It’s all about Newmarket this week with a fantastic few days of racing coming to an end with not only the Cambridgeshire being run, but also some major clues handed out as to who next year’s top three-year-olds may be.
Friday can give us 1000 Guineas pointers when the Rockfel Stakes is run while Saturday can provide both 2000 Guineas and Derby hints as the Middle Park and Royal Lodge Stakes are contested.
We start here with the Nayef Stakes on Friday, a race in which a couple of highly thought of three-year-old fillies can bounce right back to form for the home team.
Friday 28th SeptemberEmbed from Getty Images
2.25 Newmarket (Nayef Stakes – Group 3) – SUN MAIDEN
We should have good, almost summer ground for this mile-and-a-half contest which should in turn help us in terms of not getting shock results with the better fillies perhaps coming to the fore. With all of that in mind, Sir Michael Stoute’s Sun Maiden looks overpriced in this Group 3 contest and should have too much for this field if at her best.
Visually she was mightily impressive when breaking her duck at Salisbury back in May and then ran a very solid race when third in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, though she hasn’t hit those heights again since. Things should be back in her favour now though and she can grab a first win at pattern level.
Watch out for further improvement from John Gosden’s 3yo filly Highgarden while Mrs Sippy may complete a place whitewash for the classic generation.
3.35 Newmarket (Joel Stakes – Group 2) – REGAL REALITY
Mustashry is a horse we like and it was nice to see him get his head in front again at Doncaster last time out, Sir Michael so often able to coax out improvement from these older horses. I do think the master trainer will win this contest, however he may be doing it with young Intello colt Regal Reality instead.
Having scored very nicely at Glorious Goodwood at Group 3 level on only his third racecourse start and without the best luck in running, he appeared perhaps to be heading for the top but he didn’t really progress when settling for third place in the Superior Mile (Group 3) at Haydock next time.
He has some natural speed and hated the heavy ground on his last run, so this surface and a return to seven furlongs should see the best from him and there’s little doubt powerhouse Ryan Moore can get the best out of him if he needs to. Zonderland may be best of the rest.
4.45 Newmarket (Godolphin Stakes – Listed Race) – COMMUNIQUE
Willam Haggas’ filly Maid To Remember may be a tad overpriced in this race and is certainly better value at the predicted odds than either Raheen House or Barsanti, however they may all be vulnerable to the only three-year-old in the race at the bottom of the weights.
Mark Johnston’s Communique has had a busy season, typical for a Johnston inmate you may say, but has steadily progressed through a few peaks and a couple of minor troughs to reach a level befitting this Listed entry.
He won nicely in a handicap at Newbury last time out off a mark of 103 under Silvestre de Sousa and has the on board help of another strong jockey, Moore once again, to help him maintain his progress. He doesn’t throw in too many bad runs so despite just a week off the track he can reach a level that off these weights could see him dominate.
Saturday 29th SeptemberEmbed from Getty Images
1.50 Newmarket (Royal Lodge Stakes – Group 2) – CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
Often horses of potential are seriously underpriced based on their trainer’s reputation and, almost unbelievably, it could be Aidan O’Brien, himself usually the one with the massive standing, who could benefit this time at a tasty price.
His Cape Of Good Hope ran a blinder back in July to be second to subsequent Group 1 winner Quorto at Newmarket and all of this when his stable were known to be suffering from an ailment. The son of Galileo has not raced since and, as an offspring of the champion sire, will appreciate this step up in trip as well as a return to full health.
He’s a chunky price because of the presence of John Gosden’s unbeaten colt Beatboxer who won oh so easily last time out at Haydock, though in truth it’s hard to know what to make of that form in the context of this very strong race and so the 2/1 at the time of writing looks way too short.
3.00 Newmarket (Middle Park Stakes – Group 1) – JASH
Now, in stark contrast to the Royal Lodge, we are hoping to get an Aidan O’Brien hotpot beaten in the shape of odds-on favourite Ten Sovereigns. The No Nay Never colt was superb on his second start at the Curragh when registering a very impressive performance to win a Group 3 however he didn’t beat a hell of a lot and may not improve from race two to race three with the same giant stride as plenty of others in the yard.
With that in mind we take a punt on the potential of Simon Crisford’s son of Kodicac, Jash, who simply took his field apart in a novice race at Salisbury and who is very highly thought of indeed.
Crisford knows a top class horse when he sees one from his time at Godolphin in the hay day of Saeed bin Suroor and the Newmarket handler reckons this one is going right to the top. I agree.