Newmarket stages a fantastic afternoon of racing on Saturday, as its We Are 350 initiative, commemorating 350 years of racing at Headquarters, draws to a close.
The Group 3 Dubai 100 Autumn Stakes gets the big race action underway and is run over a mile by two year olds.
Best Solution has proved consistent in all four starts to date. The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Kodiac ran with promise on his debut when finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 15 to Kodiline at Windsor in early July. He got off the mark next time out, winning a Goodwood maiden in late July by a length from the highly-regarded Rich And Famous. In early September he headed to Turkey for a valuable Listed race, finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 5 to the prolific local horse Waneta. Towards the end of that month he contested the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, coming home 1 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 behind Larchmont Lad.
Law And Order shaped with promise on his debut when finishing a length third of 11 to the useful Salsabeel in a Yarmouth maiden in mid-August. The James Tate trained son of Lawman made no mistake at Newmarket later that month, running out a 1 ½ lengths winner of a maiden from Rummani. In late September he stepped up in class for the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, running 3 ¼ lengths fifth of 8 behind Larchmont Lad.
Lockheed comes here with solid credentials and consistent form. The William Haggas trained grey son of Exceed And Excel ran well on debut in an Ascot maiden in early July, finishing a length second of 12 to the exciting Frankel colt Seven Heavens. At the end of that month, he landed a maiden at Glorious Goodwood, beating Ray’s The Money by ½ a length. In late August he headed to York’s Group 3 Acomb Stakes and ran well to finish a length third of 7 to Syphax. He then travelled over to the Curragh in early September for the Group 1 National Stakes, again running a decent race to finish 4 ½ lengths third of 7 behind Churchill.
Montataire showed promise in his first two starts but has flourished since then and comes here off a career best effort. The Mark Johnston trained son of Cape Cross ran second to Top Score on his racecourse debut at Ripon in mid-May and in early June finished 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to the smart Boynton at Goodwood. He got off the mark at Hamilton Park later than month with an impressive 2 ¼ lengths defeat of What’s The Story and made it back to back wins when defeating Mister Blue Sky by ½ a length in an Ascot nursery in early July. A couple of weeks later he completed his hat-trick in a Newmarket nursery, beating Luduamf by 3 ¼ lengths, before his run came to a halt, thanks to one of his own stable mates, when he finished 4 lengths second of 15 to Bear Valley in a nursery at Glorious Goodwood in late July. He got back to winning ways with a spectacular performance in a Listed race at Salisbury in August, beating Gemina by 5 lengths. However, stepping up in class for the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, he was a disappointing 3 ½ lengths 6th of 8 behind Best Of Days, at Newmarket in late September.
Pleaseletmewin comes into this race with plenty of experience but off a lengthy break. The Ralph Beckett trained son of Power was a well beaten fourth of 5 behind Yalta on his debut at Goodwood in May. At the end of that month he lost his maiden tag when defeating Zamjar by a short head at Wolverhampton. The following month he headed to Newmarket for a novice contest, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 8 to Apex King, but his return there yielded his most impressive performance to date at the July Festival, as he won a valuable nursery by ½ a length from Bacchus. In late July he stepped up in class for the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, coming home 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to War Decree. He has not raced since and now steps up to a mile.
Rodaini has that pleasing knack of finding ways to win races and is now unbeaten in four starts. The Simon Crisford trained son of Exchange Rate landed a Leicester maiden in late May by just a nose from Magillen, before adding a Lingfield Park novice race in mid-August by an impressive 4 ½ lengths from Matthioli. He completed his hat-trick with a ½ a length victory over Clef in a Newmarket nursery in late August, before stepping up in class and winning a thrilling Listed race at Doncaster in early September, defeating Salsabeel by a short head.
Sea Fox showed promise when second on his first two starts, before going one better last time out. The David Evans trained son of Kodiac was a short head second of 13 to Aardwolf in a Newbury maiden in June. Just under two weeks later he was second again, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Jackhammer, at Salisbury. He lost his maiden tag when defeating Grey Britain by a length in a Lingfield Park maiden in early July and the following month was far from disgraced in a Listed Salisbury contest, running 5 ¾ lengths third of 10 to Montataire. He returned to the Wiltshire venue in early September and again ran well when ½ a length second of 5 to Salouen. A week later Evans sent his charge to Chantilly for the Group 3 Prix des Chenes, where he finished 4 ½ lengths fourth of 6 to Akihiro. In late September he ran a super race in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, finishing a length third of 8 to Best of Days.
