Newmarket is once again the main meeting with day two of the Dubai Future Champions Festival taking place on the Rowley Mile this Saturday. I aint going this year but do have my table reserved in the local perfectly positioned between the bar and the big screen so as not to miss a moment of the action.
I am very much in the blue corner Saturday as every horse I am on is Godolphin owned. It honestly wasn’t planned it’s just the way it has panned out, they could be on for a very good day.
Best bets for day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket
The first is at 1.10 the 7f Dubai Nursery Handicap and as I did on Friday, I am leaving the opener alone; I could make you a case for several of them.
The first race to have a go at is the 1.45 the Group Three 1m2f Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes. Charlie Appleby appears to hold all the aces with Hafit and Goldspur, both colts I have tipped already this season. Hafit is the very nicely bred colt that cost Godolphin a coll £2.1 million. He made a winning start to his career over 7f on the other course here and was then second in a Listed heat at Haydock over a mile, probably ran better than the fact he was beaten suggests. Step-up in trip should be fine but that defeat at Haydock does bother me as he didn’t look to want to go by and was hanging to the rail late on. Goldspur couldn’t have been more impressive winning on debut over a mile at Sandown and I am not just saying that because I tipped him! He was quoted for the Derby immediately afterwards and as a son of Dubawi out of the G.2 Lancashire Oaks winning mare Pomology this step-up in trip should prove ideal. Blotted his copybook next time at Epsom when he had to be withdrawn after getting upset at the start, but he reportedly passed a stalls test earlier in the week. I think he might be the one that proves the best of these two and as long as he doesn’t mess about at the stalls should win this. I have the 7-2 overnight. Bluegrass who was an impressive Maiden winner at the Curragh in August and that colt is feared coming over from Ballydoyle.
At 2.20 it is the Group Three one- mile Emirates Autumn Stakes. Coroebus is another from the yard of Charlie Appleby that I have tipped already in his short career thus far. He won on debut over the eight furlongs on the July Course and followed that up finishing second in the G.2 Royal Lodge over C&D last time to Royal Patronage getting caught close home after getting a little lonely in front and idling in the final 100 yards – the front pair well clear. He is though odds-on here and not really backable. Appleby said earlier this week “Coroebus surprised us with the manner of his acceleration in the Royal Lodge Stakes and he ultimately paid the price for it in the closing stages.......He has definitely come forward for his last run but, most importantly, we know more about him now.”
Native Trail, already my ante-post punt for the 2,000 Guineas next season at 9-2, will face seven rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the 7f Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes at 2.55. The colt is unbackable here being odds-on and I naturally hope he proves how superior he is to this field and goes into winter quarters clear favourite for the first Classic of next season. Charlie Appleby told www.godolphin.com this week “Native Trail has been faultless to date and we feel that he is a horse who is improving mentally with each race. As a physical specimen, we have always felt that he was a man amongst boys but he has sharpened up mentally again since the National Stakes. On all evidence to date, he looks the one to beat.” Hugo Palmer reportedly rates Dubawi Legend but he was well beat in the G.3 Acomb Stakes truth be told. Straight Answer is unbeaten in two and won the listed Blenheim Stakes with ease at Fairyhouse three-weeks ago but this is a big step-up from that. A little surprisingly once-raced maiden winner Glounthaune is charged with the job of providing Aidan O’Brien with an eighth Dewhurst success. He could be anything as they say. Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy is the one that may prove the biggest danger having won the G.2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last time.
I am breaking with tradition, only the second or third time I have done this, but I am tipping the double Coroebus and Native Trail which works out at 2.1-1
A maximum field of 34 was declared for the 2m2f Together For Racing International Cesarewitch at 3.35. I have no great fancy for the race to be truthful, know a couple of guys who have had their fingers burnt ante-post. Live Your Dream will have 4lb more to carry in future races having run second in the Cesarewitch Trial last month over track and trip, he gets in here off that same mark of 101 he had that day. Young Irish apprentice Adam Farragher gets the leg-up and will be taking a very handy 5lb off with his claim. The talented Skibbereen native has caught the eye of a host of leading trainers, owners and punters and could prove a shrewd booking here. The four-year-old is weighted to go well obviously, stays the trip and the drying conditions have helped his chances. At 14-1 on Friday he is a value each-way punt (1/5 with 7-places) and that is what I have done. M C Muldoon has an obvious chance and has to be considered as does Buzz with a light weight, rated 153 over hurdles!
The lucky last at 4.45 is the 1m1f Group Three Darley Stakes. Barney Roy has mixed it with some of the best in his time and has won his fair share despite being pretty lightly raced bearing in mind he is a seven-year-old. The gelding is the class act in the field and provided the old fire still burns should prove to good here. The absence of over a year from the track doesn’t worry me at all, in fact some of his best performances have come after a nice long break. Apparently, Bahrain is the long-term aim, I assume for the Bahrain International in November, but he can take this on route. Rouf 4-1 looks tasty to me and I have snaffled myself a bit of that on Friday afternoon. Mostahdaf got soundly beaten in the G.1 St James's Palace Stakes suggesting he might not be as good as some thought and, I think, the drying ground conditions are not helping his chances.I can't ignore the fact Althiqa is back across the pond and looking to continue her exceptional season in the United States as she bids for a third straight Grade One following wins at Belmont and Saratoga in the summer. She goes in the one-mile First Lady Stakes presented by UK HealthCare at Keeneland due off at 9.44pm our time. She looks worth an investment at 4-1 early. Charlie Appleby said of her “Althiqa has travelled back to America well. It’s a big field but she is a hold-up filly, so the draw isn’t much of a concern, while returning to a mile will pose no problem. We gave her a nice little break in Newmarket after she won the Diana Stakes and she heads back in great order. If she displays the form she has shown so far this year, it’s going to make her very competitive again.”