today. Damson's blinding change of gear was missing in her last run; she was determined and workmanlike, rather than brilliant, and it may be that six furlongs is now the minimum requirement for one bred to get a mile or more. Soar has been under a slight health cloud recently and may need some ease in the ground to show her very best. There has been no crisis for Suez, though. She will love the fast ground, has pace to burn, her recent homework has been indicative of upward mobility and her stable, that of Michael Jarvis, could hardly be in better form.

Since its inception in 1899, just 13 Cheveley Park Stakes winners have progressed to take the 1,000 Guineas, most recently Sayyedati 12 years ago. But that is not to say the six-furlong contest is a poor guide to future top-class miling distaffers; since Sayyedati, placed fillies include three winners of the Guineas - Harayir, Cape Verdi and Russian Rhythm - and two of the Coronation Stakes, Crimplene and Sophisticat. In addition, 21 Cheveley Park winners have finished second or third in the first fillies' Classic.

Two former Cheveley Park Stakes graduates have sons running in today's Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes, a seven-furlong contest that has spotlighted the likes of Grandera, Where Or When and Bachelor Duke in recent runnings. Walkonthewildside is out of the 1998 winner, Wannabe Grand and Crimson Sun (3.00) out of Crimplene, third a year later.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Subpoena

(Newmarket 3.00)

NB: Clueless

(Newmarket 4.05)

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