Run since 1866, the Middle Park Stakes is a Group 1 for two-year-old colts run over six furlongs on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket.
We will have a runner-by-runner preview, and selection, for this weekend’s renewal on our ITV racing tips page – along with all of the remaining action at the Cambridgeshire meeting, which begins on Thursday.
Here, we have delved deeper into previous renewals of the Middle Park – looking at how past winners have subsequently fared – and will assess the chances of the leading protagonists on Saturday.
With the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes run at this venue just a fortnight after the Middle Park, this has – in recent renewals – tended to be won by more of a future sprinter than a miler – with no horse completing the Middle Park–2000 Guineas double since Rodrigo de Triano in 1991/92.
In fact, you have to go back to Ad Valorem in 2004 to find the last horse to win the Middle Park and subsequently score over a mile, with the aforementioned Ad Valorem going on to land the 2006 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
Ad Valorem’s victory was one of six in this race for O’Brien – who is now the winning most trainer of the Middle Park.
The Middle Park has proved a good springboard to the following season’s July Cup. Since 2006 those attempting to win the July Cup after their respective victories in the Middle Park have achieved form figures of 2130011 – with the last two winners U S Navy Flag and Ten Sovereigns both completing the double.
Earthlight – Unbeaten from his four starts to date, culminating in his victory in last month’s Prix Morny – beating subsequent Flying Childers winner A’Ali. He will have no issues with the forecast rainfall but looks more of a miler for next season – which goes against the profile of recent winners – and his trainer has relayed track concerns in the build-up to the race.
Mums Tipple – Put up one of the most impressive juvenile performances in recent memory when landing a sales race at York by eleven lengths last month. The fourth has subsequently come out and landed a Listed race, so the form looks respectable, but this is a marked step up in class and he would have to prove his suitability for the ground were it to go softer than good.
Siskin – Yet to taste defeat in his four starts to date, landing the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last time out. Showed a good attitude to score by just under a length there, and although better ground is undoubtedly preferable – he showed that he handles soft. This demands more, but he is clearly going the right way.
Monarch Of Egypt – By the US Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, this colt made a winning debut at Naas in April, but he has found Siskin too strong in both subsequent runs. His dam Up is a half-sister to Dutch Art (winner of this race in 2006), however, and his trainer’s fine recent record in the Middle Park suggests that he is dangerous to completely discount.
Threat – Another possible Richard Hannon representative, this Cheveley Park owned juvenile has won three of his five starts to date – landing the Group 2 Champagne Stakes on his most recent outing. Would be dropping back to six furlongs were he to contest this, however, and ground softer than good would be a significant concern.