Solomon’s Bay looked in need of the run when finishing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 12 behind Seven Heavens in an Ascot maiden in early July, although at that time the Roger Varian yard was out of form. This flashy son of Exceed And Excel, with a big white face, looked a very different proposition when landing a Yarmouth maiden in mid-September by ¾ of a length from Calibration and there could be plenty more improvement to come.
The Anvil has shown promise and ability in both starts to date but perhaps needs a little more time to show his best. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo ran 2 ¼ lengths second of 11 to stable mate Utah in a Curragh maiden in early August. A month later he travelled to Doncaster for another maiden and travelled well before fading late on and coming home ½ a length third of 8 to Glencadam Glory. He returned to the UK for the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in late September and put up a terrific performance, staying on in eye catching fashion to run ¼ of a length second of 8 to Best Of Days.
Zainhom shaped with promise on his debut to finish 3 ¾ lengths third of 5 behind Berengaria in a Leicester maiden in early August. The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Street Cry impressed on his next start, landing a York maiden by an authoritative 2 ¼ lengths from Dick Tracy in early September. He takes a big step up in class now and is an interesting runner.
The Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs, needs little introduction, as the gateway to two year old champions and future Classic winners.
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse
Blue Point looked tremendously exciting earlier in the season and ran well when stepped up in class last time, although losing his unbeaten record. The Charlie Appleby trained son of Shamardal got the better of Tafaakhor at Nottingham in early June, but put up a striking performance when landing a novice contest at Doncaster in mid-July, slamming Shamsaya by 11 lengths. Later that month he headed to Goodwood with a lofty reputation and ran ¼ of a length second of 4 to the streetwise Mehmas in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes. He more than made up for that reversal when taking the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York in August, beating Mokarris by an authoritative three lengths. Two weeks ago he ran in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs, finishing ¾ of a length second of 10 behind The Last Lion. It is interesting to see him return so quickly and now step up to seven furlongs.
The exciting Churchill shaped with promise on debut and then landed the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo ran 2 ½ lengths third of 11 to Van Der Decken in a Curragh maiden in late May. The following month he got the 7 furlongs well in the Listed Chesham Stakes to beat Isomer by ½ a length. In late July he won the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown but was made to work hard to beat Alexios Komnenos by a neck. A month later he contested the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh and got the better of Radio Silence by 2 lengths. He took time to find top gear and looked a little lazy, although clearly possessing an impressive engine. However, returning to the Curragh for the Group 1 National Stakes in early September, he was far more impressive, quickening away from Mehmas for a 4 ¼ lengths victory and he sets the standard here.
Lancaster Bomber shaped as if in need of his debut run, when finishing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 13 to Arcada in a Curragh maiden in mid-July. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front made no mistake on his next start, beating True Valour by a short head in a Leopardstown maiden in early August. He ran 5 ½ lengths last of 4 behind Churchill in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in late August. The following month he was 9 lengths fifth of 7 to his illustrious stable mate in the Group 1 National Stakes and has plenty to find on the formbook here.
Rivet ran with great promise on debut to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 6 to Eqtiraan in an Ascot maiden in late July. The William Haggas trained son of Fastnet Rock then stepped up to seven furlongs for a maiden at York’s Ebor Festival and impressed greatly as he beat Contrapposto (a subsequent winner) by 3 ¼ lengths. The following month Rivet stepped up in class for the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, beating Thunder Snow by a head in a thrilling finish. He looks a tough horse but will need to step up again here.
Much has been made of the first crop of Frankel and whilst they have run well to a point, they have come up short at Group 1 level. Seven Heavens, who runs in those same Abdullah silks, bid to readdress that issue. The John Gosden colt made a winning debut when defeating the useful Lockheed by a length in an Ascot maiden in early July. In late August he ran in a two-horse contest at Goodwood, pulling hard for much of the race before lengthening well away from Shabeeh to record a six length victory. There were mixed reactions to his antics and he takes a massive step up in class here, needing to learn to settle.
South Seas has started to build a lofty reputation and looks a threat to all here. The Andrew Balding trained son of Lope De Vega slammed his rivals by 8 lengths in a Windsor maiden in late June. In mid-July he headed up to Haydock Park for a novice contest and was well on top in the latter stages, beating Abiento by 2 ¾ lengths. He then showed his class in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park in late August, beating subsequent Group 1 runner-up Salouen by 2 ¼ lengths. He appears to have been patiently waited with for this race ever since.
