It’s the start of a new week and we have Champions Day to look forward to on Saturday. Inside today’s main piece I am focusing on events at Newmarket’s Future Champions Weekend. Plus, I have a selection running at Musselburgh this afternoon.
Before all that. I can’t not comment on what I thought was an eyecatching jockey booking at the Curragh on Sunday.
Colin Keane To Ballydoyle?
Colin Keane Irish Champion Jockey is fighting out with Sean Foley to be top jockey in Ireland. He rode another double yesterday which now puts him four ahead of Foley in the race for the jockey’s title. However, of more interest to me was his three rides for Aidan O’Brien and he won on one of them, the 2-year-old Khartoum, a colt who looks yet another nice prospect for next year.
Granted Ballydoyle’s number 2 Seamie Heffernan was suspended at the weekend but Ballydoyle have several jockeys who they can call on. I just think it was significant that Colin Keane got the call. With the Covid-19 travel restrictions preventing Ryan Moore from coming over to Ireland for meetings like Sunday’s and my feeling that Ballydoyle/Coolmore are looking to the future. I wonder how long it is before the young jockey is offered the biggest job in British or Irish racing?
O’Brien dominates Dewhurst
This year’s Dewhurst looked a cracker on paper and favourite Thunder Moon took his place in the line-up, despite concerns over the soft ground.
The race was a triumph for Aidan O’Brien who had the one-two and landed his seventh Dewhurst in the process.
Frankie Dettori got the call up for St Mark’s Basilica and Ryan Moore was on Wembley. The two colts had finished third and second respectably behind Thunder Moon in the National Stakes last month.
Dettori always had his mount in a good position with cover in midfield. Taking it up a furlong out and despite drifting to his right in the final 110yds he held on to fend off the challenge of his stablemate.
I thought St Mark’s Basilica would appreciate the softer ground and I had advised him to Victor Value subscribers at 22/1 on Saturday morning. Always highly regarded he should train on but will he be at his best with ease in the ground?
Wembley didn’t have as good a passage as the winner and made his effort from further back. That said he was beaten by a better horse on the day. Another improver who should do well as 3-year-old.
Of the rest
The previously unbeaten Chindit, trained by Richard Hannon, looked the most likely of the home team. However, he was weak in the pre-race market. It was his first start on soft ground and the colt was never really travelling through the race. He eventually finished a well beaten ninth.
Thunder Moon who had shown an electric turn of foot to win the National Stakes. Was last off the bridle but the finishing kick we had seen at the Curragh wasn’t there on this going. He finished a highly respectable third but needs faster ground that he got on Saturday. On a quicker surface he would probably have won. He could well head for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and if the ground is quick he would have a good chance there.
Despite dropping back a furlong in distance Cadillac was the pre-race gamble. He was the first to be pushed along and didn’t have the pace to make an impression, although he did stay on into fifth. The drop back in distance just found out the son of Lope De Vega.
Alkumait winner of the Mill Reef Stakes was never travelling on the soft ground and eventually finished last. He needs a sounder surface and probably a return to sprinting, given how keen he was in the early part of the race.
Fivethousandtoone runner-up in the Mill Reef had been expected to improve for step up to 7f but didn’t seem to. He was always close to the leaders and held every chance a furlong out but he had no more to give in the final 100 yards and finished seventh.
A Gorgeous Success
It was the juvenile fillies who took centre stage on Friday.
Pretty Gorgeous is a lovely looking filly who really lives up to her name. Runner-up to Shale in the Group 1 Moyglare Stakes on her previous start. On softer ground she turned the tables on her old rival to win the Group 1 Fillies Mile. It was a deserved first Group 1 success for jockey Shane Crosse who had been forced to miss a winning ride in the St Leger due to quarantining for Covid-19.
It was a second win in the race for trainer Joseph O’Brien and Pretty Gorgeous is now one of the leading fancies for next year’s 1000 Guineas.
Shale didn’t handle the softer ground and could only finish sixth.
Before the race I felt that Indigo Girl could turn out to be the best of these next season. I just wasn’t sure her hold up style would be seen to best advantage the way the track was riding and so it proved. The daughter of Dubawi wasn’t well away but did best of those coming from the rear. The eventual winner had got first run on her though and she couldn’t make up the ground inside the final furlong. Indigo Girl will stay 1m 2f next season but a strongly run 1000 Guineas could well suit her and I think she can reverse placings with Pretty Gorgeous the next time they meet.
Dubai Fountain who had finished runner-up to Indigo Girl at Doncaster in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes put in another improved effort to finish fourth, especially as she raced on the far side throughout the race,
Of the rest
Zabeel Queen third in the May Hill didn’t have the pace to trouble the principals but kept on into a never nearer fifth. Looking at her pedigree 1m 2f will suit next season.
Isabella Glass so impressive in winning the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes here last month. Found a combination of a mile, on soft ground a bit too much at this stage of her career and she finished a well beaten ninth.
Saffron is oh so sharp
Saffron Beach showed a good attitude to gamely hold on to win the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes. So impressive when making a winning racecourse debut over C&D. The daughter of New Bay improved again and won despite the soft ground. It was a good success for trainer Jane Chapple Hyam. After the race the trainer hinted that the filly could run next at the Breeders Cup. Saffron Beach is a best priced 33/1 for next year’s 1000 Guineas. I could see her easily out run those odds if she trains on from two to three.
2:30 – Twelve are set to go to post for this 7f Class 2 handicap. Which is far and away the best race of the day. It looks a competitive one too.
Gale Force Maya is too consistent for her own good with her last six form figures being 223223. Ran well again over 6f at Newmarket 18-days ago. Return to 7f in her favour but she does need the cheekpieces to eke out a bit more improvement.
Idoapologise put in a career best effort when winning at Beverley 20-days ago. It’s a two notches step up in class for the 3-year-old but he’s capable of more progress.
National League looked unlucky In the run when 3rd of 13 at Doncaster two starts back but disappointed at Ayr last month. He gets the first-time visor today and wouldn’t be without claims on his Doncaster run.
My each-way pick is previous C&D winner Northernpowerhouse. The 4-year-old has won two of his five starts since racing resumed in June, both over today’s distance. Was doing his best work at the finish when 4th of 24 in last month’s Ayr Silver Cup.
2:30 – Northernpowerhouse – 8/1 @ Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook (paying 3 places ¼ odds). You can get 4 places with Sky Bet.
Good luck with your bets.