Ian Heit­man was im­pressed by the last big ju­ve­nile race of the sea­son

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Ian Heit­man is im­pressed by the last ju­ve­nile race of the sea­son

Turf flat rac­ing for 2018 fin­ished at Don­caster on Novem­ber 10 and, with four and a half months to wait be­fore Don­caster plays host to the first turf meet­ing of 2019, the sixth All-Weather Cham­pi­onships will keep Flat fans go­ing.

Be­fore that, there was plenty of good rac­ing in the last few weeks of the turf sea­son with the fi­nal Group 1 of the year, the Vertem Futurity Tro­phy Stakes the main do­mes­tic two-yearold race.

This con­test, for­merly the Rac­ing Post Tro­phy, seems to have taken on ex­tra sig­nif­i­cance in the last few years, Saxon War­rior beat this year’s Horse of the Year, Roar­ing Lion, in 2017 and this year’s race, run at Don­caster on Oc­to­ber 27 at­tracted a field of 11 with Ai­dan O’Brien sad­dling three, in­clud­ing the favourite MAGNA GRE­CIA. He was hav­ing his first start in Group 1 com­pany hav­ing lost nar­rowly in Group 3 com­pany at Newmarket on his pre­vi­ous start. TURGENEV, one of two in the race for John Gos­den, was the sec­ond favourite on the back of a cou­ple of easy wins in novice com­pany with OF SPAIN, no match for cham­pion twoyear-old Too Darn Hot on his pre­vi­ous start, at 11/2. West­ern Aus­tralia, one of the O’Brien trio, set a good pace and be­lied his odds of 50/1, still in the lead in­side the last fur­long, headed by Magna Gre­cia and Phoenix Of Spain with 100 yards to go, with Magna Gre­cia just pre­vail­ing by a head, the

pair get­ting close in­side the last 75 yards with the stew­ards hold­ing an en­quiry into pos­si­ble in­ter­fer­ence. The stew­ards al­lowed the re­sult to stand and Magna Gre­cia gave Ai­dan O’Brien a ninth win in the race. A length and a quar­ter sep­a­rated the first five with CIR­CUS MAX­IMUS in fourth and GREAT SCOT fifth. Nei­ther of the Gos­den pair, Turgenev or KICK ON could land a blow, Kick On far­ing best in sixth.

This race has seen win­ners go on to Clas­sic glory in the fol­low­ing year but de­spite Magna Gre­cia hav­ing plenty of scope to progress over the win­ter, it is hard to see him be­ing good enough to beat Too Darn Hot in the 2000 Guineas and the Derby trip might be beyond him. The Rac­ing Post Rat­ing of 114 was the low­est given to a win­ner of this race in the last 10 years, Saxon War­rior achieved a rat­ing of 119 in 2017 whilst St Ni­cholas Abbey’s im­pres­sive win in 2009 re­sulted in the high­est rat­ing of 123.

The Listed Don­caster Stakes over 6f was the first of three two-year-old races on Vertem Futurity day and it saw an im­pres­sive per­for­mance from SAN DONATO who beat BAR­BILL by three quar­ters of a length, the pair pulling clear of BREATH OF AIR in third. San Donato raced keenly in the early part of the race in the rear but trav­elled strongly at half­way and made good progress with a cou­ple of fur­longs to go, tak­ing the lead with half a fur­long left to run and only had to be pushed out by An­drea Atzeni to win.

San Donato has the po­ten­tial to be a smart sprinter in 2019 and will be aimed at the Pav­il­ion Stakes at As­cot in May. Bar­bill gave the form a boost and gained a de­served Listed win when he com­fort­ably won the Prix Ya­cowlef at Chan­tilly on Novem­ber 13 beat­ing fel­low English raider, ROCKIN ROY by two and a half lengths.

The sec­ond of the three races was a nurs­ery over 7f where HAPPY POWER eas­ily beat BEAT LE BON by three and a quar­ter lengths off a hand­i­cap mark of 83. The hand­i­cap­per didn’t take too kindly to the ease of this win and raised Happy Power 10lb to 93.