Thunder Snow made a taking debut when winning a Leicester maiden by 1 ¼ lengths from Parys Mountain in May. The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Helmet was not disgraced in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes when running 8 ½ lengths 6th of 18 to Caravaggio in mid-June. He then stepped up to seven furlongs at Goodwood in late July, running a super race in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes to finish 1 ¾ lengths third of 9 to War Decree. He was not seen again until the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in early September, running a blinder to finish a head second of 6 to Rivet.
Next up comes one of the great sights in horse racing as a mammoth field races across the wide open expanses of Newmarket in the Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap over 2 ¼ miles.
Fun Mac struggled and was well beaten on his first four starts of the year, but has come back to form in his last two starts. The Hughie Morrison trained 5 year old landed a conditions race at Salisbury in early September by 2 lengths from Vive Ma Fille, before running well in a Listed contest at Newmarket later that month, coming home ½ a length third of 6 to Justice Belle.
Oriental Fox was beaten just a short head by Grumeti in last year’s Cesarewitch, but has had mixed results during 2016. The Mark Johnston trained 8 year old was fourth in a Listed race at Ascot behind Elite Army in May, before finishing 7 lengths fourth of 18 to Commissioned in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot the following month. He was disappointing in a Listed race at Sandown Park in early July and tailed off in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup behind Big Orange, later that month. In late August he ran well in the Ebor at York, coming home 8 ½ lengths 6th of 20 behind Heartbreak City and ten days later ran well at Goodwood too, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 5 to St Michel in a handicap. In early September he disappointed in a Doncaster handicap when a tailed off 10th of 11 behind Wall Of Fire.
Shrewd has proved a highly accomplished dual purpose horse during 2016, winning a Listed hurdle at Musselburgh in February, one of three victories over hurdles. The Iain Jordan trained 6 year old is equally adept on the flat and won a Wolverhampton contest in late March before disappointing in the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle the following month. He ran 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 12 to Forever Popular in a York handicap in late May but was most impressive on his return there the following month, beating Rite To Reign by 3 ¼ lengths. Shrewd was back at the Knavesmire in a Listed race in early July, finishing 5 ½ lengths fifth of 10 to Pamona and the following month ran a belter in the Ebor to finish 4 lengths second of 20 to Heartbreak City. In early September he floundered in the soft ground in a Haydock Park handicap when 13th of 17 to Intense Tango, but performed with great credit in Newmarket’s Cesarewitch Trial in mid-September, finishing 7 ½ lengths third of 17 to Penglai Pavilion.
Seismos is a former Group performer of some note and won the Geoffrey Freer Stakes back in 2014. However after missing nearly an entire year, the Marco Botti trained 8 year old has struggled in recent starts. He ran 5 ¼ lengths third of 9 to Frosty Berry in a Listed race at Nottingham in April, but has been well beaten in three subsequent runs. Last time out he was a remote 9th to Heartbreak City in the Ebor Handicap at York in late August.
Ennistown has his first start on the flat since running down the field in the 2014 November Handicap at Doncaster. In the intervening period, he has developed into a useful handicap hurdler for David Pipe and landed a Cartmel contest in late August by 11 lengths from Boruma.
Angel Gabrial won the 2014 Northumberland Plate but has not won since. The Richard Fahey trained 7 year old was a tailed of last of 12 to Gang Warfare in a Wolverhampton handicap in late March. He also failed to strike a blow in the Chester Cup in early May, coming home 4 ¾ lengths 8th of 17 to No Heretic. However, later that month he showed signs of a return to form when finishing 7 ¾ lengths third of 9 to the progressive Moonrise Landing in a Listed York handicap. He ran poorly when 16th to Antiquarium in the latest Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in late June, and was a well beaten 9th of 17 behind Intense Tango in a Haydock Park handicap in early September. Later that month he hinted at a return to form when 2 ¾ lengths third of 12 behind Faithful Mount at the same venue.
The Twisler was in fine form in the late summer of 2015, winning back to back races with his success in the Listed March Stakes at Goodwood. However, the Jane Chapple-Hyam trained 4 year old has been badly out of form this year with a series of wide margin defeats. Last time out he finished 34 lengths 16th of 17 behind Intense Tango in a Haydock Park handicap in early September.
