Classic pointers aplenty on new Good Friday highlight
32Red Burradon Conditions Stakes | 1m | 3yo | ITV4/ATR
Lucarno, Conduit, Arctic Cosmos, Simple Verse and Ghanaati all showed that success on the all-weather is no barrier to Classic glory and those involved in the inaugural running of this £100,000 contest will be dreaming big if they pocket the prize.
Named after the village and former colliery that is only three miles from Newcastle, the Burradon Stakes has drawn an eight-strong line-up featuring a host of promising three-year-olds.
Among them is South Seas, a 2,000 Guineas entry who won his first three races and ended last year with a fine second in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.
Andrew Balding, who trains the Lope De Vega colt for Qatar Racing Limited, said: "He's fit and seems in great form. It's his first time on Tapeta [the all-weather surface], but I think he'll handle it and he's obviously a high-class horse. The Group 1 second in France has clearly worked out well."
The German 2,000 Guineas could be the aim for the Richard Fahey-trained Forest Ranger, a well-regarded maiden winner who finished third in a Pontefract Listed heat on his last appearance.
"A big horse who could be 16.3hh, he's a horse we do like," Fahey said. "He won his maiden and then finished third in a Listed race at Pontefract. We put him in the German Guineas and have some big ideas for him."
The same applies to Godolphin's unbeaten Acomb winner Syphax, who is in the 2,000 Guineas and Investec Derby.
"He's two from two and we're looking forward to this year with him," said trainer Kevin Ryan. "The idea is to go for the Dante, but we want to get a prep into him. He's wintered well and strengthened up. He'd have penalties in most of the other races and if all goes well we'll be heading to the Dante. We just hope we get a good pace, but it's a nice place to start him off."
Taamol, Utmost and Leshlaa represent the powerful Newmarket yards of Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden and Saeed Bin Suroor, who said: "Leshlaa has done well over the winter. He's in good form and is ready to run."
Course-and-distance winner Masham Star may have a fitness edge on his rivals having raced three times at Meydan already this year.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark, who trains Masham Star, said: "He has a bit to find with Syphax and South Seas, who set a fairly high standard, but he's third best on official ratings and merits his 101. He's a well travelled horse who has shown a high level of ability, and I'm confident he'll outrun his odds."