The first day of Don­caster’s two-day meet­ing was high­lighted by the de­but per­for­mance of DANC­ING VEGA from the Ralph Beck­ett sta­ble in the one­mile fil­lies maiden. She trav­elled strongly through­out the race, tak­ing the lead a fur­long and a half from the fin­ish and run­ning on strongly to beat BLUE GARDENIA by four lengths. Whilst the time of the race was noth­ing spe­cial, Danc­ing Vega was barely off the bri­dle and she ought to be a Group per­former in 2019. Blue Gardenia stepped up in grade to Listed com­pany in the Mon­trose Stakes at Newmarket on Novem­ber 3rd and gave Danc­ing Vega’s form a mas­sive boost by get­ting up close to the fin­ish to deny VIVID DI­A­MOND by a neck. Whilst this Listed race didn’t have a lot of depth, Vivid Di­a­mond had bro­ken the track record at Not­ting­ham on

her pre­vi­ous start.

New­bury also staged a two-day meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 26 and 27 with plenty of in­ter­est­ing two-year-old races. The meet­ing be­gan with a de­but win for THRILLA IN MANILA, the 15 win­ner of the year for Richard Spencer and the third win­ning new­comer. He stayed on well from the rear and got up close home to beat MON­SIEUR NOIR by three quar­ters of a length with MONTATHAM run­ning well on de­but in third.

An­drew Bald­ing won both di­vi­sions of the one-mile novice, GOOD BIRTH­DAY got the bet­ter of a barg­ing match with Roger Charlton’s new­comer QASARU in­side the last 100 to win by a neck with pace-set­ting CUR­RENT OP­TION run­ning well in third, a fur­ther neck away, hav­ing gone off quickly in front. HIGH COMMISIONER trav­elled well close to the pace set by Cur­rent Op­tion but he had noth­ing left in­side the last fur­long and fin­ished sixth but will do bet­ter next time.

LANDA BEACH took the sec­ond di­vi­sion at 50/1 beat­ing APPARATE, who ran well given he un­seated An­drea Atzeni in the pad­dock be­fore­hand, by a neck. FRANK KAFKA was very well sup­ported in the mar­ket at 8/11 favourite, but he was dis­ap­point­ing, hav­ing ev­ery chance but only one paced in­side the last fur­long.

The sec­ond day of the meet­ing be­gan with a novice fil­lies race over a mile and the good form of Roger Var­ian con­tin­ued with NAUSHA mak­ing a win­ning de­but from SPAN­ISH ARIA with plenty of promise from Ac­ci­den­tal Agent’s half-sis­ter MADAME TANTZY in third. Span­ish Aria went one place bet­ter at Chelms­ford on Novem­ber 15.

Hav­ing been out of luck with Span­ish Aria in the first di­vi­sion, John Gos­den went one place bet­ter in di­vi­sion two when MUCHLY put her ex­pe­ri­ence to good use hold­ing off the chal­lenge of LADY ADE­LAIDE in­side the last 100 yards to win by a neck, with four lengths back to the third MONOGAMY. Lady Ade­laide won on her next start at Kemp­ton on Novem­ber 14th, just hold­ing off the strong late chal­lenge of new­comer AUDARYA to win by a nose.

LUXOR could have been called the win­ner of the 6f nurs­ery a long way from the fin­ish as he trav­elled very strongly for Martin Har­ley and quick­ened clear im­pres­sively in­side the last fur­long to win by a length and three quar­ters from IZZER (only rated 71) and K CLUB. Luxor was raised 8lb for this win to 92 and he should be ca­pa­ble of win­ning a good race at three.

The fea­ture two-year-old race, the Group 3 Hor­ris Hill Stakes over 7f had a strong favourite in CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD who had im­pressed when mak­ing a win­ning de­but at Good­wood

13 days ear­lier. He didn’t how­ever im­press in the pad­dock, flick­ing his tail and was quite edgy. He failed to jus­tify mar­ket sup­port, never get­ting in­volved from mid­field and fin­ish­ing sixth of the eight run­ners.