Mill Springs is a relatively lightly-raced filly from the John Gosden stable, who has been racing in pattern company. The 4 year old daughter of Shirocco showed promise in a couple of maidens in the spring, finishing 5 lengths fifth of 12 to stable mate Gretchen at Newmarket in mid-May. A month later, she was second in another maiden at Chepstow and 10 days later she got off the mark at the Welsh venue, when beating Paddys Runner by 4 lengths. She then ran in a Salisbury handicap in mid-August, finishing 3 ½ lengths second of 8 to Stockhill Diva. Mill Springs took a big step up in class in September, contesting the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes and running 6 lengths 7th of 11 to stable mate Gretchen. The following month she landed a Listed event at Ascot over 1 ¾ miles, when beating Secateur by 2 ¼ lengths. She reappeared in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock Park in late May, running 17 lengths last of 7 to stable mate Journey. She then headed to Royal Ascot for the Ascot Stakes in mid-June, running well to finish 2 lengths third of 20 to Jennies Jewel. In late July she dropped to this distance in the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, finishing 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 7 behind stable mate California. In early September she was a tailed off last of 12 behind Simple Verse in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Nakeeta enjoyed a super second half of the season last year and has good Chester form. The Iain Jardine trained 5 year old ran ½ a length second of 10 to Mysterial in a Chester handicap in early August and filled the same position when beaten 1 ½ lengths by Polarisation at Hamilton towards the end of that month. He recorded his first victory for two years when beating Pearl Castle by a neck in a Haydock Park handicap in early September and followed-up there three weeks later, when defeating Hassle by ½ a length. Nakeeta returned to action with a terrific performance in the Chester Cup in early May, finishing a short head second of 17 to No Heretic. After running a disappointing 10th of 20 to Antiquarium in the Northumberland Plate, he was 4 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to Magic Circle in a York handicap in early July, before running well at Ascot later that month, when ½ a length second of 11 to Sea Of Heaven. A month later he returned to the Knavesmire and ran well in a competitive handicap at York’s Ebor Festival, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 15 behind Oceane.
Blue Rambler was a useful horse in France in 2013 but has been sparingly raced on the flat since then, having just the one start this year. The Ian Williams trained 6 year old ran four times over hurdles between last December and March, placing on three occasions, before running 2 ½ lengths third of 17 to Intense Tango in a Haydock Park handicap on the flat in early September, his first start since March.
First Mohican has run several good races of late without winning and probably needs to step up to win this race. The Alan King stable won this race a year ago and this 8 year old, who disappointed at Goodwood in May and Royal Ascot the following month, has run reasonably well since. He was 4 lengths fourth of 14 to Elidor in a competitive handicap at Glorious Goodwood in late July, before finishing 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 11 to Muntahaa in a Listed handicap at Chester a month later. In early September he ran well in a competitive Doncaster handicap, coming home 1 ¾ lengths third of 11 to Wall Of Fire.
After some disappointing runs in the spring, Yorkidding landed back to back victories with a ½ a length defeat of Forgotten Hero at York in early July and a ¾ of a length victory over Masterpaver at Ascot, later that month. The Mark Johnston trained 4 year old then disappointed in a Listed race in Dusseldorf, before finishing 2 ¾ lengths fifth of 15 to Barsanti in a handicap at York’s Ebor Festival in late August. Towards the end of that month he won again, landing a Newmarket handicap by 1 ¼ lengths from Real Dominion and he ran well on his return to Germany in a Listed contest at Baden Baden in early September, finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 8 to Weltmacht.
Gabrial The Hero is a talented horse who has endured very long spells on the sidelines during a stop-start career. The Richard Fahey trained 7 year old ended last season on a high note with three excellent runs on the all-weather in December. After finishing ¾ of a length second of 8 to Corton Lad at Wolverhampton, he landed a Southwell handicap by 2 lengths from Yul Finegold. He made it back to back victories when defeating Cotton Club by a neck at Lingfield Park in late December. He was not seen out again until running a fine race in the Chester Cup, finishing 2 ½ lengths fourth of 17 to No Heretic in early May. Late the following month he was a creditable 4 ¾ lengths 6th of 20 behind Antiquarium in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. In early August he ran well again to finish a head second of 7 to Intense Tango at Musselburgh, but he disappointed at Chester in a Listed handicap later that month when 11 lengths 8th of 11 to Muntahaa. He ran poorly on his latest start in soft ground at Haydock Park in early September, finishing 21 lengths 14th of 17 to Intense Tango.
