The latest of the big flat racing Festivals is now in the rear-view mirror as the season begins to wind down, but there was plenty to take out of the two-day Future Champions Festival meeting at Newmarket last weekend where we saw some excellent performances on both days including some potential Classic contenders. The meeting can often provide solid pointers towards future races that take place in the final weeks of the season as well as next season, especially the Classics and the Dewhurst Stakes usually shows up some solid 2000 Guineas contenders. We’ve taken a look back at the two-day Newmarket fixture and picked out five eyecatchers that it might pay to follow in future assignments.
5 Newmarket eyecatchers to keep in mind
Andrew Balding’s charge set out to make all in the second race of the day on Friday and champion jockey Oisin Murphy sprang his mount from the gates to take a narrow advantage. It looked like he might be swamped by challengers when coming under pressure two furlongs out but he found plenty under his rider’s urgings and soon had rivals on the stretch as he went clear between the last two furlongs.
He come home a relatively comfortable winner in the end to justify favouritism and there’s surely more to come from the daughter of Archipenko who was opening her account at the third attempt.
She got the mile well and she’s sure to improve for that breakthrough success having still looked a little inexperienced despite it being her third outing; she is likely to develop into a very useful sort in time so is definitely one to keep in mind from our Newmarket eyecatchers.
Winter Power ran out a good winner of the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes but it might be worth giving another chance to the runner-up Method who was a shade unfortunate not to finish closer although it is debatable whether he’d have troubled the runaway winner had everything gone right.
After seeing his saddle slip when tried in the Middle Park Stakes last month, Martyn Meade’s charge was set a recovery mission dropped into the Group Three contest and he still appeared to be travelling nicely when being baulked and squeezed for room two furlongs out when trying to make his move into contention.
The Mehmas colt was then carried right and gave up ground allowing the winner to get first run and that one never looked back as he ran out a comfortable winner. It was however another luckless day for Martyn Meade’s charge who remains a potentially smart prospect and there surely will be another day in the sun for him.
The win of Nebulosa franked the form of Saffron Beach who had beaten that rival on her debut at this venue and Jane Chapple-Hyam’s charge looked a very smart prospect when following up in the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes on Friday.
Softer ground proved no barrier to success and Adam Kirby had the daughter of New Bay in a good position throughout as she followed up her impressive debut success.
Always travelling well behind the leader she was sent to the front entering the last furlong and quickly asserted despite runner-up Thank You Next and eventual third Shine For You both trying to make of race it. Neither could quite get on terms though and there is a suspicion that Saffron Beach won a shade cosily despite the half-length margin of victory.
There’s likely better to come and trainer Chapple-Hyam hinted that the New Bay filly might be set for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf next month; while bookmakers were suitably impressed enough to half her odds for the Qipco 1000 Guineas next term.
Friday’s Group One feature saw a gritty performance from eventual winner Pretty Gorgeous who jumped to the head of the betting for next season’s Qipco 1000 Guineas; but the performance of the runner-up Indigo Girl was one which caught the eye.
Outpaced entering the dip, John Gosden’s charge rallied strongly climbing the hill to the finish line and although she looked held by the winner she battled her heart out to try and bridge the gap between her and Joseph O’Brien’s charge and eventually only went down by a half-length when at one point the winning gap looked likely to be much further.
Despite her position as ante-post second favourite for the Qipco 1000 Guineas behind her Newmarket conquerer she looked as if she’d benefit from a stiffer test so it came as no surprise to see trainer John Gosden declare she’d be trained for middle distances rather than the Guineas.
Her breeding suggests she’ll be better over further and she may be a nice Oaks prospect next term.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge had beaten both eventual winner St Mark’s Basilica and runner-up Wembley when looking a very exciting prospect in taking the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh in September but the Zoffany colt suffered a reversal behind both when only third in the Dewhurst behind that pair.
However there was plenty to take out of the performance which was better than the bare result and his defeat could be attributable to a number of factors, not least the softer ground which appeared not to suit and he couldn’t quite muster a change of gear in the conditions at the business end of the race.
He had travelled well into the contest off what looked a strong pace, showing plenty of speed early and he held every chance entering the last furlong. But the softer ground and climb to the finishing line appeared to just stretch him and he wilted under the challenge of the front two to eventually be beaten around two and half lengths into third.
Better ground will surely suit him and he was impressive the time before on quicker conditions at the Curragh; while his breeding suggests he’ll get further in time so he could be set for a Qipco 2000 Guineas challenge next term where the likely better ground come the May Classic would be more to his liking and he’s certainly not one to write off from our Newmarket eyecatchers.
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