Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cheka Set to Cash in; Racing Preview

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cheka Set to Cash in; Racing Preview

Article excerpt

Byline: NAOMI MATTHEW

THE CHEKA can arrest a lS engthy losing run and gain a richlydeserved success at Haydock tomorrow.

Eve Johnson Houghton looked to have a potential star on her hands when this Xaar gelding finished second in the Solario Stakes as a juvenile back in 2008, but things have not really gone to plan since.

He missed his shot at Classic glory through injury the following year and while he was an impressive winner of a conditions event when he did get to the track, he subsequently suffered another problem that kept him on the sidelines until April last year.

There was little disgrace in being beaten by Paco Boy in two starts over a mile last term but he then proved a touch disappointing before cheekpieces seemed to spark him back to life in the autumn.

Johnson Houghton feels he has no need of the headgear this year and that opinion has been borne out with two creditable efforts so far.

The five-year-old only went down by a short head to solid Pattern performer Lolly For Dolly in Irish Group Three on his return while a more progressive rival foiled him in Listed company at Windsor last time.

There does not appear to be a similarly unexposed performer in the Timeform Jury Stakes (3.35) and although Kakatosi is a major threat, preference is for The Cheka.

Vita Nova holds some big entries later in the year so she really should be winning the EBF New Approach Grosvenor Casinos Pinnacle Stakes (3.05) if she is to realise those kind of aspirations.

Winner of each of her three starts to date, Henry Cecil has seen fit to enter her in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly later in the year, a fact which speaks volumes about the regard in which she is held.

It is a long way from an impressive handicap win at Newmarket earlier in the month to Group One company, and this Listed heat should prove the correct next step on the learning curve. …

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