Ian Heitman has been following all the action at Newmarket and beyond
Ian Heitman with his latest list of eye-catching juveniles
Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course has been the place to be over the last few weeks to watch top class two-year-old racing with 11 Group and Listed races spread over their Cambridgeshire and Future Champions Meetings.
The first of three days began with a maiden over a mile featuring some promising horses for 2019. KICK ON made just about all of the running against the favoured stands side rail and comfortably beat his stable companion HUMANITARIAN by two and a half lengths. The third runner for John Gosden, TRAVEL ON was never dangerous in eighth but he was one of the nicer looking horses in the paddock along with Roger Varian’s MOQTARREB who finished down the field. The eye catcher of the race however was OMNIVEGA who was given a patient ride by Jamie Spencer before finishing strongly inside the last furlong and a half to be seventh.
Just as Kick On had led all the way, so too did EVEN KEEL in the following nursery over a mile beating top weight MORDRED by two lengths in a slower time than the one Kick On recorded.
The feature race for two-year-olds was the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes which saw the second run for PRINCE EIJI, one of the most expensive yearlings of 2017 and the winner of his only start at Ascot three weeks earlier. He had every chance racing close to the pace and leading a furlong and a half from the finish but was run out of inside the last 100 yards by BYE BYE HONG KONG and ARCTIC SOUND with the latter finishing well from the rear to get on top with 50 yards to go and provide Mark Johnston with back to back wins in the race following Elarqam last year. Apart from a poor run at Salisbury on his fourth start, Arctic Sound has proved to be very consistent winning four of his six races.
Day two featured the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes with MAIN EDITION looking to get back to winning ways after a slightly below par fifth in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on her previous start. She was the 15/8 favourite in a field of nine and set a good pace in front but had no answer to JUST WONDERFUL who travelled strongly for Ryan Moore and took the lead with a furlong to go and quickly sealed the race, winning by a length and threequarters from DANDHU who finished well but never challenged the winner with Main Edition in third. The disap- pointment of the race was Yourtimeisnow who was too keen on the way to the start and in the race and faded out of contention, well beaten in eighth. Just Wonderful is said to be a tricky ride but Moore got the best out of her here and she is likely to be one of Aidan O’Brien’s hopes for the 1000 Guineas in 2019 for which she is a 16/1 chance.
Charlie Appleby’s VELORUM looked as he would improve for the run in the paddock before the 7f maiden but was well supported from 5/2 to 15/8 favouritism and he ran really well, recovering from an awkward start to be in midfield he kept on well inside the last furlong and a half but was no match for the 33/1 winner, SKARDU, who weaved through the field with two furlongs to go and took the lead inside the last furlong to win by two lengths and gave William Haggas his fourth debut winner of the year. ESTIHDAAF had every chance in third and KARNAVAAL stepped up on his debut run to be fourth, a long way clear of the remainder. Skardu, like Velorum, is a strong colt who looked like he needed the run beforehand. He clearly possesses plenty of ability and will be worth a try in a Guineas trial in the spring.
With two Group 1 races and a Group 2 contest, the third day was a cracking day. With Ryan Moore on duty in New York aboard Mendelssohn for Aidan O’Brien, his son, Donnacha, made the most of the opportunity and landed all three races. MOHAWK led home a 1-23 for O’Brien in the Group 2 Royal Lodge, beating SYDNEY OPERA
HOUSE and CAPE OF GOOD HOPE comfortably by a length a quarter and a length and three quarters. Victory Command was the best of the home challengers in fourth for Mark Johnston. BEATBOXER who went into the race unbeaten, was very disappointing, chased along with three furlongs to go by Frankie Dettori, he failed to pick up and was well beaten last of the seven runners. He is a good-looking colt and is certainly worth another chance to confirm the promise of his first two wins.
The Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes looked a good opportunity for PRETTY POLLYANNA to add to her Prix Morny win but she was disappointing, racing in midfield despite breaking well, she never managed to land a blow finishing fourth behind FAIRYLAND who finished well inside the last furlong to beat THE MACKEM BULLET by a neck (a nose separated the pair on their previous start in the Lowther when Fairyland just got the verdict), with SO PERFECT having every chance in third. Fairyland is unlikely to race again this year, but The Mackem Bullet is likely to give Brian Ellison a taste of the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on November 2nd where she will encounter a turning track for only the second time in her career.
TEN SOVEREIGNS has come a long way since his racecourse debut on August 25th and he took his unbeaten record to three with a comfortable win in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, the third leg of the Aidan and Donnacha O’Brien treble. A strong colt by No Nay Never, (first Group 1 winner as a sire) he travelled strongly throughout the race and took the lead with a couple of furlongs to go and held off the challenge of previously unbeaten JASH inside the last 150 yards to win by half a length in a fast time, the pair three and a half lengths clear of RUMBLE INTHEJUNGLE who ran much better than he had done at Doncaster on his previous start. Ten Sovereigns might appeal more as a Commonwealth Cup prospect than a 2000 Guineas hope but he travels very strongly through his races and has a decent turn of foot and given the yard surprisingly don’t have too many obvious 2000 Guineas candidates it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Ten Sovereigns progressed through to the winter into their number one hope for the first classic of 2019.
Jash lost nothing in defeat and he is going to progress well over the winter and looks sure to develop into a high class three-year-old for Simon Crisford where he will be aimed at the 2000 Guineas.
The fast ground saw plenty of withdrawals from the two divisions of the 7f fillies maiden with four reducing the field to eight in the first and three taken out of the second reducing the field to nine. SUNDAY STAR recorded a quick time in the first division, comfortably holding off newcomer MAQSAD in the final 100 yards by a length a three-quarters and provided Ed Walker with a 10th juvenile winner of the year. There were a couple of gambles in the second division, Walker’s BABA GHANOUJ in from 12/1 to 6/1 and QABALA from the Roger Varian yard from 11/2 to 7/2 favouritism. Qabala raced in touch with the pace throughout and kept on well getting the better of DESIROUS by a head with RAINBOW HEART (very keen to the start) keeping on well to be third. Baba Ghanouj ran well in fourth and this big strong filly will have learnt plenty from this.
CHALEUR was also the subject of strong market support in the 7f fillies nursery having been given a handicap mark of 89 following a third placed finish in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes on her previous start. She didn’t let her supporters down running out an easy winner from Doncaster winner, STAY CLASSY with Mark Johnston’s I’LL HAVE ANOTHER, winner of a Listed race at Cologne on her previous start, running well with top weight in third. Chaleur was raised 9lb for this win and whilst she has yet to race with ease in the ground, the Listed Radley Stakes at Newbury at
the end of October would be an ideal race for her if connections choose to run her again.
Sandwiched between the two meetings was Sun Chariot day on October 6th. TURGENEV ran out an easy winner of the mile novice race, carrying a penalty for a win at Newcastle, he was always going strongly close to the pace, taking the lead with three furlongs to go and only had to be pushed out by Frankie Dettori to win by an eased down length and half from IL PARADISO with FRANK KAFKA running with promise on his debut in third. Turgenev is a smart prospect and could have his next start in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on October 27th.
28 horses lined up for a first prize in excess of £81,000 for the Tattersalls October Auction Stakes, for horses bought at the Book 3 and 4 sales last year. LORTON got up in the last strides to deny TIME FOR BED and GYPSY SPIRIT, the first three racing in the larger stands side group with PRAXIDICE doing best of those that raced in the far side group.
