Newmarket Future Champions Day Preview
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Newmarket Future Champions Day Preview

Another Saturday and another major afternoon at Newmarket - the last of their big trio of autumn meetings - as they host Future Champions Day. The Dewhurst Stakes is the Group 1 centrepiece on a strong card which also includes the second of the major autumnal handicaps at HQ, the Cesarewitch - famed for spanning across two counties. They race at Newmarket on Saturday from 1.50pm-5.20pm and the Racing Post previews all the action.


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1.50pm - Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes (Group 3, 1m2f)

Flying Honours started at odds of 2/7 in the Royal Lodge over a mile here a fortnight ago and could finish only third of four. It was a messy race, one that developed into a sprint, but that was nonetheless a setback for Charlie Appleby's impressive Salisbury Listed winner.

This longer trip should suit and in a more truly run race he can do better, but he does have something to prove at a short price now.

Trainer Mark Johnston has won this contest five times and, of his two, Dear My Friend looks best placed. The Pivotal colt wasn't disgraced despite being keen early in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and has since been a close third in a Listed race in France in August - a contest that has worked out very nicely indeed. He's a fresh horse coming here.

With a field of nine going to post, there's some value in the each-way market and Mick Channon's Ayr nursery winner METAL MERCHANT might outrun a big price. He's progressing with each run and came home with lots to spare in Scotland three weeks ago, with a decisive next-time-out scorer in third.

This is going to demand more, but further progress is likely.

Selection: Metal Merchant

Next Best: Dear My Friend

 

2.25pm - Emirates Autumn Stakes (Group 3, 1m)

Epictetus won a strong maiden over 7f here on the July Course 92 days ago and it's noteworthy that John & Thady Gosden have waited for this for his next assignment. He's entitled to progress plenty and could have designs on group-races soon, but this is a fair rise in class all the same.

Roger Varian's Exoplanet is also a once-race winner, the Sea The Stars colt scoring at Newbury three weeks ago with more in hand than the slender margin suggested.

Silver Knott never landed a blow in the three-runner Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (1m, soft) last month and connections will be hoping some of that can be attributed to the ground conditions. On previous form, he's a leading player.

HOLLOWAY BOY bucked plenty trends when landing the Chesham at Royal Ascot in June on his debut. Since then, he has been second in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and the Somerville Stakes here last month in two runs.

The horse that beat him that day, Nostrum, is favourite for the Dewhurst here today and Karl Burke's colt could pay him a handsome tribute before they line up in that following Group 1.

Selection: Holloway Boy

Next Best: Epictetus

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3.00pm - Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1, 7f)

The news from Roger Varian that a dirty scope had ruled Sakheer out has taken some gloss from this race, but his absence still leaves a quality field of seven runners contesting the traditional end-of-term 2YO colts' championship.

They include unbeaten trio Isaac Shelby, Naval Power and Nostrum - winners of eight races between them so far.

Brian Meehan's Isaac Shelby won the Superlative Stakes here on the July Course on his second start and has been absent since that win 91 days ago. A son of the Guineas winner Night of Thunder, he should stay a mile, and maybe a bit further in time, though the form that Group 2 win here looks to leave him with more to find.

Naval Power is the Godolphin representative and the son of Teofilo made it 4-4 when bagging the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock (1m, good to firm) last month.

He carried a 3lb penalty for his previous Ascot win in that contest and it's worth recalling that William Buick had to bide his time on the running rail for quite a while before getting the gap to challenge. Naval Power put matters to rest with plenty authority when things opened up.

It's Kingman colt Nostrum that heads up the market for Sir Michael Stoute and Richard Kingscote. He made it 2-2 when defeating Holloway Boy (runs in previous race here) over 7f at this track last month in a Group 3 and he's got plenty scope for further progress.

In the same Juddmonte colours, however, preference is for Champagne Stakes winner CHALDEAN for Andrew Balding and Frankie Dettori. Winner of a Group 3 at York is August, he led two rivals a merry dance in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (7f, soft) last month and looks the sort to go on improving.

Stamina won't be an issue in time but he's quite exciting already and is the value at early prices.

