Noseda has a Grand design

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The Independent Online
HE'S SMOOTH, smiley and ever so slightly insincere, but just for once, it's not Derek Thompson. The Prime Minister will make his keynote address to the Labour Party Conference this afternoon, which has forced the Cheveley Park Stakes card at Newmarket to undergo some contortions to ensure coverage by Channel 4. The first three races, including the feature event, will be separated by 90 minutes' oratory from Blackpool. This will be annoying if the first three legs of your TV Yankee are all winners, but at least offers a chance to ponder whether Tony Blair or Kieren Fallon has done more to effect the redistribution of wealth.

Fallon, as it happens, won the Cheveley Park 12 months ago on David Loder's Embassy, who immediately shot to the top of the 1,000 Guineas betting but has not seen a racecourse since. She is far from being the only winner of the race in recent seasons who has failed to develop into a three-year- old of Classic quality, which is a point to bear in mind when the PRs bandy about their Guineas quotes after today's contest.

It is unfortunate too that Bint Allayl, the best juvenile filly seen out so far, is missing from today's field, and some might say that this is a disappointing renewal of the Cheveley Park. But not, if they have any sense, within earshot of Jeremy Noseda, who will saddle Wannabe Grand, his first runner in a British Group One race.

Noseda was a key figure in the Godolphin operation when Lammtarra was cleaning up in Europe's best middle-distance events, and nothing irritates him quite like the denigration of Group One races. "It's very easy for people to make comments," he said yesterday, "but I was very close to Lammtarra when the press were all saying what a bad Derby he'd won.

"It's only when you're working with horses that you realise how difficult it is to win these races. They're Group One races. They all take a lot of winning."

Wannabe Grand is the form horse today, judged on her second place behind Bint Allayl in the Lowther Stakes at York, but she is unlikely to start favourite. That privilege will probably belong to Circle Of Gold, who is trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam and has started odds-on for all three of her races, winning two and finishing second in the other.

Chapple-Hyam has seen most of his best two-year-olds of recent seasons sold to race for Godolphin at three, so he may approach today's race with mixed feelings. Whether Circle Of Gold is in the same class as horses like Cape Verdi and City Honours seems a little doubtful, though, but she will certainly make the market for punters who want to back WANNABE GRAND (nap 2.05). Noseda's runner is much more exposed, but was a good fourth in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, a place ahead of Sunday's big race winner, Sunspangled. The 4-1 with William Hill is a very fair price.

The other interesting juvenile event of the day is the Houghton Sales Stakes, a bonus-laden contest for graduates of last year's Houghton Sale. These races are becoming more common, but what they often advertise is the extraordinary range of talent to be found among the lots offered for sale even at a top auction. Today's race is no different, with horses of very variable ability in opposition, although Smart Savannah (next best 3.45) is one of the few who should prove to have been a shrewd buy.

Kewarra (1.05) can reward a small interest, but the serious punting event of the week is Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which Andre Fabre now expects to be two-handed. Sagamix, the Prix Niel winner, will be joined by Limpid, an unlucky fifth in the International Stakes at York, who will be supplemented at a cost of FF40,000. "They are both nice horses, although you wouldn't put them in the world-beater category," Fabre said yesterday. "But then, how many Arc contenders this year correspond to that definition anyway?"