FUTURE CHAMPIONS MEETING
The two-day meeting began with the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes over 5f with victory going to a back-to-form SERGEI PROKOFIEV who put the disappointing seventh in the Middle Park behind him with an impressive win. Held up in the rear against the stands side rail by Donnacha O’Brien, he switched to the outside of the field with a furlong and a half to go and picked up impressively, taking the lead from WELL DONE FOX with 100 yards to go and running out a convincing winner. He had been regarded as one of O’Brien’s best two-year-olds earlier in the season and on this evidence it was easy to see why. He could have a good year in 2019 over 5f with the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot a possible early season target.
HIDDEN MESSAGE and FROSTY had both won their debuts in good style and they were at the head of the market for the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes with Hidden Message going off the 2/1 favourite. Both however were disappointing finishing fifth and seventh respectively. Roger Varian’s MOT JUSTE took the lead inside the last furlong from SUNDAY STAR and kept on well from ANGEL’S HIDEAWAY who finished strongly inside the last 100 yards on her first start at 7f. Mot Juste has got better with each of her four runs and should make her mark in an Oaks trial in the spring.
The feature race was the Group 1 Fillies Mile with Aidan O’Brien’s HERMOSA the 5/2 favourite ahead of Pretty Pollyanna who was stepping up to a mile for the first time after her fourth in the Cheveley Park Stakes 13 days earlier. Whilst both fillies ran well filling out second and third respectively, they weren’t a match for IRIDESSA who stayed on strongly inside the last 100 yards to win by a length and a
half and provide Joseph O’Brien with a first Group 1 win in the UK. She was promoted to 16/1 favourite for the 2019 Oaks and looks a worthy favourite at this stage.
Both of the divisions of the 7f fillies maiden went to newcomers, NEAROOZ beat WATHEERAH by a short head with FRAGRANT DAWN running well in third, in the first division and provided Roger Varian with a double on the card, whilst QUEEN POWER landed a gamble in the second for Ralph Beckett having been available at 14/1 the night before the race, she returned 4/1. She was very fit for her racecourse debut and connections might look at running her in the Listed Montrose Stakes on November 3rd where she would have a good chance. DUNEFLOWER ran well to finish second and she shouldn’t have too much trouble going one place better next time.
Day two began with Listed Zetland Stakes over a mile and a quarter and just as in 2018, Aidan O’Brien beat Mark Johnston courtesy of NORWAY beating I’LL HAVE ANOTHER. Norway is a brother to Ruler Of The World, 2013 Derby winner, and Norway is likely to follow a similar path to his brother in 2019 with a run in a Derby trial (Ruler Of The World won the Chester Vase) in the spring.
Andre Fabre’s raids to the UK with two-year-olds are fairly rare, PERSIAN KING was just the seventh he has sent over from France in recent years. Having won two of three starts in France, Persian King was the 6/5 favourite for the Group 3 Autumn Stakes ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s impressive debut winner MAGNA GRECIA. Both colts looked extremely well in the paddock beforehand, both possessing plenty of size and scope and they produced the finish of the meeting going head to head inside the last furlong with Persian King winning by a neck with CIRCUS MAXIMUS (another with plenty of scope) a couple of lengths away in third. Persian King was given a quote of 14/1 for the 2000 Guineas, but he might be more of French Derby candidate. Omnivega who had shaped well on his debut here a couple of weeks earlier never landed a blow but is worth looking out for in a novice next time.
The Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes is the most prestigious two-year-old race in the UK racing calendar and this year’s renewal featured, with the exception of Quorto, all the leading juveniles of the year. Headed by unbeaten TOO DARN HOT who was the even money favourite, ANTHONY VAN DYCK, ADVERTISE and SANGARIUS all looked to have a chance of claiming the title of leading juvenile of 2018. Too Darn Hot blew them away with an exceptional turn of foot inside the furlong having switched to the outside of the field with two furlongs to go to get a clear run. Advertise took the lead off Anthony Van Dyck with a furlong to go but he had no answer to Too Darn Hot who swept past with 150 yards to go and eased down by Frankie Dettori close to the finish he was still able to record a very easy two and three quarter length victory. Advertise ran well on first try at 7f whilst Anthony Van Dyck just lacked a bit of pace inside the last furlong. Sangarius, who faced his stiffest test on his third start, was weak in the market and got left behind with a furlong and a half to go, he has the scope to progress over the winter.
