13th, hopefully it will be a horror of a day for the old satchel
For the next two days HQ Newmarket very much takes centre stage with their two day Dubai Future Champions Festival. There are four pattern class races on Friday and I am involved in all four plus a Listed heat with an interesting runner.
We are straight into it at 1.50 for the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes over the five furlongs. Sponsors Godolphin should take the prize with the Charlie Appleby trained Sound And Silence. He has to give the opposition 3lb but has by far the best form in the book and has won on all sorts of going ranging from good-firm in the Listed Windsor Castle back in June at the Royal meeting through to holding when winning the Eclipse Group 3 Stakes at Maisons-Laffite last time. At 9-4 I am on.
It’s the two-year-old fillies over seven for the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes at 2.25. This has the look of a wide open heat with several in with a chance. I Can Fly was impressive on debut at Dundalk and Ryan Moore has opted for her this afternoon. If she handles the preliminaries being one so inexperienced she may just have the class to take this on the way to bigger and better things as her career progresses. I have taken the plunge based on potential rather then proven form and have the 7-2. Of those with more form on the book Gavota and Dark Rose Angel are big dangers.
At 3.00 we have the Group Two Challenge Stakes. If the word ‘firm’ was in the going description I would be very seriously considering Dutch Connection for this but it isn’t. Limato is another who has missed several engagements recently due to soft ground and is in with a shout but he’s not for me, I can only be on one at the moment. Owen Burrows runs his Massaat in this rather than going for the G.1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day and that looks to be the right decision. I backed the colt when he made a triumphant return after a year off the track when winning the G.2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury in August. I was on again in the G.1 Qatar Prix du Moulin last month where he was far from disgraced in third behind Ribchester; current jolly for the big one at Ascot next week. At 7-1 I am on the Hamdan Al Maktoum owned four-year-old. The trainer said yesterday "He seems in good form and it's been a big team effort to get him back to form. The vibes I'm hearing are that he's going to stay in training next season so with that in mind we're running here rather than the QEII. The hope is we can then try and make him into a Group One winner next season."
The main event of day one is at 3.35 the Group One bet365 Fillies' Mile. Aiden O’Brien had multiple entries for this making the race an ante-post nightmare as God only knows what horses the boys from Ballydoyle are going to send where anymore. Three of the five, Happily, Magical and September headed the market all week in the build-up and all three will line-up as O’Brien looks to win his twenty-fourth Group One of the year. The money did come for September at one point who could be backed at 5’s a couple of weeks ago and she was down to 15-8 and now is back out to 5’s again so it goes to show you cannot back O’Brien horses ante-post at the moment. Nyaleti has run well all season but does have a habit of finding one or two too good; one that might give them all something to think about at a big price is Ellthea for Karl Burke. She has progressed all season and loved every yard of the seven furlongs when winning the G.3 Weld Park Stakes in the soft last time. All that said my money is going elsewhere. Charlie Appleby gives his once raced chestnut maiden winner Magic Lily a huge rise in class pitching her in here on her second start but she did win that maiden over track and trip 20 days ago by eight lengths! It’s hard to know what she beat but the fifth that day has come out and won since. A well bred filly, by Derby hero New Approach out of Oaks winner Dancing Rain, she is at this stage on of those 'could be anything' ones as they say but Godolphin have a habit of starting off their godd’uns in races at HQ and at 6-1 she is the value pick for me in this with all the Ballydoyle runners looking a shade under priced. Appleby said: "Magic Lily is a filly we were confident would run a nice race on her first start, but she ended up winning very impressively and seeing out the one-mile trip really well. She did a nice piece of work on Saturday and that made our minds up to supplement her.”
Natavia has not been seen since finishing last in the Investec Oaks, for which she was quietly fancied by some, and returns to action in the 1m2f Listed Join Club Godolphin Pride Stakes at 5.20. Owned by Khalid Abdullah and trained by Roger Charlton if the chestnut daughter of Nathaniel is as good as connections obviously though she was she would tort up in this! "She needed plenty of time to get over Epsom," said Abdullah's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe. "Roger has brought her back steadily and she's entitled to be a bit rusty, I'd have thought. However, she has been doing things right at home and has been pleasing him. This will tell us an awful lot about which direction we go in next year, whether we carry on with her or not." Ryan Moore rides, she is in a first-time tongue-tie and at I think a nice 7-2 she is a tentative pick. As for a danger Architecture was in with the best as a 3YO, placing-up 3 times including in the English and Irish Oaks. You could look at her fourth place in a G.3 at Newbury after 11 months off track as either encouraging after such a spell on the sidelines or disappointing bearing in mind the opposition. If she shows last years form she won’t be far away but the drop to a mile-and-a-quarter I think won’t suit.