Our racing expert gives his verdict on the televised action.
1:50 5f (Row) Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2yo)
True Mason looked all over the winner for much of the way in the 6f Middle Park only for his run to peter out close home and ultimately be outstayed by the winner Kessaar. Connections are wisely dropping him back a furlong here and this smart colt, who showed he can handle a fast surface when scoring at Nottingham in June, looks the one they all have to beat.
That’s not been lost on bookmakers, though, and odds of around 9/4 hardly set the pulse racing. So, while I think he’s the most likely winner, I’m going to suggest a value alternative in Clive Cox’s filly HEARTWARMING. She has a fair bit to find on the ratings with most of these but has looked all about speed on her three outings to date, which is no surprise given that she’s a half-sister to Heartache, who won two 5f juvenile Group 2s for the same stable, and her dam was a 5f Listed winner at two. Given a nice break since finishing runner-up in Listed company at Newbury in August and with Frankie Dettori booked, she can at least give the favourite something to think about.
2:25 7f (Row) Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo)
Hidden Message was a taking winner on her racecourse debut at Yarmouth last month and looks capable of making her mark at this level, but that connections are reaching for a hood so soon is slightly concerning and besides she might not cope with Aidan O’Brien’s sole challenger FROSTY.
As a full sister to the brilliant Winter, she was surprisingly easy to back ahead of her debut at Dundalk 14 days ago, when allowed to go off at 9/1, but that didn’t stop her winning comfortably under a hands and heels ride. On that evidence, albeit limited, she has inherited plenty of her sibling’s talent and her master trainer would not be stepping her up in class so quickly unless he thought she was up to the task. He doesn’t often get it wrong and she can reward favourite backers.
3:00 7f (Row) Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Last year’s winner LIMATO was pulled out of a race at Ascot last Saturday after the ground went against him and given his preference for a quicker surface he should find conditions ideal this afternoon. Whether he’s quite the force of old at the age of six is debatable but he arrives here in great nick following back-to-back Listed wins on the July Course here and at York, both over 6f, and this is arguably his best trip.
His main challengers appear to D’bai, who is a smart performer on his day and was just touched off in a 7f Group 2 last time, and Mankib, a Listed winner at Newbury last month. Dancing Star, the only filly in the field, has to be respected too after she finally got her head back in front when landing a Group 3 at the St Leger meeting. However, they’ve all got a little to find on the ratings with Limato and Henry Candy’s charge can defend his crown.
3:35 1m (Row) bet365 Fillies’ Mile (Group 1) (Class 1) (2yo)
Aidan O’Brien’s Hermosa had no problem justifying favouritism in a 7f Group 3 at Naas 12 days ago and while that race very much went her way, she’s clearly improving with her racing and should get a mile no problem. On jockey bookings, she looks the Ballydoyle number one hope with Donnacha O’Brien up, while her stablemate Zagitova is the mount of super sub Seamie Heffernan and has had her limitations exposed since winning a Cork maiden in August. Perhaps today’s quicker ground will suit her better?
But neither may win as the British challenge is strong and Pretty Pollyanna, who is making a quick reappearance after letting down favourite backers in the Group 1 Cheveley Park 13 days ago, is clear top-rated of these. That was still a fair effort as she wasn’t beaten far into fourth in that was a warm edition and will be suited by going up in trip, but connections were inclined to blame the Dip for the defeat (so why any different today?) and I also suspect she may have had enough for the year.
On the other hand, Ralph Beckett’s ANTONIA DE VEGA arrives here relatively fresh after just two starts and having had a nice break since keeping her unbeaten record intact in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood in late August. While that was over 7f, she needed every yard of it as she still had several in front of her with a furlong to go before finishing strongly to win going away. On that evidence, today’s extra furlong is going to suit her admirably and the experience she gained when winning on the July Course here on her debut is going to prove invaluable as, like the Rowley Mile, runners encounter a Dip before meeting rising ground on the climb to the finish. She’s a fair price too.
All odds were correct at time of posting.