Winter proverbially rides in on the tail of the last horse home in the St Leger but autumn, in racing terms, actually arrives with the turn in the going and the breakdown of Flat form-lines which September ushers in.
The September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday has been robbed of its star performer with the setback to Classic Cliche, who would have used this as a pre-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe target. His absence leaves not so much an Arc prep as a tryout for the Cambridgeshire, with little fear of the more optimistic entries picking up a penalty.
Halling has shown that the gap between the Cambridgeshire and Group class is not unbridgeable. He took the first leg of the autumn double for John Gosden two seasons ago off a handicap mark of just 93, 2lb lower than Ball Gown has been set this year. But the multiple Group One winner has since been transformed by Godolphin. Cezanne, winner of the 1994 Magnet Cup and Irish Champion Stakes for Michael Stoute, was a similar case.
Cezanne, now seven, no longer seems the force he was, but either he or the two remaining Godolphin entries, Kalabo and Wall Street, would be up to taking a trappy- looking September Stakes. The Dubai operation is becoming harder to pigeonhole as it expands and proves capable of improving and placing horses in the face of exacting competition, compared to its earlier wastage rates.
Peter Chapple Hyam's methods are more fathomable - his horses are fired up first time out and then pitched into pattern company with an optimism that might make Clive Brittain blush.
While the yard sometimes seems incapable of distinguishing between a Rodrigo and a Rambrino, it looks to have a genuine article in Royal Court. But his defeat at York by the St Leger market leaders, Dushyantor and Mons, confirmed that he requires the same give in the ground that brought out the best in his half-brother, Dr Devious.
In the Haydock Park Sprint, also on Saturday, the progressive Rambling Bear looks overpriced at 14-1 with Ladbrokes, granted a sound surface.
September Stakes: 119 Royal Court, 116 Cezanne, Kalabo, 115 Ela- Aristokrati, 113 Captain Horatius, 111 Wall Street, 110 Murajja, Sacrament, Salmon Ladder, 107 Quakers Fileld, 106 Bal Harbour, 105 Poppy Carew, 99 Ball Gown, 93 Lomberto, Sheer Danzig, 84 Remaadi Sun, 81 Step Aloft, - Mongol Warrior.
Haydock Park Sprint: 117 Hever Golf Rose, Lucayan Prince, 116 Miesque's Son, Rambling Bear, 115 Mind Games, 114 Catch The Blues, Danehill Dancer, 111 Iktamal, 108 Royal Applause, 106 Blue Duster, Cool Jazz, 102 Titus Livius, 101 Leap For Joy.Reuse content