Too Darn Hot cemented his position at the top of both the 2000 Guineas and Derby markets and will be very hard to beat in the former. Ten Sovereigns and Calyx won’t make it easy for Too Darn Hot in the Guineas, but he looks an exceptional colt and whilst his trainer John Gosden doesn’t think he will stay the Derby distance of a mile and a half, should he win the 2000 Guineas it will be hard for connections to avoid the lure of one of the world’s greatest races.
Away from Newmarket, Redcar’s only two-year-old Listed race, the TwoYear-Old Trophy, carried a massive £99,243 first prize, easily the most
IRIDESSA stayed on strongly inside the last 100 yards to provide Joseph O’Brien with a first Group 1 win in the UK
valuable Listed race of the year. A field of 21 lined-up with BEAT LE BON, a maiden after two starts, the well supported 7/2 favourite. He ran a fine race and was only beaten three quarters of a length by SUMMER DAYDREAM who took the lead with a furlong to go and held on well from the fast finishing runner up with Kodyanna in third. Summer Daydream was also having her third start, a win on debut and fifth in a Group 3 at Ayr prior to this race. Beat Le Bon has the potential to be a lot better than the handicap mark of 95 he was given following this race and should have no trouble getting off the mark next time.
Aidan O’Brien’s domination of the Group 2 Beresford Stakes continued when JAPAN got the better of his better fancied stable companion MOUNT EVEREST close to the finish at Naas on September 30th, the pair three lengths clear of the third. This was the eighth consecutive win in the race for O’Brien, with recent winners including Classic winners, Capri and Saxon Warrior. Japan has plenty to live up to and he will no doubt figure in
East looks a filly to follow after she made it two wins from two starts for Kevin Ryan in the group 3 priX thomas byron
the classic trials in the spring, he is currently 25/1 for the Derby which given his pedigree, half-sister Secret Gesture was second in the 2013 Oaks, and connections, looks good value.
Two of the six race Group 1 races on Arc de Triomphe day on October 6th were for two-year-olds. The Prix Marcel Boussac for fillies over a mile was the first of them with eight lining up. There was no standout candidate, and this was reflected with three and quarter lengths covering the field at the finish with LILY’S CANDLE getting up close home beating MATEMATICA by a short neck with STAR TERMS best of the foreign raiders in third.
Freddy Head’s ANODOR, revealed to be the best two-year-old the trainer had trained beforehand, was the strong favourite for the colts Group 1, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere also over a mile. He had looked a smart colt winning his previous start from the front, but he settled in third this time behind BROOME who was given a very easy lead. He was headed with a furlong to go by ROYAL MARINE and he kept on well inside the last 100 metres holding off Broome by a neck with Anodor never managing to challenge in third. Royal Marine was the first two-year- old Group winner for Saeed bin Suroor since Thunder Snow won a Group 1 in France in October 2016.
Royal Marine continued the excellent run in Group/Listed races in France for British trained runners with POETRY, LINE OF DUTY, CERTAIN LAD, HAPPY ODYSSEY, HOT TEAM, EAST and HELLO YOUMZAIN all making successful trips across the Channel in recent weeks. Happy Odyssey provided her trainer, Amy Murphy, with her biggest success on the flat when winning the Listed Prix Saraca at Maisons-Laffitte on September 29th.
Eastlooksafillytofollowaftershemadeit twowinsfromtwostartsforKevinRyanin theGroup3PrixThomasByron.Hello Youmzain,anothertrainedbyKevinRyan, ranoutaneasywinnerofthevaluableGroup 2CriteriumdeMaisons-Laffittewhereseven oftheeightrunnersweretrainedintheUK.
Royal Lodge Stakes