NEWMARKET stages its ‘Future Champions Day’ tomorrow with four Group races for two-year-olds featuring both the Dewhurst and the Middle Park Stakes.
The latter is first up at 2.35pm over six furlongs and my eye was immediately drawn to French raider FAMILY ONE at a general 7/2. He’ll be making his seventh start of the campaign tomorrow, but brings arguably the best form to the table and hasn’t finished out of the first two in any of those races.
Our selection finished second to Dabirism in the Prix Morny last time and that colt produced a scintillating turn of foot to win again on Arc day last Sunday. Family One was a clear second to him in the Morny with the likes of Sofast and Frederick Engels behind him and a reproduction of that run would make him hard to beat.
There has been lots of money all week for Richard Hannon’s Bronterre in the Dewhurst (3.10pm) and he is now Ladbrokes’ 3/1 co-favourite with Roger Varian’s Ektihaam and Aidan O’Brien’s POWER having been available at twice those odds earlier in the week. He was mightily impressive when winning a Listed contest at Goodwood last time, but needs to step up again to take a hand here. I’d rather stick with the Ballydoyle Coventry Stakes winner, who has the best form in the book, but Ektihaam is a danger.
Finding the winner of tomorrow’s big betting race, the Betfred Cesarewitch, is no easy task – only two winning favourites in the last 18 years is plenty proof of that.
Nicky Henderson’s Royal Ascot winner Veiled heads most lists at around 10/1, but he races off a 7lb higher mark and I just have the feeling he was allowed to slip the field in the Ascot Stakes. Cosimo De Medici was only raised 4lb for last month’s trial win over course and distance, but that didn’t look the strongest of renewals and he now holds no secrets from the handicapper.
Sir Mark Prescott seems to target this race every season with an unexposed type and Tuscan Gold flies the flag for the stable tomorrow. He may well be a lot better than his mark of 86, but, perhaps surprisingly, his trainer has never won this race and this fellow is still pretty short at 9/1 with Ladbrokes.
Buy Back Bob appears to be a typical Tony Martin plot and may well start considerably shorter than the 16/1 generally available. The four-year-old has had one run over hurdles and a spin on the flat over a mile, but you can be sure this race has been the plan all along. There may be a nice back-to-lay trading opportunity with Betdaq, but on the balance of his form he has a mountain to climb.
With a field of 30 plus runners it’s sensible to throw more than one dart at the board and my first fancy for the race is Ralph Beckett’s unexposed ASHBRITTLE. The four-year-old son of Rainbow Quest will be having only his ninth career start, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet and he may be well treated off a mark of 90.
He seemed to relish the step up in trip to 15 furlongs when winning at Doncaster on his final start last season and blatently blew up on his reappearance at Haydock back in May. He was beaten out of sight when enduring a nightmare passage in the Ascot Stakes behind Veiled, but was drastically eased when his chance had gone.
His latest eye-catching run behind Bauer over an inadequate 14 furlongs at Haydock would have put him spot on for this and at 33/1 with Ladbrokes, he looks an outstanding each-way bet. Connections reach for the headgear again (he was successful the only previous time the visor was applied) and this will help him travel, concentrate and quicken up at the business end. Stall 26 isn’t ideal, but he has been held up in the past and we’ll have to hope the gaps appear for Jim Crowley at the right time.
My second fancy is David Pipe’s BEYOND who bolted up on his first run on turf on the flat at Sandown in July. He is potentially a lot better than he has showed so far and the stable know how to ready one for this (David’s father Martin won it twice). He is another who looks potentially over-priced at 12/1 with Ladbrokes, especially from a decent draw in stall three.
Looking elsewhere on the card and I’m prepared to give John Gosden’s MAQAASID another chance in the opening Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs. She hated Goodwood last time and is reportedly in good heart after a break. She looks decent each-way value at around the 7/1 mark.
There’s just a week to go until the climax of the QIPCO British Champions Series at Ascot and Sir Henry Cecil currently tops the Trainers League Table with six wins, three seconds and a third. He already seems to have one hand on the trophy as Frankel, Twice Over and Midday are all set to feature next weekend.
As for the battle to be top jockey, Tom Queally currently sits at the top with five winners and three seconds. Frankie Dettori is within touching distance, though, and you can read all his thoughts about his Champions Day rides in next Friday’s Punter.
You can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile.
MAQAASID e/w 2.05pm Newmarket (Sat)
FAMILY ONE 2.35pm Newmarket (Sat)
POWER 3.10pm Newmarket (Sat)
ASHBRITTLE e/w 3.50pm Newmarket (Sat)
BEYOND e/w 3.50pm Newmarket (Sat)