|Tuesday 21st October 2014|
Bookmakers Clean Up at Newmarket as Favourites Flop on Future Champions Day
Holding Future Champions Day at Newmarket on a Friday afternoon was not a popular choice among racing fans but there is no doubt that it produced some excellent racing. There was a decent crowd at HQ last Friday as some of the best young horses in training strutted their stuff in some of the biggest juvenile races on the calendar.
The headlines of the day were made by the bookmakers as a number of hot pots got turned over in soft ground with the punters left scratching their heads after a difficult day. A number of supposed well fancied jollies arrived at the Suffolk track with big reputations but it wasn’t to be with some big priced winners claiming some of the biggest juvenile Group 1 races in the sport.
The second hot favourite to get turned over on Friday was also from the Richard Hannon yard as crack colt Estidhkaar could only manage a disappointing fourth place in the Dewhurst Stakes. Previously, the Hamdan Al Maktoum juvenile had won three on the bounce but he failed to land a blow this time as 10/1 shot, Belardo, stormed clear to win for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.
It was a very taking performance from the winner who could be a classic contender next summer if the ground comes up soft while it appears that the opposite comments are true for Estidhkaar. Connections clearly think plenty of this horse but he didn’t run his race this time and should be given another chance provided he gets good ground, given the way he has performed so well earlier this season.
These big days towards the end of the season rarely go by without a Ballydoyle winner and that was the case again on Future Champions Day as Aidan O’Brien struck with Together Forever. The filly won the Dubai Fillies Mile at a price of 7/1 to claim a second victory in the space of a week and she now looks like a real classic contender for next season with her price for both the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks cut as a result of this latest success. Agnes Stewart was supplemented for the Fillies Mile for Eddie Lynam and she ran a really good race to finish second and connections have confirmed after the race that the 1000 Guineas remains the plan for her, while few would be surprised to see her also run well in an Oaks given the stamina in her pedigree.
The headlines on the day though were all about the beaten favourites on Future Champions Day which has left the classic picture for next season looking as muddy as ever. Ivawood and Estidhkaar were particularly disappointing but given the ground conditions on Friday, Richard Hannon will be hoping that both can bounce back next summer with a sounder surface likely to be much more to their liking. It was a big day for Godolphin as they picked up what seems to be a rare UK juvenile Group 1 winner these days, while Roger Varian and Andrea Azteni continued their fine form with that success from Belardo who seemed to love the conditions.