MOHAATHER, the sec­ond string of Ham­dan Al Mak­toum’s run­ners on jockey book­ings, re­tained jockey Jim Crow­ley pre­ferred sec­ond favourite FANAAR, won well for Martin Dwyer and Mar­cus Tre­go­ning. Held up in the rear, he trav­elled well and made progress with a cou­ple of fur­longs to go, tak­ing the lead off front run­ner AZANO with 150 yards to go to win by a length and a half and pro­vided his trainer with a first two-year-old Group win­ner since Fin­jaan won the 2008 Mole­comb Stakes. Fanaar trav­elled well but failed to quicken on the good to soft ground and was fourth. Mohaather has the build and pedi­gree of a sprinter and won’t have too many prob­lems drop­ping back to 6f in 2019.

The Listed Radley Stakes also over 7f went to the Tom Das­combe trained ICONIC CHOICE who was hav­ing her ninth start of the year and the first in Listed com­pany. She stayed on well to beat GLANCE by two and a half lengths with ICE GALA run­ning well in third hav­ing got warm be­fore­hand.

Seven of Newmarket’s eight races on Oc­to­ber 24 were for two-year-olds and whilst there were no Listed or Group races on the card, there were some in­ter­est­ing novice/maiden races. RAIN­BOW HEART eas­ily won the open­ing race for Ryan Moore and William Hag­gas, lead­ing all the way. There was promise from James Fan­shawe’s PAMPER in third, she has plenty of scope and will get a lot more in­volved next time. Mark Tomp­kins reg­is­tered his first ju­ve­nile win­ner of the year, and just the fourth since 2013, when GARREL GLEN com­fort­ably won race two, the sec­ond di­vi­sion of the fil­lies novice me­dian auc­tion race.

BELL ROCK de­fied his odds of 33/1 to make a win­ning de­but for An­drew Bald­ing in the 7f novice race beat­ing KING ADEMAR by a length and three quar­ters. LIGHT AND DARK who fin­ished third, will ben­e­fit from a drop to 6f next time, whilst YOU LIT­TLE RIPPER fin­ished well from the rear to be sixth. Alan King’s THE OLYMPIAN got up close home to beat pace-set­ting TRAVEL ON in the mile and a quar­ter maiden in which not too many got in­volved. The two nurs­eries on the card were won by SKYMAX and AL FAJR MUBILE.

The most in­for­ma­tive race was the one-mile novice where GINISTRELLI led all the way and just held off the chal­lenge JAMES PARKS WOODS by a head, the pair clear of SUM­MER MOON in third. James Parks Woods let the form down on his next start when fail­ing to act around Wolver­hamp­ton on Novem­ber 16, fin­ish­ing well beaten in sixth be­hind EIGHTSOME REEL, a 50/1 win­ning new­comer for Michael Bell and Her Majesty The Queen.

The fi­nal meet­ing at Newmarket on Novem­ber 2 and 3 be­gan with a de­but win for BAT­TLE FOR GLORY for John Gos­den and Kieran O’Neill. Out of the Group 1 win­ning mare, Im­mor­tal Verse, Bat­tle For Glory was the lesser fan­cied of two Gos­den run­ners, FIGHTWITHME (also out of a Group 1 win­ning mare) was the 5/2 favourite and third, he just held off the late chal­lenge of REAL SMOOTH who made up ground in­side the last fur­long and was beaten a nose.

AN­GELIC LIGHT just held on in the fea­ture race of the day, the Listed Bosra Sham Stakes over 6f, she had a cou­ple of lengths lead en­ter­ing the fi­nal fur­long but was run­ning on empty with 75 yards to go and won by a nose from CHYNNA with GYPSY SPIRIT close up in third.

Ralph Beck­ett’s ex­cel­lent run with

new­com­ers in the sec­ond half of the sea­son con­tin­ued in the first race on the sec­ond day of the meet­ing, FELICIANA DE VEGA the 11th win­ning new­comer for the yard and the fourth for own­ers Waverley Rac­ing, An­to­nia De Vega, Manuela De Vega and Danc­ing Vega the other three, was very well sup­ported and ran out an easy six length win­ner. She is a strong filly who should progress into a smart per­former in 2019.

