Fantastic four: horses who could take Newmarket's Craven meeting by storm
The Wood Ditton is always a fun puzzle to solve, but Godolphin-owned colts are not a bad place to start, as four of the last ten runnings have gone to horses owned by Sheikh Mohammed's operation.
Midsummer Fair (2011), Basem (2014), Winter House (2015) and Night Circus (2017) all came home in front, with Saeed Bin Suroor responsible for the middle two of the quartet.
Wild Animal is the trainer's most eyecatching representative on paper this time around, as the son of Kingman – who made a fabulous start with his progeny last season – is a half-brother to the smart Figure Of Speech, who was placed at Group-level.
With an element of doubt now shrouding Too Darn Hot's participation in the 2,000 Guineas, punters have latched on to Zakouski in recent days, with his odds tumbling to 7-1 for the Newmarket Classic.
The son of Shamardal would look an even better proposition if he proves he can handle the Rowley Mile's undulations in the Craven, a race which often acts as an informative trial, even if the last horse to win both races was Haafhd back in 2004.
Zakouski stormed clear of the highly regarded Headman in a novice contest over seven furlongs at Kempton in the style of a talented athlete and, as the cliche goes, he could simply be anything.
Another Godolphin-owned horse who could come of age over the next week is the John Gosden-trained Dreamfield, who looked a Group 1 winner in the making when completing the hat-trick on his first start at four and did little to change that view when a neck second in last year's Wokingham at Royal Ascot.
He was expected to improve when thrown into even deeper waters in the July Cup, finishing sixth to US Navy Flag. Defeat looked out of the question when he was sent off favourite for the Listed Hopeful Stakes on his final start last season, but he was bitterly disappointing and finished last of seven.
Dreamfield is clearly better than that effort and it would not be advisable to write him off just yet, as he is relatively lightly raced for his age.
Pedigrees simply do not get better than this. By champion Frankel and out of the wonderfully charming filly Attraction – both won their respective versions of the Guineas – Elarqam was expected to do the same after a flawless two-year-old campaign.
A creditable fourth in the Guineas to Saxon Warrior, things went downhill for the rest of his Classic season, and he was last seen finishing fourth of six in a Salisbury Group 3. Connections have yet to find the key to the colt, who promised so much as a juvenile, but another winter under his belt could have helped him fill out his frame and the best could be yet to come.
The Earl of Sefton doesn't tend to be a particularly strong race and he could bounce back to his best at a track where he won a Group 3 as a youngster.
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