The star draw on a busy weekend of flat action is undoubtedly Pinatubo, the highest rated juvenile in many a year, but at 1/3 he is not a betting proposition for us. We have three value bets from each day of the meeting at HQ, beginning with a classy Group 2:
Friday 11th October
3.00 Newmarket (Challenge Stakes – Group 2) – LIMATO
A fascinating Group 2 race with challengers coming from different generations and having won over varying distances.
Six-year-old Mustashry of Sir Michael Stoute’s heads the betting and it’s hardly surprising given his form this year. After taking the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes in May over a mile, he came back to form when running a fine fifth behind Enable in the Eclipse over 1¼ miles so this drop to seven furlongs is an intriguing move.
3yo Shine So Bright has a good future ahead of him and he’s already a Group 2 winner, however it means that just like Mustashry he is penalised for this and so he may find things tough on this ground.
The solid one over the course, distance and ground and who escapes any weight penalties though is crack top-level seven-furlong performer Limato and he is good for one more win. He was as lively as ever when winning the Criterion Stakes over on the July Course this summer and retains enough ability to take care of these rivals at the weights.
3.35 Newmarket (Fillies’ Mile – Group 1) – QUADRILATERAL
The Irish challenge is strong for this Group 1 with Jessie Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper and Aidan O’Brien’s Love both very capable, however they may struggle ultimately to keep up with the latest star off the Juddmonte production line.
Roger Charlton’s Quadrilateral was not fully fit for her debut but won well nonetheless, while she took a huge step forward to score at Newbury last time by nine lengths and a look at the form of her rivals that day suggests that at 103 she has been underrated.
More improvement is to come and her connections have stumped up a lot of money to supplement her here, so it’s thought she’ll be too good for this field with her relatively wee classic odds for 2020 no doubt about to be shortened further.
5.20 Newmarket (Pride Stakes – Group 3) – FANNY LOGAN
There is a strangely busy overseas challenge for this card-closing mile-and-a-quarter fillies’ Group 3 with runners from France and Ireland looking likely types.
Of them the best look to be Pia Brandt’s Queen and Aidan O’Brien’s Simply Beautiful, but while the race remains competitive in nature, they really shouldn’t be getting to Fanny Logan with all being well.
John Gosden’s former Oaks candidate has really picked up since July, winning three off the bounce on all different types of ground and all at Listed level.
She stays well, is improving and if anything put in her best performance on soft ground so wouldn’t mind more rain. That day at Salisbury she ran to a level that would make her a place contender in a typical 3yo fillies’ Group 1 and a repeat of that would be enough to win here.
Saturday 12th October
2.20 Newmarket (Zetland Stakes – Group 3) – VOLKAN STAR
Godolphin could have a very good weekend on the track to compliment the amazing time they’ve had in the Tattersalls sales ring this week, and while we can’t have any of the brilliant Pinatubo at his perfectly understandably restrictive odds in the Dewhurst Stakes, we can grab some value with their Volkan Star.
Having outclassed and outstayed his rivals over a mile to win easily last time out, the Sea The Stars colt should really appreciate this extra test of stamina.
He has achieved just about as much as his main rival Mythical, though he’s had more time off the track to fill out and improve and will appreciate this race distance more than most of the field. Miss Yoda is another to consider for minor honours.
2.55 Newmarket (Autumn Stakes – Group 3) – MOLATHAM
Arrangements for the Coolmore horses have been fascinating here, with John Gosden training Cherokee Trail who looks their better candidate and that leading to him being ridden by the world’s best jockey in Frankie Dettori.
Ryan Moore however rides, as he usually does, for Aidan O’Brien aboard Persia who therefore carries the team’s first colours but it may simply be that neither of these two are good enough to land this race.
The two to take against the field are probably Al Suhail of Godolphin and Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Molatham. The former was a good third behind Positive in the Solario Stakes and is clearly improving, however the latter’s win at Doncaster meant it seemed he was on course to tackle this one-mile trip at the top level back there in the Futurity Stakes.
This level is a little easier and if we take his winning form ahead of Wichita literally, not that we necessarily are, then he’d be a stone better than this lot so he gets the nod.
5.20 Newmarket (Darley Stakes – Group 3) – CROSSED BATON
There are the usual solid Group types in this race including Dolphin Vista and Mark Johnston’s consistent all-weather star Matterhorn, but the one who has been weirdly underestimated is Crossed Baton.
Trained by John Gosden, ridden by Frankie Dettori and once seen as a classic contender, you’d have thought this son of Dansili would have gone off favourite but that is not looking likely at the time of writing.
He had wind surgery in the winter, ran poorly on his comeback and was then gelded before another uninspiring performance at Epsom back in August.
But, he’s already reached a level at three to show himself capable of winning this and, more pertinently, he’s been working alongside Enable in order to get her fit for her recent engagements and will no doubt have been improved a tad by that as well as being much more match fit that some would care to realise.