Marbaan was disappointing (sixth) in the National Stakes at the Curragh last month but may do better back on good ground, while Aesop's Fables was only fourth in the same contest as odds-on favourite for Aidan O'Brien and also needs a rebound now. It wouldn't be a massive surprise to see such a turn of events.

Selection: Chaldean

Next Best: Naval Power

 

3.40pm - Club Godolphin Cesarewitch Handicap (Heritage Handicap, 2m2f)

Given we had 32 contenders last season, it's a relatively paltry field of 23 Cesarewitch hopefuls this time around, though it remains a tough puzzle.

Jumps trainers love a crack at this contest, and with good reason in recent times. Nicky Henderson won last year with Buzz, while Willie Mullins had completed a hat-trick previous to that and Philip Hobbs and Alan King were winners too since 2014 (making it 6-8 recently for National Hunt yards).

Mullins has the likes of Scaramanga and Gibraltar in the mix, while King saddles Inchicore and the booking of Ryan Moore on likely favourite Ahorsewithnoname for Henderson is eye-catching.

Other notables include Ralph Beckett's Rock Eagle, Irish raider Run For Oscar and Keith Dalgleish's improving four-year-old Evaluation. Stamina must be proven, but if gets home HMS President for Eve Johnson Houghton has claims too.

CALL MY BLUFF was third in last month's trial over C&D and has since been inched out over a similar trip at Chester. Trainer Dominic Ffrench-Davis will be pleased to line up here off a mark of 85 and has bagged Arc-winning jockey Luke Morris for riding duty. They can outrun a chunky price.

Selection: Call My Bluff

Next Best: Rock Eagle

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4.15pm - Too Darn Hot Nursery (7f)

William Buick rode the winner in this last year, Point Lynas for Charlie Hills, and could be on the scoresheet again now as he partners DESERT ORDER for Charlie Appleby.

The Dubawi colt continued his race-to-race progress when snugly landing the Convivial Maiden at York's Ebor Meeting in August. That is traditionally a strong contest and the second and third were convincing next-time-out winners. An opening mark of 92 should be within reach now.

Stablemate Modern Dancer shouldn't be dismissed in great haste for James Doyle, while William Haggas' filly Mystic Pearl took a step forward winning a Thirsk novice (7f, soft) five weeks ago and looks a player off a mark of 77 with improvement to come.

Selection: Desert Order

Next Best: Mystic Pearl

 

4.50pm - Blue Point British EBF Boadicea Stakes (Fillies' And Mares' Listed, 6f)

Gale Force Maya is forecast to head the market here, seeking a sixth win of the season for Michael Dods, but after Listed wins at York and Ayr last month, she came up well shy in an Ascot Group 3 last weekend and, while she was second in this last year, she is opposed now under a penalty.

Class-dropping Chil Chil is a player and boasts a 2-3 record over 6f at Newmarket outside of Group 1 company.

Primo Bacio was behind Gale Force Maya at York five weeks ago in second. She has a 3lb pull on these terms and has been at home relaxing while that rival contested two tough races since.

MANAAFITH could be the one for Roger Varian. The 3YO defied 307 days off when easily winning on handicap bow at Kempton over 7f last month and has won all three all-weather starts since a debut second over 7f at Newbury last summer. If they go a good pace, she should be finishing as well as any under Jim Crowley.

Seleciton: Manaafith

Next Best: Chil Chil

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5.20pm - Masar Darley Stakes (Group 3, 1m1f)

Look out for the sea of blue here as Godolphin make up 40 per-cent of the ten-runner field. Hat-trick seeking Royal Fleet for Charlie Appleby could be the best of the quartet having won a Listed Goodwood event last month on his first start in Britain this year.

The Owen Burrows-trained Shadwell inmate Alflaila is also chasing a treble having won in Listed company at Pontefract in July and then the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York in August.

FINEST SOUND was 2¼-lengths behind in second on the Knavesmire but is now 6lb better off with the winner. Simon & Ed Crisford's gelding has since run a cracker in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile to be third and, placed in this contest a year ago, looks arguably a better performer now. He has been knocking on the door for a statement success and could grab it here.

Selection: Finest Sound

Next Best: Alflaila

 

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