The sec­ond di­vi­sion was run in a slower time to the first, IM­PE­RIAL CHARM put her ex­pe­ri­ence (third start) to good use and beat John Gos­den’s new­comer, JADEERAH by four and a half lengths. Jadeerah will have no trou­ble break­ing her maiden if she lines up in an all-weather race.


The only Group 1 race for two-yearolds over a mile and a quar­ter in Europe was held at Saint-Cloud in France on Oc­to­ber 27. The Cri­terium de Saint-Cloud saw five of the nine run­ners make the jour­ney across the Chan­nel from Eng­land and Ire­land with Ai­dan O’Brien’s NOR­WAY the 8/5 favourite.

He went to the front with 7f to go and had ev­ery chance to add to his Newmarket Listed win a fort­night ear­lier but was headed with a fur­long and a half to go and only had the one pace af­ter that. FOX TAL took the lead, but he was soon headed by the other O’Brien run­ner, SYD­NEY OPERA HOUSE who in turn was headed close home by one of two fil­lies in the lineup, WONDERMENT who fin­ished well to win by a neck.

The fol­low­ing day saw the fi­nal twoyear-old Group 1 race of the year in Europe, the Cri­terium In­ter­na­tional over 7f at Chan­tilly. ROYAL MEET­ING, on just his sec­ond start, won well, tak­ing the lead off HERMOSA with 100 yards to go and pro­vided Saeed bin Suroor win a sec­ond Group 1 win in France fol­low­ing Royal Ma­rine’s win at the Arc meet­ing three weeks ear­lier.


Changes to the Breed­ers’ Cup pro­gramme in 2018 re­sulted in all of the two-year-old races be­ing run on the first day of the two-day meet­ing which this year took place on Novem­ber 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs in Ken­tucky. Four of the five races were Grade 1 races with the other, a Listed race over five and half fur­longs and it was that race which be­gan the Breed­ers’ Cup races.

Six of the 12 run­ners were from Eng­land and Ire­land with SOL­DIER’S CALL and SERGEI PROKOFIEV the 7/2 joint favourites. Nei­ther they or the other four were a match for Bul­letin who led all the way and won un­chal­lenged. SO PER­FECT was the best of the raiders fin­ish­ing third but never man­ag­ing to get close to chal­lenge.

One of the most im­pres­sive twoyear-old win­ners of the year came in the next race, the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf, NEWSPAPEROFRECORD broke well and led all the way, draw­ing clear in the straight for a six and a half length win over EAST who did well to get as close as she did hav­ing been drawn widest of all and rac­ing in the rear, she fin­ished well but was no dan­ger to the win­ner. Newspaperofrecord could race here in 2019 with the 1000 Guineas a pos­si­ble tar­get. If she does make the jour­ney to Newmarket in early May, she will be very hard to beat. East con­firmed the good im­pres­sion she had cre­ated in her first to races and is an ex­cit­ing prospect for Kevin Ryan in 2019.

There were no Bri­tish or Ir­ish run­ners in ei­ther of the two dirt races, Jay­walk led all the way in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies whilst Game Win­ner had to work hard to jus­tify favouritism in the Ju­ve­nile.

The Ju­ve­nile Turf went to Char­lie Ap­pleby cour­tesy of LINE OF DUTY who had to sur­vive a stew­ard’s en­quiry hav­ing had a bump with sec­ond placed Un­cle Benny close to the fin­ish. The re­sult was al­lowed to stand and Line Of Duty con­tin­ued the fan­tas­tic run of form of the Ap­pleby horses abroad, a 30% strike rate with 6 wins at Group/Grade 1 level. ARTHUR KITT ran well to be fourth for Tom Das­combe whilst AN­THONY VAN DYCK and MARIE’S DI­A­MOND never man­aged to land a blow.


