Newmarket’s Future Champions meeting tomorrow is always a highlight of the season, with the two-year-old’s coming to the fore on an intruiging seven-race card, writes CHARLIE CROASDALE.
The Fillies’ Mile over a mile should provide plenty of clues for next year’s 1,000 Guineas and The Oaks, and at a big price I like Ellthea for Karl Burke.
The presence of highly-touted Aidan O’Brien trio Happily, Magical and September at the head of the market has resulted in some juicy prices further down the book, and Ellthea looks well overpriced at 20/1.
A nursery winner at Doncaster last month, Burke’s two-year-old by Kodiac stepped up markedly on that form to land a Group Three contest at Naas last time out, comfortably handling soft conditions and giving O’Brien’s Sizzling a three-length beating, drawing clear at the finish.
The O’Brien fillies are clearly top drawer but the step up in trip could really suit Ellthea who makes serious each-way appeal.
I’ll be taking a watching brief for the majority the card with plenty of unexposed, exciting future Classic contenders in action, but it’s hard not to get involved in the Old Rowley Cup Heritage Handicap (4.10) where Crowned Eagle is worth support.
John Gosden’s three-year-old hasn’t got his neck in front in three starts since winning a Windsor handicap off 85 back in May but he did it very nicely that day and has been pitched into some hot races since, namely the Epsom Derby and the Bahrain Trophy, not disgraced in either.
Crowned Eagle was back in calmer waters three weeks ago in a class three handicap at Newmarket, attempting to make all and holding every chance until the furlong pole but outpaced by in-form The Statesman, who won again at Ludlow this week, bolting up on his hurdling debut.
That run should have put Gosden’s gelding spot on for Friday’s valuable 16-runner contest who can make all under Ted Durcan.
Shady McCoy did this column a big 13/2 favour at Ascot last Friday and today’s Irish Thoroughbread Marketing Handicap (5.35) at York was trainer Ian Williams’ instant target for his in-form seven-year-old in the wake of that success.
Benefitting from a significant drop into a class four handicap, Shady McCoy hacked up under a cool Ryan Moore ride and looks to have a great chance of taking this 20-runner handicap under a 6lb penalty, with Richard Kingscote taking over in the saddle.
Williams spoke about the need to strike whilst the iron’s hot with Shady McCoy after that easy success last week and the stats back that up, with all the bay gelding’s victories coming in pairs.
In the opening Paul Beioley Memorial Nursery (2.10) Roundhay Park could go well at a decent price for trainer Nigel Tinkler.
The gelding was a well-backed favourite on his most recent outing at Bath, cruising into the lead on the bridle and pushed out to win by Tom Eaves.
A 7lb rise for that makes life trickier in this hugely competitive 17-runner affair but the manner of that success suggests there’s lots more to come here up in trip and Silvestre De Sousa is an eye-catching booking.
Finally, Highland Colori has slipped to a very handy mark of 85 and could be difficult to peg back in the Unibet Handicap (2.45) over a mile.
Andrew Balding’s nine-year-old is a gutsy old campaigner who landed a course and distance handicap 12 months ago on the Knavesmire off 10lb higher than his current mark, and was rated 101 when running a cracker in the Balmoral Handicap shortly after.
Highland Colori has run with credit on each of his eight outings this year, yet has plumetted in the weights and looked back in form when a good fourth of 19 in a Newmarket handicap a fortnight ago, not helped by racing on the far side and no match for runaway winner Makzeem.
A repeat of that run here and Balding’s charge must go close.