Richard Mann looks ahead to the opening day of Newmarket's Future Champions Meeting with Frosty firmly on the radar in the Oh So Sharp Stakes.
Regally-bred Frosty in warm water at HQ
1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Nassau Stakes.
An impressive CV by anyone's standards and Winter - one of the undoubted stars of the 2017 Flat season - retired to the paddocks with career earnings in excess of one million pounds and a reputation as tall as many of the fine fillies to hail from Ballydoyle in recent years.
Now it is the turn of Frosty, her full sister, to take centre stage and she gave notice to a very bright future when making a most impressive winning debut at Dundalk two weeks ago, having seemingly been unfancied beforehand.
The apparent third-string of Aidan O'Brien's trio of runners, she was evidently expected to come on plenty for the run but travelled sweetly in behind the leaders before sweeping past a couple of solid benchmarks to record a smooth success under only hands-and-heels riding.
Credenza, O'Brien's first string on the night, has since been out to give the form a timely boost and with the promise of a considerable amount of improvement to come, that opening offering is one to take very seriously.
Frosty is a tall, leggy grey who is far from the finished article and as the old cliche goes, anything she does this year will be a bonus ahead of a three-year-old career that should see this raw and unfurnished filly become the complete racehorse. It is also worth remembering that Winter only broke her duck at the third time of asking, and relatively late into her first year of racing.
Despite all of this, it seems significant that master trainer Aidan O'Brien has immediately opted to throw Frosty in at the deep end with the Group Three Godolphin Lifetime Oh So Sharp Stakes (2.25) on Friday her next port of call.
Racing at Newmarket can prove a steep learning curve for many, especially young horses, and once the expanse of its paddock and the long walk down to the racetrack proper is complete, the undulations and ridges of the course itself ensure there is no hiding place even before the famous Dip is to be negotiated on the final run for home.
Frosty ultimately not yet be ready for this, but whatever happens on Friday she is sure to learn plenty from the experience and were she able to defy her inexperience and all of the obstacles in her path - and some useful opposition to boot - O'Brien and his team at Ballydoyle might just start thinking they have another Winter on their hands.
Staying stars of the future on show at York
All eyes will be on Newmarket this weekend but York stages a good-quality meeting in its own right the Racebets Handicap (3.50) sees a host of exciting three-year-old stayers bid to take another step up the ladder.
Frankel colt Surya has won his last three in the manner of a very promising stayer and heads the betting from Canford Heights who looked to be a horse with a serious engine when winning easily at Haydock.
Both have the potential to be pattern class but with next year's Sky Bet Ebor worth one million pounds, connections would be minded to have York on their radar and as such, both will need to inch their ratings up if they are to be guaranteed a return to the Knavesmire for the big one.
Proschema has already tried his luck at the top table having finished eighth in the William Hill St Leger and having placed in the Sky Bet Melrose earlier in the season, he is another whom connections will be hoping can do ever better with another winter under his belt.
Looking even further ahead, Queen's Vase fourth Almoghared was second favourite when well-beaten by current Cesarewitch favourite Stratum at Newbury but he clearly failed to give his true running there and don't be surprised if John Gosden's stout stayer is heading to Newmarket in 12 months time with his own Cesarewitch bid leaving bookmakers running for cover.
This could be a race worth watching with interest with early clues for the 2019 Flat season already on offer.
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