4.10 Newmarket – ROCK EAGLE (nap)
This year’s renewal of the valuable Old Rowley Cup is perhaps a little light on numbers, but it brings together the usual collection of upwardly mobile, potentially smart three-year-olds including five last-time-out winners.
The selection, trained by Ralph Beckett, is a son of Teofilo who made a winning start to his career in a 10f novice event at Windsor back in April, and he was only narrowly denied under a penalty in a similar event at Salisbury the following month, edging towards the centre of the track and only failing by a neck to reel in eventual winner Dive For Gold (conceding 7lbs). He was only workmanlike when justifying odds of 1/4 in a 10f novice event back at Windsor a month later, attempting to make all at a steady tempo until caught cold when the eventual runner-up injected some pace over three furlongs out, warming to the task and regaining the lead over a furlong out, staying on well to score by 2¾ lengths from Hidden Depths. His latest outing came in a well-contested 10f handicap at Glorious Goodwood in early August, keen early and waited with towards the rear of the field, ridden well over two furlongs out and edging right, staying on well throughout the final furlong to take fourth behind Communique (beaten 2¼ lengths). This gelding still looked rough around the edges that day, forgivably so given the class of race/course, finishing off strongly to close up on a trio that have upheld the form well since; up just 1lb for that and the additional two furlongs here should suit, so no surprise to see this son of Teofilo regain the winning thread.
Stablemate Breath Caught improved with each run at two culminating in victory in a 7f maiden at Doncaster last October, and he looked a good prospect when making a winning return in a 1m handicap at the Craven meeting here back in April, but he met with defeat on his next three outings though bumped into useful pair Chief Ironside and Danceteria in the process. He returned to winning ways when making all to land an 11f handicap at Kempton a couple of weeks ago, very much having the run of things; up another furlong here and unlikely to get his own way in front this time, whilst he has to carry a 6lb penalty here despite only going up 3lbs for that Kempton success.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Baritone shaped with promise in maiden/novice company, finishing third behind very useful stablemate Mekong on his return at Leicester and things not falling his way at Chelmsford next time before chasing home a useful pair in Elwazir and Extra Elusive on his handicap debut at Ascot (10f) back in July. He again wasn’t seen to best effect in an 11f handicap at Glorious Goodwood the following month, gelding soon after and making return to action in a three-runner 12f maiden at Pontefract 22 days ago, taking over in the straight and staying on well to draw eight lengths clear of Lady Annalee. He has always appealed as the type to make up into an above-average performer, doing no more than he was entitled to do last time, it best to focus on his previous efforts which included his a couple of solid efforts in defeat in this company; obvious player off a low weight here.
Aidan O’Brien’s Astronomer is a son of Galileo who benefited for time and improved on his debut outing when landing an 8.5f maiden at Galway in August, following up in a 12f handicap at Bellewstown a few weeks later and completing the hat-trick in style when shrugging aside a 9lb rise to land a 12f handicap at Listowel by seven lengths from Lady Camelot. He completed the four-timer in a small-field 12f event at Dundalk three weeks ago, making all and pressing on inside the two furlong marker, staying on strongly inside the final furlong to come home 3½ lengths clear of Boho at the line. For all he has been kept to the lesser tracks thus far in the main, this colt has impressed with the manner in which he has got the job done, an uncomplicated, likeable sort who looks a stronger stayer. He does come into this off a mark of 106 which makes life tougher now, but nothing to say he’s finished improving yet.
The John Gosden-trained Ben Vrackie is a smartly-bred son of Frankel who stepped up on an encouraging debut effort to chase home the useful Elasia in a 12f novice contest at Newcastle, and he went one better in style six days later in a similar event at Lingfield, clearing away in the straight to score by 11 lengths. He was far from disgraced when second of three to Maid Up in a 14f Group 3 contest at Goodwood next time, but he disappointed on handicap debut in the Mallard at Doncaster and was a well-held third of five behind Nearly Caught in the 2m Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket 15 days ago. He is a sizeable sort that hasn’t quite kicked onsince his breakthrough success and good second in the March Stakes at Goodwood, well beaten the last twice; needs to bounce back here though it is possible that the return to handicap company and twelve furlongs could see him in a better light.
The William Knight-trained Soto Sizzler is a son of Mastercraftsman who improved with each run in maiden company and shaped very well on his handicap debut at Newbury in July, travelling strongly for a long way but unable to sustain his effort fully and having to settle for a one-length third behind Sleeping Lion. He confirmed that promise in a 12f handicap at Glorious Goodwood the following month, waited with and coming with a strong run down the outside inside the final furlong to lead close home and score by a length from Corgi. The testing conditions when stepped up to 14f for a handicap at Haydock last month perhaps didn’t see him in a favourable light, making progress from off the pace three furlongs out but soon done with, beating just one home behind Mekong (beaten 20 lengths). The return to 12f coupled with better ground should aid his cause, remembering the good strides he had made in useful company previously; absolutely no surprise to see him bounce back here.
4.45 Newmarket – RHOSSILI DOWN (nb)
The opening division of the two-year-old fillies’ maiden on the card looks a typically above-average event and this year’s renewal features a couple of once-raced fillies that shaped very well on debut and a handful of well-related newcomers – recent winners of this race include Irish Rookie and Veracious (Winter Lightning runner-up).