Roger Charlton has a cou­ple of smart prospects on his hands fol­low­ing the de­but wins of HEADMAN at New­cas­tle on Novem­ber 1 when he was barely off the bri­dle and GREAT BEAR at Wolver­hamp­ton on Novem­ber 16 who had to work harder than Headman but still proved too strong for his eight ri­vals

in­side the last 100 yards. Headman in par­tic­u­lar looked a high-class colt in the mak­ing and the 2000 Guineas was men­tioned af­ter the race as a po­ten­tial tar­get. That might be a long way off, but he cre­ated a very tak­ing im­pres­sion and he should have no trou­ble in de­fy­ing a penalty should his trainer run him in a novice race next time.

Ralph Beck­ett and Roger Var­ian have both had plenty of suc­cess this au­tumn with their two-year-olds, both have sent out 19 win­ners since Septem­ber 1. Plenty of the Beck­ett win­ners have gone off favourite, NIVALDO was very strong in the mar­ket for his sec­ond start (also heav­ily backed to win on de­but at Ffos Las) at Kemp­ton on Novem­ber 6 and he made short work of his ri­vals, go­ing clear with two fur­longs to go and only hav­ing to be pushed out to beat SILENT HUNTER, who ran much bet­ter than on his de­but, by a length and three quar­ters.

Roger Var­ian’s SURFMAN looked a use­ful prospect when he won the fol­low­ing day at Not­ting­ham, only hav­ing to be pushed out to beat DURSTON by a length and three quar­ters in a much quicker time than the one SPACE BLUES recorded in the sec­ond di­vi­sion when he made an im­pres­sive win­ning de­but for Char­lie Ap­pleby. Surfman has an ex­cel­lent pedi­gree, a half-brother to Group 1 win­ner Kitesurf, he should progress into a good three-year-old.

John Gos­den has in­tro­duced plenty of high-class horses on the all-weather, none more so than dual Arc heroine En­able, and DUBAI WAR­RIOR looked an­other Group per­former in the mak­ing when he ran away with a mile novice race at Chelms­ford on Novem­ber 8. Strong in the mar­ket, he quick­ened clear of his eight ri­vals to win by four and a half lengths.


The 2018/19 All Weather Cham­pi­onships on­ships are well un­der­way with four of the 24 Fast Track Qual­i­fier’s hav­ing taken place. CONCIERGE booked his place in the Three-Year-Old Fi­nal with an easy win at New­cas­tle on the open­ing day of the Cham­pi­onships. RASIMA was given a much bet­ter ride than sec­ond placed MOVE SWIFTLY to se­cure her spot in the Fil­lies & Mares Fi­nal.

Lingfield Park, the venue for Fi­nals Day on April 19 2019, had two qual­i­fiers on Novem­ber 17, the Churchill Stakes over a mile and a quar­ter and the Golden Rose Stakes over 6f, both car- ry­ing Listed sta­tus. MAS­TER THE WORLD made it back-to-back wins in the Churchill Stakes, get­ting up close home to deny BIG COUN­TRY close to the fin­ish with favourite ADDEYBB run­ning on late to be third. This was the first ma­jor win for Sean Levey since his re­turn to rid­ing fol­low­ing a hor­ri­ble fall ear­lier in the sea­son at Sal­is­bury.

Gifted Mas­ter was un­able to match Mas­ter The World with a re­peat win in the Golden Rose Stakes, he fin­ished fifth how­ever his sta­ble com­pan­ion, EN­CRYPTED, who was well sup­ported, took the lead with 100 yards to go and held on to win by a head from INTISAAB and KIMBERELLA, both of whom have good all-weather records. En­crypted has an ex­cel­lent all-weather record, this his fourth win from five starts and with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for sprint­ers over the com­ing weeks and months, he should be able to add to this im­pres­sive record.

There are a fur­ther four Fast Track Qual­i­fiers in the next few weeks and a num­ber of good qual­ity hand­i­caps, hope­fully there won’t be too many small fields for some of the races as has been the case in a cou­ple of fil­lies races at Lingfield and Wolver­hamp­ton.

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