Having run poorly in the spring in three starts, Mistiroc hit form with a vengeance, winning a Chester handicap in early July by ½ a length from Newera and following-up with success in a handicap at Ascot’s Shergar Cup in early August, where he defeated Duretto by 1 ¼ lengths. The John Quinn trained 5 year old ran poorly back at Chester in late August when finishing a tailed off last of 11 behind Muntahaa and he has not raced since.
My Reward looked set for a good season with two fine runs in the spring, but has been disappointing since. The Tim Easterby trained 4 year old ran 2 ¼ lengths second of 14 to Mirsaale in a Ripon handicap in late April, before winning a Haydock Park handicap a month later, beating Moscato by 1 ¼ lengths. He has since struggled, failing to place in his four subsequent races and looks up against it.
Montaly was lightly-raced in 2015 and has gradually come back to form this term. The Andrew Balding trained 5 year old shaped as though in need of the run when well beaten behind Kinema at Goodwood in May, but ran with credit when 8 lengths fifth of 20 to Jennies Jewel in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June. A month later he ran 4 ¾ lengths third of 10 to Sweet Selection at Newbury and last time out finished a head second of 17 to Intense Tango in a Haydock Park handicap in early September.
Havana Beat put a string of disappointing results behind him with a promising effort on his latest start. He ran 10 lengths fourth of 5 to Bateel on his return in a Listed race at Newmarket in late June. The Rob Millman trained 6 year old was well beaten in four subsequent starts, running 4 ½ lengths 7th of 15 to Oceane at York’s Ebor Festival and a couple of days later finishing a well beaten 15th of 20 to Heartbreak City in the Ebor itself. In early September he headed to Ffos Las, where on soft ground he came into his own, finishing 3 lengths second of 7 to Monotype.
Sea of Heaven had a good 2015 campaign but finished a well beaten 12th of 20 to Dannyday on his seasonal bow at Newcastle in late June. The Sir Mark Prescott trained 4 year old ran well in a Newbury handicap in mid-July to finish 1 ¾ lengths second of 10 to Sweet Selection, before landing an Ascot handicap a week later by ½ a length from Nakeeta. He continued his good form at the same track in the Shergar Cup meeting, finishing ¼ of a length second of 10 to Arch Villain, but disappointed last time out when 5 lengths fifth of 11 to Muntahaa in a Listed handicap at Chester in late August.
The Minch stunned many race goers when on debut in a Grade 2 Bumper at Aintree, he finished 2 lengths third of 17 to Bacardys. However, the Jim Goldie trained 5 year old has failed to trouble the judge in three wide-margin defeats on the flat since then and looks to face an uphill task.
Life Less Ordinary has had a good season and finished second in four of his first five starts during the present campaign. The Jamie Osborne trained 4 year old ended a hat-trick of second place finishes when winning a Sandown Park handicap in late July by a neck from Chartbreaker. A month later he finished 8th of 15 behind Oceane in a valuable handicap at York’s Ebor Festival, before running a decent 6 ½ lengths fourth of 7 to An Fear Ciuin in a Chester handicap in early September. He came back to form when winning an Ascot handicap last week by 1 ½ lengths from Noble Silk.
Star Rider was twice successful in 2015 but has been lightly-raced this term and takes quite a step up in grade here. The Hughie Morrison trained 4 year old daughter of Cape Cross ran well on her return in a Goodwood handicap in late May, finishing 2 ½ lengths third of 9 behind Tioga Pass. She returned to the Sussex track in mid-June for another handicap and again came third, beaten 6 ¼ lengths by Boite. In late July she stepped up to two miles and 5 furlongs for a valuable handicap at Goodwood, beating Percy Veer by 2 lengths. She then took a big step up in class, contesting the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster, but coming home a tailed off 11th of 12 to Simple Verse.
Renneti at his best is a useful dual purpose horse who ran fourth in last year’s Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham and third in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, just before Christmas. Since then the Willie Mullins trained 7 year old has failed to really fire in four races on the flat, running his best race when 3 ¾ lengths fourth of 20 to Swamp Fox in a Galway handicap in late July. He needs a lot more here.
