We have a couple of cracking days racing at HQ to look forward to as the Dubai Future Champions Festival gets underway. Friday is Autumn Ladies day - what’s a Festival without a Ladies Day - but aside from the marketing cobblers, it’s a good card with four pattern races to enjoy and a Listed heat.
The card gets underway at 1.50 with the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes. They are a pretty experienced bunch for 2yo’s and the one that caught my eye is Sergei Prokofiev dropping back to 5f and down in class. Pretty highly tried in G.1’s over six furlongs recently this looks much more up his street and the yard, of course, are back in form. I grabbed 5-1. The same comments about dropping in class and trip apply to True Mason and that colt is feared.
The Group Three Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes over 7f at 2.25 has a bunch of far more unexposed 2yo’s lining up. Frosty won on debut at Dundalk for the Ballydoyle team it appeared a shade cosily with well-fancied stablemate Credenza back in third. She is the only dart thrown by Aidan O’Brien at this and that could be seen as a tip in itself. I have the 5-2.
The Group Two Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at 3.00 over 7f may go to Godolphin in the shape of their D’Bai. I have talked about this 4yo quite a bit over the last couple of seasons and if he is on a going day he is more than capable of winning this. He chased home subsequent G.2 Joel Stakes winner Mustashry last time, beaten just a neck, which looks fair form indeed. I am on at 100-30. Limato won this last year but arguably hasn’t looked as goods this season.
The Group One bet365 Fillies' Mile at 3.35 looks a very competitive heat to me with six of the eight in with realistic chances of taking the prize. Beyond Reason would surely prefer softer underfoot conditions so I am leaving her alone in this but Antonia De Vega, Hermosa, Zagitova, Pretty Pollyanna and Shambolic have all to be considered. Antonia De Vega and Shambolic arrive unbeaten but would need to improve again on what we have seen thus far and the form of the four races they have won combined isn’t exactly red hot; Zagitova was behind Antonia De Vega on debut and looks held. Hermosa looks to be the Ballydoyle number one, just, and she won the G.3 Weld Park Stakes at Nass well enough last time. All that said if you can forgive Pretty Pollyanna what looked, on paper, a below-par effort in the G.1 six-furlong Cheveley Park Stakes she obviously holds claims. I firmly believe she will be suited by stepping up two furlongs for this and fully expect her to show how good she is. Trainer Michael Bell said this week “We’re very happy with her well-being. She’s had a relatively easy time since the Cheveley Park, but Danny (Tudhope) came and sat on her on Saturday during a couple of canters up Warren Hill and he was very happy. We think she should stay seven furlongs, but we are going into uncharted territory over the mile. It’s 440 yards further than she’s been before, but I’m hopeful regarding the trip and we’re looking forward to it.” I have the 4-1.
The lucky last is the Listed Jumeirah Al Qasr Pride Stakes over 1m2f. On ratings Chain Of Daisies looks a good thing but the six-year-old is not one to trust. She won at Salisbury going away and then put in a stinker at Yarmouth last time, and at the price I could not back her – she may go on and win but she is too short to risk for me.