Day two of the big meeting at Newmarket on Saturday and I am concentrating on HQ despite the plethora of options available to us punters this weekend. My fancies for the Saturday of the Dubai Future Champions Festival follow.
They get underway at 1.10 at Newmarket on Saturday with a Nursey. The first pattern race is the 1.45 1m2f Group Three Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes. Kyprios will be all the rage here, the once-raced O'Brien runner holds a Group One entry already and won on debut; I am watching rather than punting though as he is short enough.
At 2.20 we have the mile Group Three Emirates Autumn Stakes. Dhahabi is one I have backed on both his starts to date, first and second, and the Frankel colt clearly has some ability. The same could be said for One Ruler the other Appleby runner and I have tipped him already this season as well. Both were beaten in Listed class last time though but can be forgiven. I think Dhahabi is the most likely to have more to offer today and if ridden a little more positively than last time will be there or thereabouts. I have mentioned before he cost a cool 3.1 million Guineas and it is a pedigree to die for with his grand sires being Galileo and Dubai Destination and grand mares Kind and Nuryana. At around 6-1 he is the tentative pick with Van Gogh and Maximal also feared in a warm race.
The main event if the Group One 7f Darley Dewhurst Stakes at 2.55. Chindit arrives with three 1’s next to his name from three runs and you can’t ask for more than that. His win in the G.2 Champagne Stakes looks fair form, re-opposing Albasheer second, and his chance is an obvious one. Alkumait tackles seven furlongs for the first time and even connections aren’t sure how he will deal with it. Speaking at the Tattersalls Yearling October Sales, the owner's racing manager Angus Gold, said: "Alkumait came out of the Mill Reef very well and Sheikh Hamdan was keen to run him but the doubt is his stamina if it comes up very soft.” Thunder Moon comes over from Ireland and he is unbeaten in two starts for Joseph O’Brien including when beating Wembley last time in the G.1 National Stakes. He found a fair bit of trouble in running that day and showed a willing attitude and decent turn of foot to win how he did. I think he might be slightly better than the Hannon trained colt and he is the pick at 3-1 in what might be a cracker of a race.
I had a little ante-post punt on the 2m2f Cesarewitch Stakes due off at 3.35 earlier this week but it must be said I missed the flashy prices. I am on Great White Shark at 8-1 each-way five places – I know people on at far, far bigger, I was caught napping a little on this one. Tony did me a favour last weekend and hopefully Willie Mullins can this one. 144 rated over the sticks the six-year-old mare gets in here off 86 so working on the generally held theory that 30lb/35lb is the difference between hurdle and flat ratings she is, in theory, around 23lb well in! It is of course only a theory but this appears to have been the plan for a while and Willie Mullins loves a tilt at this decent prize – saddled the winner last two years.
The 6f Listed Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes looks a punting minefield and I have steered well clear of that which brings us to the 4.50 the 1m1f Group Three Darley Stakes. Dream Castle has a chance but has to give them all weight under the conditions and his one run of soft was a disaster. Highest Ground was caught close to home in the G.2 Dante Stakes at York perhaps still a little green. Slightly shorter trip may help and as he is very much still open to improvement after three runs, he is the pick at around 5-2 with the benefit of the weight-for-age allowance and no pattern race penalty to carry.Be lucky