Modem is another useful horse on the level and over timber, but one who does not win very often, despite his consistency. The Jessica Harrington trained 6 year old ran 6 ¾ lengths third of 5 to Order Of St George in a Listed contest at Leopardstown in early June and later that month was beaten just a nose by Papa’s Way in a Curragh handicap. The following month he returned there and came 9 ¼ lengths third of 9 to Zeftan, before running a super race in the valuable Galway Hurdle, coming home 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 20 behind Clondaw Warrior. In August he disappointed at York behind Oceane and last time out was a well beaten 15th of 16 to Quick Jack in a valuable Leopardstown handicap over Irish Champions Weekend in early September.
Wind Place And Sho ran well to finish second to Star Rider in a Newmarket handicap in October of last year, but save for one run, has struggled during 2016. The James Eustace trained 4 year old ran poorly at Epsom Downs and York in the spring before landing a Pontefract handicap in June by 6 lengths from Riptide. He has since disappointed in two more runs and faces a stiff task here.
Leah Freya shaped with promise on her seasonal return when finishing 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 12 to Barwick in an Epsom Downs handicap in late April. The Pat Phelan trained 5 year old mare then struggled at Newbury in July and Ascot the following month, before finishing fifth of 6 to Colonial Classic at Goodwood in late August. She came back to winning form in a Newbury handicap in mid-September, beating Not Never by 2 ½ lengths.
The Cashel Man was a winner three times last year and started the present campaign well when finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 15 to Saigon City in a York handicap in May. The David Simcock trained 4 year old then disappointed at Newcastle and Goodwood, before running 2 ¾ lengths third of 15 to Oceane in a valuable York handicap at the Ebor Festival in late August. He again ran well at Newmarket in the Cesarewitch Trial three weeks ago, coming home 3 lengths second of 17 to Penglai Pavilion.
Starchitect has made his mark over hurdles and ran a belter when second to Agrapart in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February. The David Pipe trained 5 year old ran fifth of 26 to Superb Story in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and third of 22 to Party Rock in a valuable Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April, before landing a Newton Abbot handicap hurdle in early May. Towards the end of that month he had a spin on the flat at Salisbury, beating Icebuster by 2 ¼ lengths. He has not raced since.
Gabrial’s Star failed to make too much of an impression in his first four starts of the year but hinted at improvement when finishing 8 ¼ lengths third of 7 to St Michel in a Beverley handicap in July. The Richard Fahey trained 7 year old disappointed at Ayr behind Buonarroti later that month but in August landed a Beverley handicap by 7 lengths from Full Day. Nine days later he again ran well at Chester to finish ½ a length third of 11 to Chocala, but has disappointed on his last two starts.
Sweet Selection bookended her 2015 campaign with victories at Goodwood and Chelmsford, but has stepped up a notch this year. The Hughie Morrison trained 4 year old daughter of Stimulation ran 8 ¾ lengths fourth of 14 to Rayvin Black in a Goodwood handicap in late April, before landing a Nottingham handicap in mid-May by 3 ¼ lengths from Hallstatt. The following month she beat Aldreth by 2 lengths at Musselburgh, before completing her hat-trick with a 1 ¾ lengths defeat of Sea Of Heaven in a valuable Newbury handicap in mid-July. A month later she ran well to finish 3 lengths fourth of 15 to Oceane in a competitive handicap at York’s Ebor Festival. She then took a huge step up in class and acquitted herself well in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup in early September, finishing 7 ¾ lengths fifth of 8 to Sheikhzayedroad and subsequent Group 1 winner Quest For More.
Like many of Tony Martin’s horses, Moonmeister has come back to form seemingly from nowhere, having mixed flat racing and hurdling with mixed success. The 5 year old ran poorly in his first five starts of the year before running 6th in a valuable Galway handicap in late July. He then ran a mighty race to finish ½ a length third of 15 to Barsanti in a York handicap, putting all those previous bad runs behind him in late August. A month later he went even closer, finishing a head second of 8 to Massayan at Gowran Park.
Golden Spear is another Tony Martin runner that gets into a valuable handicap off a low weight after some in and out form. This 5 year old won a Listowel handicap hurdle in September of last year before disappointing in the Irish November Handicap at Leopardstown last October. He was not seen out again until winning a handicap at the Galway Festival in late July, beating Abraham by ½ a length. The following month he ran well to finish 3 lengths fifth of 16 to stable mate Quick Jack in a valuable Leopardstown handicap.
