14:20 Newmarket - Cristoforo Colombo
Slipped up at the Curragh last time after probably find the testing ground against him previously when beaten at the same track in June. And also that race could have possibly come too soon - it was just 11 days later - after his excellent third in the Coventry. Now, that looked a good race at the time and nothing has happened to change that view. Quite the opposite, in fact. The winner is the best 2yo we have seen this season, runner-up Olympic Glory won the Lagardere at the weekend, my fellow finished just a neck behind him in third and the Flying Childers winner Sir Prancealot was 2½ lengths away in fourth. And there were loads of other winners in behind too, like the first two home in the Richmond, Heavy Metal and Master of War, who are also in here. So if Cristoforo Colombo comes here in the same kind of form, then he is bang there on ratings and in with a good shout.
But any rain would worry me. This is probably the best Middle Park we have seen in a while, though. Reckless Abandon probably deserves to be favourite. He can't be rated that highly as he just keeps on doing enough when he wins - if you look at him he invariably has his ears pricked when crossing the line, a sure sign that a horse has more to give if required - but he has looked a top class juvenile and his Morny win last time came a shade comfortably. But the horse that finished around two lengths behind him at Deauville, Moohaajim, is the horse I marginally fear most here. I have always been a big fan of this horse and I was very keen on his chances at Newbury last time, and he duly won well. This is a step up in class but go back and look at the troubled run he got at Deauville and you have to think he may have given Reckless Abandon a race had things fallen his way. But, whatever way you look at it, this will take plenty of winning.
14:55 Newmarket - Thge Ferryman
There are some very promising youngsters in here but they will have to be a bit special to get the better of Dawn Approach. As I have said above, the form of his Coventry win couldn't have worked out better and he coasted home in the National Stakes last time. He sets a very high standard for the others to aim at, and they are probably unlikely to reach it. I am not sure what happened to George Vancouver last time but I had earlier ridden him to finish second in the Morny. He was declared to run in France last weekend but got pulled out for some reason. But the ground would probably have been too soft for him there anyway as he gave me the feel of a horse that needed 7f and good ground; I liked him.
I ride Aidan's The Ferryman, and he hasn't been out since winning at Tipperary in July. He clearly is an unexposed and promising colt, but he has it all to prove in this company. Ashdan is another horse I like in here and I was impressed with him at Doncaster last time. But he probably has to improve the best part of a stone to get near a peak-form Dawn Approach. But, that said, juveniles can improve no end at this time of the season, so maybe the favourite won't have it all his own way.
15:35 Newmarket - I Have A Dream
To be honest, I don't know much about the horse other than what I have read in the form book. Namely, that he is a lightly-raced 3yo Galileo colt of Aidan's who beat an in-form rival over 1m6f at Leopardstown last time and carries a 4lb penalty. So he has a decent profile, though I see Timeform have him some way off on their ratings. And with 35 rivals, confident is one thing you are not coming into a race like this where stamina is an unknown for many of these, including my mount. And I can't tell you how big a negative being drawn 36 of 36 is here, though Frankie somehow got Never Can Tell home in front from that stall last year.
Stamina is certainly not an issue for the horse that I like most in here, Hurricane Higgins. A winner over 2m5f at Glorious Goodwood, he looked to improve when third in the Doncaster Cup last time and he has a lot going for him. If I had to name another that I think may go well it is Martyr. I actually rode him on his 2yo debut and for a win at Newmarket two years ago and he looks to have been brought back with this race in mind. He travelled well for a long way when fourth last time and I can see him going well off a fair mark of 97. Olympiad is another fancied horse done no favours by the draw.
He may be more exposed than many in here but I suppose that the balance of his form gives King Dragon an outside place chance. But, realistically, there are likely to be quite a few in here too good for him. Montiridge is obviously held in high regard and Trading Leather looked very smart when winning by seven lengths at Gowran last time. And then you have another five unbeaten horses, all from top yards, and David Wachman's Galileo Rock absolutely hacked up at Leopardstown on his debut and the runner-up of Aidan's easily won a nursery off a mark of 87 last week.
The more that I look at this race, the more that I think that this could be the strongest Group 3 2yo race that I have seen in a long time - some of these would not be out of place in the Dewhurst and in Group 1 company - and that I don't have much of a place chance at all on King Dragon! But there are too many question marks and unknowns about so many in here - I haven't even mentioned Aidan's Eye Of The Storm - that you can't really have a strong opinion.
This looks another very competitive Group 3, and Labarinto certainly needs to improve to get competitive here. He was gelded after some disappointing efforts this season and last, and that appeared to do the trick, as he won a 1m2f handicap at Sandown last time a touch comfortably from Prussian, who went on to frank the form by winning and running well in defeat. That win came off just 95, but he has continued to please us at home and hopefully he has more improvement in him. He is a horse that I always felt capable of making his mark in Group company. But he will need to have improved though, as there are some classy and improving horses in here such as Quick Wit and Cambridgeshire winner Bronze Angel, as well as solid Group 3 horses. This will take plenty of winning, and only about 7lb covers the whole field with the obvious exception of Sos Brillante, who shouldn't be allowed to run.