THERE are racehorse trainers and then there is Aidan O’Brien.
Over the last 20 years, the Ballydoyle genius has consistently re-written the record books and saddles three in today’s Fillies’ Mile (3.35pm) at Newmarket as he hunts down a 24th Group One winner of the year.
Victory this afternoon would put him within one top level success of equalling the legendary Bobby Frankel’s world record of 25 Group Ones in a calendar year.
His trio of HAPPILY, Magical and September occupy the top three places in the betting and it would be a major shock if he didn’t land the spoils with one of them.
Happily and Magical are the obvious two major contenders and not only are both daughters by Galileo, they are also pretty evenly matched when it comes to the formbook.
Magical was too good for Happily when they met in the Debutante Stakes back in August, but those placings were reversed the following month in the Moyglare Stakes.
Both fillies were in action on Arc day and while Magical could only finish fourth, albeit it very close-up, in the Prix Marcel Boussac, Happily took her form to a new level by beating the colts in the Lagardere.
The 4lb fillies’ allowance would have definitely helped her that day, but to beat the likes of Olmedo and Masar was quite some performance.
While she is marginally preferred over Magical, she may face a bigger threatfrom another stablemate in September who looked very good at Royal Ascot back in June.
She has finished behind Magical and Happily on both starts since, but there’s a chance she could bounce back after a break having been given time to strengthen up.
The home team looks to be spearheaded by the likes of Laurens and the hugely promising Magic Lily. Both are fillies with a bright future, but may not be able to handle the O’Brien trio.
If there is to be a shock then French filly Efaadah could well be overpriced at 25/1. She’ll stay the trip and could well be the surprise package.
Looking atthe rest ofthe televised action at Newmarket this afternoon and it would be no surprise to see Limato land the Challenge Stakes (3.00pm) now that the conditions are in his favour.
Last season’s July Cup hero hasn’t looked the same horse since disappointing in the Breeders’ Cup last November and hasn’t won any of his four starts since.
He drops in class today and even though he is back on a sound surface I am happy to oppose him.
John Gosden has had another terrific season and has a very interesting runner here in the three-year-old filly DABYAH who is again ridden by the evergreen Frankie Dettori.
Three-year-olds have a great record in this seven-furlong contest having landed six of the last 10 renewals and this daughter of Sepoy is unbeaten over the trip.
She hasn’t been seen since finishing a close up fourth in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and comes here fresh. The drop in distance will suit and she can go well at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
At a monster price, I certainly would n’t put anyone off also having a few quid each-way on COUGAR MOUNTAIN at 20/1.
He was sent off favourite for this prize 12 months ago and will be a different horse back on this sounder surface.
Finally, Andrew Balding has had his team in tremendous form all season and I’ve been keen on the chances of his Torcello in the Old Rowley Cup (4.10pm) ever since the entries came out.
He was 20/1 a few weeks ago and that value has long gone as he heads the market at around 11/2 now. There is every chance he will go in again, but he is 8lbs higher than last time and I prefer to look elsewhere.
HERE AND NOW beat subsequent Group One winner Stradivarius at Chester back in May and looks an interesting runner here for Ralph Beckett.
He didn’t seem to quite get home at York when last seen in August and the return to 12 furlongs ought to help. At 12/1 he looks to have a rock solid each-way chance in what looks a wideopen race.
Dabyah 3.00pm Newmarket
Cougar Mountain e/w 3.00pm Newmarket
Happily 3.35pm Newmarket
Here And Now e/w 4.10pm Newmarket