Grumeti was a surprise winner of this race a year ago but has not achieved too much since. The Alan King trained 8 year old struggled over hurdles last winter and has been well beaten in four runs on the flat this year and looks to face a tough assignment on recent runs.
St Michel showed signs of ability at two but has really blossomed into a smart and exciting young stayer as this summer has advanced. The Sir Mark Prescott trained 3 year old son of Sea The Stars was fourth on his return at Leicester in May, before running 2 ¼ lengths second of 12 to Dai Harrald in a Hamilton Park handicap in early June. He then stepped up to 14 furlongs for the first time at Chelmsford in mid-June, landing a minor handicap by 2 ¼ lengths from Scarpeta. That broke his maiden at the sixth attempt and he has not stopped improving since then. He was 4 ½ lengths second of 5 to Emperor Napoleon at Bath on his next run, before landing a Beverley handicap by 7 lengths from Arrowtown in early July. He was out again just nine days later and narrowly went down to a short head defeat at the hands of Parliamenatarian at Sandown Park. In early August his winning seam returned with an impressive 3 ¼ lengths defeat of Planetoid in a Newmarket handicap. He made it back to back victories at Goodwood in late August when beating Oriental Fox by 1 ½ lengths despite hanging badly left in the latter stages. He then took a huge step up in class for the Group 2 Doncaster Cup in early September, running well to finish 2 ¼ lengths third of 8 to Sheikhzayedroad.
Graasten is the last horse to make the handicap, although there are two reserves. This Gary Moore trained ex-German 4 year old won twice in 2014 but struggled last year, before running fifth over hurdles at Plumpton in late February. Last weekend he had another run over timber at Fontwell Park, running well to finish 8 lengths second of 8 to Affaire D’Honneur.
Always Resolute is the first reserve and Brian Ellison’s 5 year old has been in cracking form with three victories earlier this year. Last time out he ran well again to finish ¾ of a length third of 10 to Impulsive American in a handicap at Ayr in mid-September.
Teak ran 32nd of 34 horses behind Grumeti in last year’s race and has continued in a similar vein of form during 2016, failing to place over hurdles or in four starts on the flat. She is the second reserve.
This cracking card finishes with the Group 3 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Darley Stakes over nine furlongs.
Big Baz landed back to back Listed contests when beating Mitchum Swagger by a head at Newmarket in late October and Very Special by 1 ¼ lengths at Kempton Park the following month in 2015, but comes here off a very long lay-off. The William Muir trained 6 year old then headed out to Dubai and ran well when finishing a length second of 8 to More Aspen at Meydan in mid-January. Later that month he stepped up to Group 2 level but was tailed off in last place behind Forries Waltz. In late February he contested the Group 2 Zabeel Mile and ran much better as he came home 3 ¾ lengths 6th of 10 to the classy Safety Check. He then ran at the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park, in late March, finishing 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 12 to Captain Joy in the Mile Championships contest. He has not raced since.
Carry On Deryck was a useful horse in the spring of last year, winning a Chester handicap and finishing 2 lengths fourth of 28 to War Envoy in the Britannia Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago. However, that was the last time we saw this 4 year old. The Saeed bin Suroor charge made a winning return in Meydan last February, beating Udododontu by ½ a length in a handicap. After a considerable break he returned in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in June, running 4 lengths 9th of 28 to Portage. The following month he was disappointing in the John Smith’s Cup when finishing 6 ½ lengths 12th of 19 behind Educate, although he showed improvement in the valuable Betfred Mile at Goodwood in late July, coming home 4 lengths 6th of 19 behind the ill-fated Franklin D. He was off the track for nearly two months afterwards, before running a brilliant race in the Cambridgeshire to finish 2 ¼ lengths second of 31 behind Spark Plug.
