Three Newmarket runners who could go on to make their mark next year
You might be forgiven for thinking that Future Champions Weekend has come early to Newmarket. The Dewhurst and Fillies' Mile are just two weeks away, yet by the time this weekend is out there will be have been two Group 1s, two Group 2s and a Group 3 for juveniles on the Rowley Mile. Pity those with a good two-year-old that does not handle the Dip.
On balance, the right races have been chosen for Future Champions Weekend. However, heritage does not hold quite so strong a grip on connections of leading two-year-olds, who after all are perceived only as champions of the future. Some of the best sprinters have won the Middle Park and the Royal Lodge is one of just 13 races with Frankel's name on its roll of honour.
The dark well of potential is both the greatest draw and toughest challenge for juvenile Group races. Here are three runners on Saturday that could stake a claim for top honours next year.
Nelson Royal Lodge Stakes
The Royal Lodge declarations gave a fair indicator of the mares Frankel is getting, as the result of his meetings with Sprint Cup winner African Rose (Herculean) and Irish Oaks winner Moonstone (Nelson) were both due to run here.
Herculean does not, leaving Nelson as a warm order and one that rather picks itself as a prospective star on show. Do not think he would be unable to answer a few more questions by landing cramped odds, though.
For a start, he was not the first string in the Group 3 he won at Leopardstown last time, while he should also benefit from the stiffer mile here, as one who will surely stay ten and 12 furlongs next year. Mildenberger should keep him honest, as might the promising Roaring Lion.
Threading Cheveley Park Stakes
Mark Johnston claimed in the spring to have a more backwards set of two-year-olds and, while he wasn't wrong, it turns out he was sitting on just as much gold as in recent seasons.
Threading is among the most exciting we've seen come out of Kingsley Park. She was just starting to get going when she won the Lowther Stakes at York, in both the literal sense and the fact it was just her second race.
With a stiff six furlongs bound to suit Threading, who is by Exceed And Excel but out of a half-sister to Dubai Millennium, it is reasonable to expect more progress from her both here and into 2018.
Unfortunately Middle Park Stakes
While some of the major players in a deep Middle Park will be leaving sprinting well behind next year, Unfortunately has the mark of one that could become the latest three-year-old to make an impact along the lines of Harry Angel and his stablemate Quiet Reflection.
Unfortunately took a few starts to show all the speed he is bred for but has looked a different prospect in France the last twice, landing the Prix Robert Papin and Group 1 Prix Morny while looking like a horse that has not finished improving yet. Unlike the two mentioned above, he is not obviously crying out for an uphill finish but nor has he been stopping in his races. He sets the standard that those who may have Classic ambitions will have to match.
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