Punters' Panel: Future Champions Festival | Matt Brocklebank, David Ord and Richard Mann discuss the action at Newmarket

Newmarket Racecourse
Newmarket Racecourse

Matt Brocklebank, David Ord and Richard Mann discuss the Dubai Future Champions Festival weekend at Newmarket.

How do you see the Fillies' Mile shaping up?

Richard Mann: It looks a very interesting renewal to me. The unbeaten Antonia De Vega is the 3/1 favourite with Sky Bet following a taking success in Group Three company at Goodwood but she takes on a different level of opposition here the O'Brien family could dominate.

Hermosa rates the pick of Aidan's pair having taken another step forward when winning impressively at Naas last time and she looks a typical improving filly from the yard. A first try at a mile should suit, too, and she might be progressing at a faster rate than stablemate Zagitova.

Aidan's son, Joseph, looks to have a live runner in Iredessa who made an impressive winning debut over a mile back in July and hasn't fared too badly over 7f the last twice. Her pedigree screams stamina and she could go well at 25/1 now back up in trip.

Prix Morny heroine Pretty Pollyanna adds another fascinating dimension to the race but she failed to fire in the Cheveley Park Stakes last time and I'm not sure this trip will suit.

Matt Brocklebank: I've got to disagree with Manny. I've been dying to back Zagitova back over a mile on quick ground since watching her in the Moyglare and I won't be missing the opportunity with the weather set fair this weekend.

Hermosa is one of three subsequent winners to have come out of the Curragh race and I'm convinced Zagitova will prove herself a top-class filly in time. She won her maiden over a mile on decent ground at Cork in the summer and has shaped well dropped back to seven furlongs the last twice, despite racing on easier conditions.

This is her day to shine, although I admit that Donnacha riding the stablemate ever so slightly tempers enthusiasm... not much, mind.

David Ord: And I have to disagree with Matt! I think it's a race between the Ballydoyle pair. I'm against Antonio De Vega and Pretty Pollyanna and completely understand why on Moyglare form you can make a case for why Zagitova will finish in front of Hermosa.

However, the latter has been out since, running out an authoritative winner of a decent heat at Naas, taking her form to a new level. She's absolutely thriving right now and promises to relish the step up a mile. She can lead home a Ballydoyle one-two.

Too Darn Hot at evens for the Dewhurst? Discuss.

David Ord: I'm not sure he's a bet - but I think he'll win. You can certainly argue there's an element of style over substance with his two wins in the Solario and Champagne but the way he goes through his races - and quickens to order - mark him out as a potential top notcher.

The Doncaster race took a very strange tactical shape - Frankie Dettori having to make a mid-race move when it became clear that Dark Vision, his market rival, was no threat, and the dangers were in front of him.

He did well to come through and win with such authority and given an even gallop to aim at here, can produce a performance that catapults him to the top of the juvenile ratings.

Richard Mann: As much as Too Darn Hot has looked very good so far, he seems awfully short to me in what looks one of the strongest renewals of the Dewhurst in many a year.

His Solario Stakes win marked him down as a potential superstar but I wouldn't be getting carried away with his subsequent victory in the Champange Stakes at Doncaster.

To the eye he was once again very impressive but Dark Vision's disappointing showing left Too Darn Hot shorn of his chief danger and given that Cardini - well beaten at Newmarket since - finished third, I'm not sure about the strength of that form myself.

He's clearly very good but he found himself further back than ideal at Doncaster and against the level of opposition he will be facing on Saturday, he might not be able to get away with that again given how hard it can be to make up ground at Newmarket.

Had Ton Sovereigns turned up, he would have been my bet but this is still a strong race and Advertise looks overpriced at 8/1. He's a very smart colt.

Matt Brocklebank: Well, he looks like a superstar in the making to me and in all honesty, when you talk about good and bad even-money shots, plenty of people would argue this is among the best you're likely to see.

Is the competition serious? Of course it is, they don't hand over the Dewhurst without a bit of a scrap, but Mohawk and Anthony Van Dyck both look to lack the change of gear to down John Gosden's ace and Sangarius has 10lb to find on form.

Advertise is the one who could put it up to him as he's a pretty imposing type who could have grown again during his 62 days off since winning the Phoenix. If he resumes just short of match fit, he won't see which way the favourite goes.

Too Darn Hot storms clear in the Champagne
Too Darn Hot winning at Doncaster

Stratum still heads the betting for the Cesarewitch but is there any value lurking elsewhere?

Richard Mann: Stamina, stamina, stamina. For a Flat horse, this really is a unique test; a big-field handicap run over 2m2f on a stiff track can catch plenty of horses out and it's no surprise that jumps yards have done so well in the race in recent years.