Custom Cut enjoyed a terrific 2015, culminating in his victory in the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown last September. The David O’Meara trained 7 year old had a sensational 2014 campaign, winning 5 successive races and developed into arguably the most progressive horse of the year. He was back to his best at Leopardstown in mid-September, easily holding the late finish of Top Notch Tonto to win by 1 ¾ lengths and a couple of weeks later Custom Cut ran another fine race, but was unable to repel the late finish of the classy Time Test, finishing a length second in the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket. He then headed to Longchamp for the Group 1 Prix de la Foret in early October, coming home 8 ½ lengths 10th of 13 to Make Believe. He returned to action in a Listed Doncaster race in early April, finishing 4 lengths third of 4 to Belardo. A few days later he headed to Newmarket for the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes, finishing 3 lengths fourth of 9 to Mahsoob. He was expected to run well in the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown in early May, but threw in a rare stinker, finishing 5 lengths last of 8 to Steip Amach and will need more here. However, he looked much more like his old self in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom Downs in early June, finishing ¼ of a lengths third of 7 to Tullius. A month later he headed to Ascot for the Group 2 Summer Mile, finishing 3 ½ lengths fourth of 10 behind Mutakayyef. He then travelled to Leopardstown in August for the Group 3 Desmond Stakes and was a shade disappointing, coming home 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 to Tribal Beat. Nine days later he reappeared in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 10 behind Scottish. In early he ran in the Group 3 Superior Mile at Haydock Park, coming home 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 behind Hathal and a week later he ran another solid race to finish 1 ½ lengths second of 7 to Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Awtaad, in the latest renewal of the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown, on Irish Champions Weekend. He then headed to Newmarket in late September for the Group 2 Joel Stakes, finishing a little disappointingly 6 ¾ lengths fifth of 6 behind Cougar Mountain.
Muffri’Ha was not seen out until mid-summer and took time to find her best form, but comes here a recent Newmarket winner. The William Haggas trained 4 year old daughter of Iffraaj was well beaten on her return in a Listed race at Ascot, won by Red Box, in late July. In early August she improved to run 1 ½ lengths fourth of 13 to Aljazzi in a Listed contest at Haydock Park, but disappointed in a Sandown Park handicap later that month, coming home 3 ¼ lengths 7th of 12 to Baydar. A month later she ran well in a Listed Newmarket race when finishing 4 ¾ lengths third of 5 to Laugh Aloud. She returned to the Rowley Mile last weekend and was successful in a handicap, beating Crowning Glory by 1 ¾ lengths.
Abdon comes into this race lightly-raced and open to improvement. The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Cacique won his only start at two, beating Navajo War Dance by ½ a length in a Newmarket maiden last August. He returned in the Listed Newmarket Stakes at the end of April, finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 8 to Hawkbill. In mid-June he disappointed in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot when 11 lengths 8th of 9 behind the same rival. Abdon was not seen out again until early August, when he landed a Haydock Park handicap by ½ a length from Gershwin. In mid-September he headed up to Ayr for a Listed race, finishing 6 ¾ lengths third of 9 to Secret Number. He will need more here.
Unraced at two, Ancient History has taken time to develop but has started to look a useful horse in his most recent starts. The Andre Fabre trained 3 year old son of Shamardal ran third on debut in May but disappointed on his next start. He got off the mark in a conditions race at Maisons-Laffitte in mid-July, sparkling to beat Bronze Swan by 4 ½ lengths. The following month he ran below par at Deauville when 5 ¾ lengths fourth of 5 to Justwantacontact. He got back to winning ways last time out, beating Rajkumar by at neck back at Maisons-Laffitte in late September. He now takes a big step up in class.
One of last season’s leading two year olds, Johannes Vermeer, makes his belated first start of 2016 in this contest. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo won three times in six starts, including a 1 ½ lengths defeat of True Solitaire in a Leopardstown Group 3 in September of 2015. He ran 1 ½ lengths fourth of 11 to Ultra in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp and just under three weeks later was 1 ½ lengths second of 7 to Marcel in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy. He bagged his own Group 1 victory in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in early November, beating Stormy Antarctic by a head. However, injury has kept him off the track since then.
Light Up Our World was a useful juvenile but her form this term has been rather in and out. She ran well on her return in the rescheduled Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes at Chelmsford in mid-April, finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 8 to Marenko. Later that month she headed to Ascot for a conditions race and finished 1 ¾ lengths third of 5 to Danw Of Hope, but she was well beaten when stepping up to 10 furlongs for the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York in mid-May, running 10 lengths 6th of 7 to So Mi Dar. A month later she ran 9 ¾ lengths 8th of 21 to Persuasive in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. She got back to winning ways when landing a Listed fillies contest at Sandown Park in early July, beating Wilamina by 1 ¼ lengths. She again ran well towards the end of that month in a Goodwood Group 3, finishing 1 ¼ lengths third of 9 behind Thikriyaat. However, she ran disappointingly on her latest run in mid-August, in a Deauville Group 3, finishing 11 lengths 12th of 15 to Trixia.