The selection, trained by Charlie Hills, is a daughter of Kingman who made her debut outing in a 7f fillies’ conditions event at Newbury three weeks ago (16/1 chance), waited in touch at the rear of the field, shaken up two furlongs out and showing signs of inexperience, picking up well entering the final furlong and finishing off strongly to take third behind Fashion’s Star (beaten 2 lengths). It was a highly promising first effort from this filly, running green in rear and taking a little while to realise what was required but finishing off strongly inside the final half furlong, closing in quickly come the line. She is likely to be an entirely different proposition on this occasion, with the fact she started out at a level above maiden company suggesting she is held in high regard, following the same route taken as last year’s winner Veracious. Her stable’s youngsters tend to improve for a run and, open to significant improvement, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see this daughter of Kingman off the mark at the second time of asking.
John Gosden saddles a couple here, the first of them being the Frankie Dettori-ridden Mary Somerville, a daughter of Galileo who debuted in a 7f fillies’ novice event at Kempton 18 days ago (11/4 joint-favourite), slowly away and waited with in rear, travelling well into the straight but still well off the pace, shaken up two furlongs out and forced to pick her way through, finishing off strongly to get to within a neck of Gold At Midnight at the line. This filly was rather unfortunate to not make a winning start, off the pace after a slow start and then having to pick a route through runners to launch a challenge, closing in on one that had gained first run all the way to the line. She is entitled to improve plenty for that experience and boasts a smart pedigree, out of the high-class Maureen; also gets the services of Dettori this time so surprising if she wasn’t very much involved granted usual improvement.
Stablemate Intricate is a nicely-bred daughter of Showcasing who debuted in the other division of the 7f fillies’ novice event at Kempton last month contested by Mary Somerville (9/4 chance), recovering from a tardy start to track the leaders, running green and pushed along halfway, holding her head to one side but keeping on nicely inside the final furlong to take third behind Alexa Rose (beaten 5¾ lengths). This filly’s inexperience on debut was plain for all to see, to the point of awkwardness at the top of the straight, but she put in good late work once getting the message. She is entitled to improve a chunk for that initial experience and ought to be more streetwise second time around, but it isn’t exactly surprising to see her passed over by Dettori in favour of Mary Somerville.
The Andrew Balding-trained Inclyne is a daughter of Intello who debuted in a 7f fillies’ novice event at Leicester a month ago (22/1 chance), racing in midfield and pushed left before halfway, running green and pushed along soon after, making some progress inside the final furlong to come home eighth of 16 behind Canton Queen (beaten 6 lengths). This filly was much too green to achieve anything of real significance on debut, the late work she put in promising better to come at some point; likely she’ll need more time and distance before coming good, however.
There are some interesting newcomers in the field, starting with Sir Michael Stoute’s Prodigious, a daughter of Intello who is a full sister to smart 8-10f winner (including at Listed level) Gabr and a close relation to 7f 2yo winner Spatial (by New Approach), out of a Group 1-placed 7f-1m winner (including twice at Group 2 level) who was a half sister to smart 6.5f-1m winner (including three times at Grade 2 level) Dimension, useful 7f-1m winner Artimino, 7f 2yo debut winner Verandah and four other winners. This filly makes clear appeal on pedigree, a full sister to the yard’s smart miler Gabr who, along with three-parts sister Spatial found only one too good on debut at two, whilst the dam made a successful start at two before landing the May Hill Stakes. She is bred to make an immediate impact at two and represents a top stable that took this race 12 months ago with the smart Veracious, but that filly had the benefit of a previous run and their representative this time also kicks off in a potentially useful event.
The Owen Burrows-trained Watheerah is a daughter of Dubawi who is a full sister to Listed-placed 7f-1m winner Algaith out of a 12f 3yo winner who was a full sister to Group 2/3-placed 8-9f winner (including at Listed level)/Oaks third Rumoush (later dam of smart trio Muntazah, Talaayeb and Wadilsafa) and a half sister to 1000 Guineas/Coronation Stakes winner Ghanaati, Group 1-placed 8-12f winner (including at Group 3 level) Mawatheeq and four other winners including the dam of Zawraq. This filly is another that can hardly fail to catch the eye on pedigree, from one of the finest families in the book that her handler has already enjoyed plenty of success with; however, the yard’s youngsters have cut little ice so far in 2018 (0-16) and often improve for a run in any case.
Roger Varian’s Nearooz is a daughter of New Approach who is the third foal of a smart 8-10f winner (including at Listed level) who was a half sister to 1m 2yo winner Shariki out of a high-class 10-10.5f 3yo winner (including at Group 1 level)/Oaks third who was a half sister to 1m 1f 3yo winner Yaahomm, 6f 2yo debut Samorra and 7f 2yo debut winner Waiting Game. This filly makes a fair amount of appeal on pedigree, her dam a debut winner at two (over 1m) who won at Listed level at three though was very much the standout performer of her high-class dam. Those that have won in the family have tended to score/go close first time out, so a prominent debut showing wouldn’t overly surprise for all this looks a useful event; betting often points the way with this yard’s newcomers.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Firebird Song is a daughter of Invincible Spirit who is the first foal of a French 11f 3yo winner who was a half sister to Listed-placed French 8-9f 2yo winner Taranto (later dam of French 1m 3yo Group 1 winner/2000 Guineas runner-up Territories, by Invincible Spirit) and useful 5-7f winner Ancient Cross out of a French 15.5f Group 3 winning half sister to smart pair Graikos and Parthenon. This filly has a pedigree of contrasts, by a speed influence and out of a middle distance winner in France, but the dam was related to a useful juvenile performer in France that went on to produce high-class miler Territories. There are several first-time-out winners throughout the family and this filly represents a stable adept at having its youngsters ready to strike on debut.