Oaks Prospects Abound

October 10th, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Promising prospects for next year abound at the moment and we may have seen a useful sort winning the 7f fillies’ maiden at Salisbury this afternoon.

John Gosden holds a strong hand with his youngsters but it would not surprise me if Icespire proved one of his better fillies next season. Robert Havlin plays a key role in the yard and he said after this filly won today that she had oozed class when he rode her in work last week. The daughter of Frankel wore a hood for this debut, having been a little fractious at home earlier in the season, but having been behind early on she came with a steady run to lengthen and pull away from the promising Mouille Point in second.

Gosden had introduced another promising filly last week at Newmarket named Astronomy’s Choice. The daughter of Redoute’s Choice is home-bred by owner Robin Geffen and has the Pretty Polly Stakes next season as a possible starting point. That suggests connections have the Oaks in mind for her.

Gosden has another prospect for Epsom in the form of Coronet, who followed up her debut Leicester success with a neck defeat of stable-companion Cunco in the 1m 2f Listed Zetland Stakes.

The winner is a daughter of Dubawi out of a mare by Darshaan, so she could hardly be better bred for middle distances.

There are some good prospects around at the moment, with Rhododendron and Wuheida obviously of interest, but I would not discourage anyone from taking a little of the 16/1 available about Coronet for Epsom as she is very game and sure to stay. It is encouraging that the trainer says the Musidora Stakes is the likely target for her seasonal debut.

As you are aware I have been keen on Churchill for the 2,000 Guineas ever since he won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. It has, though, taken a while for the penny to drop with him. We saw a sign of that when he won the National Stakes at the Curragh, but he is never the sort of colt to impress on the bridle and was no more than workmanlike when beating stable-companion Lancaster Bomber in the Dewhurst Stakes.

The key, though, will be when we see him stepped up to a mile. He only gets going inside the final furlong and his pedigree strongly points to his being suited to a step up in trip.

There is no longer much value to be had with Churchill, but he is a worthy favourite for the Guineas and with a good winter I expect him to prove hard to beat.

Bye for now