With the GI Prix Jacques Le Marois coming up on Sunday, we have a fantastic card from Deauville to kick off the weekend, featuring the GII Prix Guillaume d’Ornano. Won last year by eventual Saudi Cup winner in Mishriff, a field of talented 3 year olds are set to do battle over the mile and a quarter.
Newbury plays host to several strong stakes as well this Saturday with the sprinters tackling the GII Hungerford Stakes, as well as one for the stayers and the return of multiple stakes winner Hukum in the GIII Geoffrey Freer Stakes. As we lead into next week’s Ebor Festival at York, still some great action ahead of the big meeting to sink your teeth into this Saturday morning.
Saturday – Newbury
Race 2 – Denford Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 2 Year Olds
4 – Masekela – He’s the class of this young field after a narrow second place finish in the GII Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last time out. This daughter of El Kabeir is by far the most tested in the field and outside of longshot Robjon has the most experience as well. Will need to run well to win this race with a few novice winners stepping up second time out, by no means does she tower over this field. However, she has shown ability and is the deserving favorite here.
6 – Seattle King – Was impressive but a bit green on debut at Salisbury, winning over this distance. Hector Crouch stays aboard this one for Ralph Beckett and as much as I am expecting a bit of improvement with this runner, he will be better suited for longer distances in the future. A half-sibling to a Group 3 winning stayer in Tribal Craft and being out of a Galileo mare, 7 furlongs at this stage of his young career should still suit.
Race 3 – GIII Geoffrey Freer Stakes – 1 5/8 Miles, 3 & Up
7 – Golden Pass – Has had a strong start to the season here in 2021 with two wins and a second, including showing some real grit to re-rally and win the Aphrodite Fillies Stakes last time out at Newmarket. By the great stayer Golden Horn, this filly has shown lots of growth as a 4 year old and should continue to improve this prep. Golden Pass has run almost exclusively without a lot of give in the ground, however based on the forecast she won’t have to on this start either.
1 – Hukum – The short priced favorite in the field, Hukum has continued to progress in what has been a fantastic start to his 4 year old campaign. Thought he ran a real bang up race in 3rd in the GII Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot behind Wonderful Tonight and Broome, as well as being able to run down Outbox in the Silver Cup, well ahead of last year’s Ebor Handicap winner Fujaira Prince in 3rd. He looks to continue the success of his family as his full-brother Baaeed looks to be the real deal after dominating the GIII Bonhams Thoroughbreds Stakes during Glorious Goodwood. Should be tough to beat however if the ground comes up firm then there could be a question on that.
3 – Red Verdon – This old warrior dropped out of group stakes company a few starts ago and re-found his form in listed company, staying on well in the Grand Cup at York, as well as winning the Marathon Stakes at Sandown at the start of July. Seemed to appreciate a little less give in the ground those last couple starts and is now making a good step up to this level. I will not be surprised to see this 8 year old gelding turn back the clock again and put together another strong performance.
Race 5 – GII Hungerford Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 3 & Up
10 – Tactical – Has disappointed on multiple occasions recently but looks to turn around that form on ground that will suit. Her best form came back in mid-summer of last year when winning at the Royal Meeting(Owned by The Queen), as well as backing that up in the GII July Stakes at Newmarket. His early form this prep showed some ability including winning at listed company, however when facing a bit too much moisture he has not shown up at all. Currently priced overseas at 20-1, this would be a prime spot for him to drop back in distance, get away from a wet track and show the ability we know he has.
6 – Dreamloper – Throw out the subpar performance two back and Dreamloper has had a very strong campaign in 2021, including an impressive win last time out in the GIII Valiant Stakes at Ascot. Showed a great turn of foot to blow by the leaders and pull away from the field that day, albeit with a very nice trip to set up the run. Hollie Doyle will ride this daughter of Lope De Vega who looks to drop back to 7 furlongs. It won’t be her ideal distance, however I think she’s progressing well and should be a live chance at a decent price.
3 – Danyah – Making the jump up from class 2 handicap company for this start and gets Jim Crowley in the saddle. Has relished the going recently as well as the drop back to 7 furlongs, albeit he did perform well over the mile in multiple starts, including at Newbury. Finished a valiant 2nd in the 28 horse field of the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot behind Highfield Princess, who made the step up to stakes company next out and won over the all-weather at Chelmsford City. The progression is right and it’s time for this runner to take a shot at stakes grade.
Saturday – Deauville
Race 4 – GIII Prix De Lieurey – 1 Mile, 3 Year Old Fillies
1 – Jas Hennessy – Will need to make a decent step up in class to compete at this level but has been ultra consistent throughout her young career so far. Started well up in trip and has moved down to this mile trip in good order. This is a good field around her but not an unbeatable one and at a really nice price (currently at 15/1) is great value. I have a lot of confidence in her to handle the drop and put together a career best effort.
5 – Just Beautiful – Stepped up in trip and in a big way in class when contesting the GI Falmouth Stakes last time out. Put together a string of top notch efforts early in her career over the all-weather in England, as well as heading to Musselburgh to capture the Maggie Dickson Stakes. That form coming out of the Falmouth with Mother Earth and Alcohol Free both winning Group 1s themselves has been one of the strongest form guides recently. I am willing to take against based on the value of this short priced favorite, but she is the most likely winner.
3 – Loch Lein – Makes her 2nd start of the season at Deauville after shipping over from Ireland to take out the listed Prix Amandine. Steps up to the mile for this outing after a less than stellar season so far in Ireland. The daughter of top sprinting sire Invincible Spirit has never tried this distance before but seems to be taking a liking to each step up in trip. Shane Foley couldn’t make the trip over the first time but is now headed to France to ride with a very strong chance ahead.
Race 5 – GII Prix Guillaume d’Ornano – 1 1/4 Miles, 3 Year Olds
8 – Philomene – Ran a strong race back in 2nd in the GI Prix de Diane last time out. Thought she really appreciated the move up in distance and will do so again today. This daughter of Dubawi has performed well so far in her career as she stepped up in grade but was superb early in her career winning at Group 3 level over this distance.
5 – Derab – Made one trip over to France this season and was nowhere in the GI Prix du Jockey Club back in June. Outside of that effort, this colt put together a few very solid efforts in the UK and rebounded with a nice performance in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury where it took a great closing effort for Real World to get by. He is the half-sibling to the great Enable who always appreciated a trip over to France. Frankie Dettori makes the trip and rides this one for the first time.
1 – Millebosc – Has run two bang up races at Chantilly in his last two starts and will look to continue the progression here. Ran a massive race in 3rd behind the dominant St. Mark’s Basilica in the GI Prix du Jockey Club. This will be only his 5th career start but has shown so much maturity so far and now gets back to the site of his debut triumph. Ground condition will be a bit of a wild card for Millebosc but there is little doubt that she is getting closer and closer to pick up a group win in the near future.