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Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2)
Challenge Stakes tips for Friday’s Group 2 race at Newmarket. Contested over the specialist trip of seven furlongs, the speed and stamina of all these horses will be tested in equal measures. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: Limato produced a career best effort when winning the Prix de la Foret in October 2016 at this distance and with the ground to suit, he’ll be hugely dangerous if bouncing back to his best. Preference though is for DABYAH, whose latest start was a very good fourth in the Coronation Cup and that form is obviously very smart. She goes well fresh and with Frankie Dettori taking over in her ideal conditions, she’ll be very tough to beat.
1 GORDON LORD BYRON – Very smart at his best but he’s now nine years old and his form is starting to dwindle, only sixth when last seen in a Group 3 at Tipperary. He’s unlikely to be good enough here at this stage of his career.
2 MASSAAT – Ran a career best after a year’s absence win the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and his latest run in France was another solid effort. He’ll be happier dropped back to his distance and with conditions to suit, he’s not going to be far away for top connections.
3 ABSOLUTELY SO – Won the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes in June, but he’s not been seen since and he’s pitched into a much tougher race. He can go well fresh and he’s ground versatile, but he should fall short in this company.
4 COUGAR MOUNTAIN – Very modest strike-rate but he is a smart horse on his day, struggling in softer ground of late. He will relish the return to a better surface and if allowed a soft lead, he’ll be highly dangerous from the front under Ryan Moore.
5 DUTCH CONNECTION – Won a Group 3 at Goodwood in August in identical conditions, not disgraced out in Canada when last seen. He has his optimum conditions and isn’t going to be far away for Charlie Hills.
6 GIFTED MASTER – Has a good record here at Newmarket and overall, winning a Listed race over six furlongs when last seen. He was well held in this race twelve months ago though and this is a strong renewal, so he has his work cut out for him.
7 LIMATO – Produced his best ever performance when winning the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly over this distance in October 2016. He has identical conditions here and despite not being at his high quality best this season, he’s a leading contender with everything in his favour.
8 TRUE VALOR – Has produced some useful form since being upped to the mile, second in a Group 2 at Leopardstown when last seen. Even more is needed here though in a very tough race for the grade and he’s likely to come up short going back in distance.
9 MIX AND MINGLE – Won a Listed race at Lingfield three starts ago with an enterprising ride but she’s found life much tougher the last twice. She was well held in a Group 3 when last seen and she’s completely up against it.
10 DABYAH – Steadily progressive, winning a Group 3 at Newbury in April before a fourth in the Coronation Cup at Royal Ascot. That is very strong form and she goes well fresh, so she is the one to beat under Frankie Dettori.
11 REHANA – Group 3 winner for Michael Halford whose latest third at Naas in a Listed contest is nowhere near enough to see her winning this. Conditions will suit and so will the step up in trip, but she’s up against it in such a classy field.