Mick Fitzgerald: I’m backing the Cougar to pounce fast and late at Newmarket on Friday

The Ch4 presenter marks your card at the Cambridgeshire Festival at HQ and fancies a Ballydoyle contender in the last on the box

When a jockey get the news that they are no longer first choice it’s a real kick in the guts. Especially when you’re not expecting it.

James Doyle will no doubt be feeling hurt about his side-lining at Godolphin but he has a choice to make.

He can either sulk and throw his toys out of the pram or keep the head down, work hard and get on with it. Doyle has worked hard to get where he is today, too hard to throw it all away on by taking the hump.

I’ve no doubt he will get plenty of rides from different trainers in the future and if needs any motivation – he should look at Silvestre de Sousa. He lost his job with Godolphin, regrouped , and went on to become champion jockey ….

Sprint over to all Friday’s action on PP.com

Ryan Moore teams up with William Haggas in the 1m Listed Rosemary Stakes and his mount Muffri’ha has been a little unlucky in her last couple of starts. With a clean run she should be very involved. Hughie Morrison’s Pirouette will be dangerous if they allow her to dictate matters from the front and could be value each-way.

John Gosden’s Journey looks to have the perfect chance for a repeat win in the 1m 4f EBF Nayef Stakes after taking this contest last year. Frankie Dettori rides and she will take a bit of pegging back. Of the others, Pandora is a bit quirky but is decent on her day. If she gets a clean break from stall 11, could be one for the places.


The first of the big two-year-old races of the weekend is the 7f Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes and Fair Eva looks the one to beat. There doesn’t seem to be anything of the calibre of Queen Kindly (entered Saturday) in this contest so she should get back on the winning trail. Richard Hannon’s Nations Alexander should improve for the step up to 7f trip and can chase the likely favourite home.

The Joel Stakes is a trappy little heat where Nathra just heads the market. She was second in the French 1,000 Guineas behind La Cressoniere (having previously finished fifth at Newmarket). She’s decent and will probably take all the beating but I am having a little on Ballydoyle’s Cougar Mountain.

He’s a character, but this trip and track will bring out the best in him and the race could be set up for him to pounce late. His second-last run at Leopardstown gives him the beating of Custom Cut and he’s twice his price of Godolphin’s runner.

If he puts in all in he can hit the places at least and may even cross the line in front.


What do you think?