A couple of excellent days horse racing at Newmarket, on Friday and Saturday, with the latest renewal of the Future Champions Festival and some really excellent performances in the two Group 1 juvenile races. This was the second running of this particular Festival and I have to say that it looks capable of going from strength to strength. Prior to last year the Future Champions Day was on the Friday before Champion’s Day and I think it got a bit lost but the two-day concept works much better with a good mix of Group & Listed two-year-old races and competitive handicaps on each day too. On Saturday the National Hunt season really began with two days of top-class jumps action with some taking performance with the coming months in mind. It’s from Chepstow where my two eye catchers for this week come from.
It’s Flowery Friday for Aiden
My doubts as to how good the Moyglare form was dispelled by the running of the 2nd and 3rd in that race who finished 2nd and 1st in the Group 1 Fillies race on the Friday. Rhododendron who had finished just behind Hydrangea in the Moyglare was once again the choice of Ryan Moore and this time reversed form with her stablemate in good style. Not surprisingly she became the ante-post favourite around 5/1 for next year’s 1000 Guineas on the back of this effort. The race was run at a good pace throughout so it probably suited the first and second who should stay further than a mile as three years olds. The second should improve further as a three-year-old and looks more of an Oaks filly than a Guineas filly. Mind you I wouldn’t say that Rhododendron won’t stay the 1m 4f next year either. Connections clearly hold a strong hand for next year’s fillies Classics already.
The Oh So Sharp Stakes, a Group 3 race over 7f, wasn’t run at an even gallop and the modest early pace meant that it paid to be handy. The winner Poet’s Vanity trained by Andrew Balding was in the right place and she will also no doubt be heading for the 1000 Guineas now. She does, however, looks more a speedy sort so it will be interesting to see if she does get the mile next year or whether she will be more of a sprinting type. Andre Fabre brought over Miss France to win this race in 2013 before landing the following years 1000 Guineas. This year he saddled Double Lady who was dropped in at the start and never really had much chance from her position given the way the race was run. Stayed on well into 5th at the finish and looks capable of improving much further over the winter. The mile of the 1000 Guineas will really suit here and the fact that her trainer brought her over to sample the course suggests he does see her as a possible for the first classic of the season. One to keep an eye on for next year, as I think she is better than she was able to show in this race.
Churchill Does It Again!
Aiden O’Brien also has the favourite for the 2000 Guineas with Churchill. The son of Galileo made it 5 straight wins since being beaten on his racecourse debut in the Curragh back in May when staying on to strongly for his rivals in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes over 7f. O’Brien also had the 2nd in Lancaster Bomber who is a useful sort. It would be easy to crib the form of his win here with many of his rivals not really running their races. The third Blue Point didn’t stay the 7f. The Andrew Balding-trained South Seas came into the race 3 from 3 but found all this happening to quick for him here. All three of his wins had come with soft in the going description and being by Lope De Vega is a better horse with ease in the ground. Frankel colt Seven Heavens was far too keen in his race and needs to learn to settle if he is good enough for this level as a three-year-old. He beats whatever is put against him and that’s all you can ask. A big strong colt already but he has the scope to make up into a top class three year old and I do prefer him to his stablemate, the highly regarded, Caravaggio for next years 2000 Guineas
The well handicapped Sweet Selection won the Cesarewitch in really good style for Hughie Morrison. The four-year-old showed once again that the further she goes the better she is. It was another success in a staying handicap for her trainer. It’s worth looking at Hughie Morrison’s record in 1m 5 ½ f plus handicaps since 2013 – 31 winners from 136 runners 23% +48.05 A/E 1.33 63 places 46%. He’s definitely a trainer I will be looking out for in staying races in the future.
Coronet Could Be Set For Oaks Crown
The most taking performance of the day came from the John Gosden-trained filly Coronet who won the listed 1m 2f Zetland Stakes. Held up in the rear she made solid headway out wide and once she took the lead inside the final furlong there was only going to be one winner. A winner of her maiden at Leicester on her previous start she still looked inexperienced here and this will have done plenty for her in that regard. She does look an Oaks filly and there should be more to come from her as a three-year-old. After the race, it was interesting to read the trainer’s comments on the filly “We think she´s an Oaks filly” high praise indeed even at this early stage. The 20/1 that was available after her win has gone but she can still be backed at 16/1 with Ladbrokes & Bet365 and looks worth a modest nibble at those prices even with the race being eight months away!
This Week’s Eyecatchers
Before looking at this weeks two tracker horse I will start by looking at an eye-catching trainer’s performance in the past few weeks. Rebecca Curtis has made a great start to the National Hunt winter season which augers well for the rest of the season. Last season her stable was hit by a virus but hopefully, that is a thing of the past and she will probably have a few well-handicapped horses in her yard as well as some potential top class performers. In the last 30 days, she is 5 winners from 17 runners and in the past 7 days she is 4 winners from 12 runners 33% +21 6 places 50%. Definitely a trainer I will be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.
Sunday October 9th
Double Shuffle – Tom George – The six-year-old was said to have improved physically over the summer by his trainer and he ran a great race in this 2m 4f handicap Chase. He was staying on well after the last but was unable to catch the winner and had to settle for 2nd beaten just a head at the line. The winner Art Mauresque looked the fitter of the pair before the race which shows how well Double Shuffle ran. He was third in a valuable novice handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival and on the evidence of his comeback run looks set for a good season. All three of his career wins have come when racing 31 to 60 days since his last run. Has won on soft but is probably better on nicer ground being 2 wins from 6 starts 5 places on good or good to soft ground. At his age, there should be more to come from the son of Milan this year and he can win races at around 2m 4f and could stay a bit further given he has strengthened up.
Loose Chips – Charlie Longsdon – The ten-year-old is as tough as ‘old boots’ as he showed here. He loves to be out in front and he jumped well setting a good gallop. Was headed by the eventual winner and looked like he would weaken out of it but he seemed to get a second wind and rallied really well to be still in contention after the last. Has never won off a 121+ day break, 0 from 6, with all his seven career wins coming when running between 16 & 60 days since his last run. He is ground versatile with wins on ground varying from good to heavy. He showed here that he can run good races going left handed but all seven of his career wins have come when going the other way round and it’s worth mentioning that he is 5 wins from 12 starts 7 places at Kempton & Sandown. Can win a race I am sure this winter, with the final of the Veteran Series held at Sandown in January looking like a race he will be aimed at.
Something different this week I will be adding the first three of my ten tracker horses, exclusively for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers. The others will be added over the coming two weeks. It’s fairly exciting as I will indicate optimum conditions and when the horses should be backed to make a profit.
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s betting culminating in Champion’s Day next Saturday at Ascot.