Form expert Chris Dixon reflects on the Dubai Future Champions Festival plus reveals a number of eyecatchers from last week that he expects will be worth following.
The latest stage of confirmations were made for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Monday and a quick glance through the latest lists whets the appetite for a tremendous day of racing, live on Racing TV.
Despite a couple of significant absentees - most notably Starman from the Champions Sprint and Poetic Flare from the QEII _ there’s a tremendous amount to look forward to, including in the QEII where a mouthwatering clash between Palace Pier and Baaeed could make for a brilliant race.
One name I hadn’t really expected to see, but seems increasingly likely to turn up, is Adayar, and I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed that Charlie Appleby lets his Derby winner take his chance against Juddmonte International winner Mishriff, as a rematch between the King George one-two would be an intriguing race over ten furlongs.
If you hadn’t already noticed, which is unlikely, then one thing Future Champions weekend at Newmarket highlighted was the depth Godolphin, and specifically Charlie Appleby, hold within their ranks ahead of next season as Goldspur (Zetland), Coroebus (Autumn Stakes) and Native Trail (Dewhurst) took consecutive races.
The Verdict: Angus McNae analyses the performances of Coroebus and Native Trail at Newmarket
In landing a second Group One of his campaign, Native Trail cemented his position at the top of the market for the 2000 Guineas, but stablemate Coroebus also shortened up following his hugely impressive last-to-first win.
The handicapper has 8lb between them at this stage, and that can’t be argued with, but I still believe that gap will be narrowed (and hopefully bridged) next season.
Shorter term, I haven’t got close to wearing my jumps hat this season (and won’t do until next month at the earliest) so for all the national hunt action is hotting up, I am focussing on the flat, and largely horses who might be of interest on the all-weather, for the suggested additions to your racingtv.com tracker this week.
Trainer: Kevin Ryan.
Forza Orta took a while to get off the mark but there was nothing wrong with his form prior to winning at Hamilton in September and his latest outing at Leicester suggests he’s a horse who will progress beyond his current mark.
Asked to make his challenge towards what proved to be the unfavoured stands’ side, he impressed with the way he moved into the race but a combination of meeting a small amount of trouble, and racing on a slower part of the track, took its toll late on as he was unable to quicken.
Only beaten by a pair that raced up the centre, he did well to get as close as he did and whilst it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him finished for the season now, I think he is the type to go on as a four-year-old.
Trainer: Seamus Durack.
Suggesting an 11-raced maiden with a mark of 58 might be a horse of interest would usually be a quick route to the poor house, but we are getting to the time of year where a horse with that sort of profile has several opportunities.
With that in mind, I think it’s worth sticking Excelinthejungle in your tracker following an encouraging effort at Kempton last Tuesday.
In what appeals as a fairly warm race for the grade (the winner and second were both improving horses having not long since joined their current yards and the time figure was good) Excelinthejungle fared better than most that raced close to the strong pace and is worth marking up.
He has a few bits of form on the all-weather that suggests he can win races from his lowly mark and, having had the summer off, I suspect his connections are hoping to keep him reasonably busy over the winter.
Trainer: John Butler.
Bar one blip at Lingfield when he was turned out quickly and missed the break, Ivasecret has a profile of steady improvement on the all-weather and his return from nearly two months off at Kempton on Wednesday points towards him being capable of better this winter.
Drawn widest of all in stall ten, he was switched right and dropped in early on before making a strong challenge in the home straight to finish just over a length away in third.
For a while, I thought he was going to make more of an impact as he briefly moved into second spot, but the effort in making up a lot of ground from the rear, as well as the lack of a recent run, just seemed to take their toll late on and he flattened out.
Other races will see him to better effect and he’s on an attractive mark on this surface.
Trainer: David O’Meara.
Greenness out of the stalls left Scotch Mistress too far back on her debut at Chelmsford on Thursday, but she ran on very well to take fourth and was only beaten by a trio with experience, so could improve significantly with this run behind her.
A daughter of Twilight Son, she’s a half-sister to Group 3 winner Great Scot who raced in the same colours and should progress enough to win a novice soon before progressing further.
Trainer: Dean Ivory.
Hot Chestnut is yet to win but her first two runs in handicaps, when narrowly beaten into the places, have both been boosted since and she shouldn’t be long in breaking her maiden.
Given three months off prior to her run at Kempton on Monday, she was weak in the market and perhaps in need of the run, but this should bring her on and being a fresh horse for the time of year could pay dividends in the weeks ahead.
Not seen to best effect from the back in a race that favoured those more prominently ridden, she has the potential to do better, especially if getting a stronger pace to aim at.
Four Adaay has the potential to become a bit of a cliff horse but, whilst a bare look at her record may have the look of a filly who has reached her level, I believe she still has the potential to do better and I’d leave her in the tracker for next season when I think she can progress.
She’s had more excuses than I have for being late home from the pub recently, the latest being forced to race on a slower part of the track than the pair she split when strong at the top of the market at Leicester last week, but she once again impressed with the way she travelled and was better than the bare result.
Another horse who failed to justify market strength is Plastic Paddy who was looking to follow up a win at Newcastle in a 1m handicap at Chelmsford on Thursday. Not ideally drawn in stall eight, he ended up with a wide trip and wasn’t seen to best effect – he can win more races over the winter at this trip.Racing TV members can enjoy FREE tickets to over 50 race days at our courses every year, for themselves and a guest! Click here for more details.
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