Race Time: 3.35pm Meeting: Newbury Day: Saturday 24th October
Distance: 7f Full Race Name: Al Basti Equiworld Celebration Stakes (Registered as The Radley Stakes) (Listed Race) (Fillies) Class One
Eleven two year olds are set to go to post for this Listed race and the little matter of £30,000 in prize money as well as the obligatory black type that means so much in breeding circles. Marcus Tregoning is in charge of the best horse on official ratings thanks to Alamode (2/1), a daughter of Sir Percy who has three races to her name and the one victory. The stable are pretty well known for leaving plenty to work on with their two year olds so it came as no great shock to see her beaten first time out at Newbury when a 66/1 fourth to La Rioja with the form working out quite well after the winner went on to take the Group Three Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes by four and a half lengths. The third has won two races since in humbler company but it still franks the form, and as Marcus’ horse has improved since, all looks good so far. A maiden win at Goodwood soon followed in a hot looking contest where she got up close home over the six furlongs after a troubled run, showing dash and resolution to get there when needed, and she was then upped in class at Newmarket to finish a length second to First Victory in the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes, again running in to trouble at a crucial stage of the race. That may not be Classic threatening form or anything out of the ordinary, but this is a drop in class and it is clearly the best on offer though as is oft the case, there are others in with chances.
Trainer Ralph Beckett is more than capable when given a decent horse to work with as witnessed this season by the exploits of Simple Verse and Secret Gesture to name but two, and although we would be more than a little surprised were Flying Empress (8/1) to get any where near to their levels, she does have decent form in the context of this race and more interestingly will be wearing a first time visor. She did finish five lengths plus behind the very well regarded Promising Run when last seen at Newmarket in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes and is another dropping in grade to Listed class, and with visors likely to have a more positive effect than blinkers anything is possible, and a big race seems assured.
As mentioned recently, Roger Varian has his string in good form to end the season and in Fourth Way (7/1) he has an interesting sort even if she is stepping up after just the one maiden win at Yarmouth over a furlong less. Heavily odds on that day, she showed the benefit of her earlier run when runner up over the same course and distance with a pretty impressive looking victory that certainly caught the eye, though we were thinking a Conditions race was her most likely next stop. This is a very different matter but she is presumably working well enough to take her place in the line up or she could have been sent to other engagements, and with her 78,000 Guineas price tag we would be looking for a race of this standard as a minimum for a return on our investment.
If we include Fourth Way then we also have to include the William Haggas trained Light Music (11/8) who has the same form figures of 21 all be it in different races. After a second place to Nathra at Salisbury when well supported after some decent enough home work, she stepped up on that effort on better ground at Leicester when hacking up by no less than fourteen lengths. The form adds up to nothing so far with all those in behind who have raced since beaten, but she could do no more than put the race to bed with the minimum of effort which she managed easily enough, and with more improvement on the cards, she is clearly a very interesting contender.
Lastly, each way thieves will have spotted the place consistency of Mick Channon’s Summer Icon (22/1) and have her on their radar accordingly. No wins in six starts isn’t too impressive but she has been second or third in three of her last four starts and holds Make Fast on her last run at Newmarket – a place option at a big price maybe, but surely not the winner