Willie Mullins saddles long-time ante-post favourite Stratum and he looks tailor-made for it having found the Sky Bet Ebor a little on the sharp side for him, especially having encountered a rough run through the race. He must go well but I prefer another of the Mullins battalion in Low Sun.

Champs Elysees is a sire I love - he was responsible for last year's winner Withhold - as his progeny invariably improve with age, love a test of stamina and relish fast ground.

Low Sun ticks all three of those boxes on Saturday and his impressive Curragh rout back in the summer convinces me that he has a big pot in him. The cheekpieces go back on having been left off for his prep run and Seamie Heffernan has been called up for the ride. He is very interesting at 12/1.

Matt Brocklebank: I'm warming to him myself in truth RM, but having put up Whiskey Sour antepost and I'm not about to desert him now. He, too, didn't get the best trip in the Ebor and can definitely be marked up on the bare form.

He wasn't too far off Grade One level over the sticks in novice hurdles and I don't think a mark of 103 is completely beyond him in this sphere. Put it this way, I'm already looking at him as a 2019 Melbourne Cup type so he shouldn't be too far away here under Adam Kirby if he can get him across into a good position from stall 14.

Southern France is drawn 24 and Stars Over The Sea is 27 so they're going to need some luck, to say the least. Limini has drawn well (9) but I'm not absolutely convinced she'll have the guts to tough this out over 2m2f.

David Ord: To be honest I think Stratum is a very worthy favourite at 6/1 and before he landed stall 24 I thought Southern France was a huge danger. But I've been suckered into progressive three-year-olds in this before (Askar Tau anyone?) only for them to fall victim to more streetwise veterans of the staying scene.

Here And Now may not necessarily fall into that category but I think he's very interesting for the excellent Ralph Beckett. He won a decent staying handicap at the York Ebor Festival with any amount in hand and a small-field tactical affair at Chester next time was never going to play to his strengths. This race will and this strong-travelling four-year-old is capable of a very big run.

Stratum
Stratum

Anything else catch the eye at Newmarket over the weekend?

Matt Brocklebank: Kadar. He was a non-runner in the Royal Lodge the other week but I was really impressed by his winning debut at Haydock earlier in September and he's an exciting type for Karl Burke and Phoenix Thoroughbred in the Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes (2.25 Saturday).

He's another quality-looking two-year-old courtesy of the ill-fated Scat Daddy and while he only beat six horses first time out, two of the vanquished have won since, albeit in handicaps. Burke can do no wrong currently and it's hoped he can keep the ball rolling with this expensive colt.

David Ord: I'm not going to be picking up any prizes for originality but I do think True Mason will win the opening Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes on Friday.

I loved the way he travelled through the Mill Reef at Newbury last time before being outstayed by Kessaar and the drop back to five furlongs here will be very much in his favour. He'll handle the quicker ground and I think he'll pick these up meeting the rising ground and give Karl Burke another significant winner this term.

Richard Mann: Astronomer must shoulder top-weight in the Old Rowley Cup on Friday but I think he's a group horse in the making and fully expect him to win. Aidan O'Brien's son of Galileo has won four on the bounce now and has answered every question that has been asked of him with ease.

Donnacha O'Brien knows him really well, which is really important given that he can sometimes need a little bit of waking up, he stays really well and I'll be surprised if anything can come past him if he's in front heading into the dip.


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Most Read Racing

Check out our preview of the day's action1

Wednesday's racing preview

Nick Grant previews the action on Wednesday and reckons John Gosden will be among the winners at Lingfield.

2

Daily Nap: A nice Vieux

Ben Linfoot is back in the Nap hot-seat on Wednesday and he's taking a chance on a novice chaser who looks potentially well treated.

Foxtail Hill: Looks very well handicapped now
3

Weighed In: Not over the Hill

Ben Linfoot picks his way through the new BHA handicap ratings following action at Cheltenham, featuring a few My Stable eyecatchers and plenty of points of note.

Emitom bids to maintain his unbeaten record4

Talking Points: Cozy club

Newbury's cracking novices' hurdle, a well-bred newcomer at Ludlow, veteran sprinter at Newcastle and John Gosden's Lingfield fillies all come under the spotlight on Wednesday.

Ascot's big handicap hurdle comes under the spotlight5

Antepost Angle: Never never land

Matt Brocklebank has already had winners at 33/1 and 12/1 this jumps season - don't miss his 16/1 antepost recommendation for Ascot this weekend.

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Racing Tips

Daily Nap: A nice Vieux

Ben Linfoot is back in the Nap hot-seat on Wednesday and he's taking a chance on a novice chaser who looks potentially well treated.

Check out our preview of the day's action

Wednesday's racing preview

Nick Grant previews the action on Wednesday and reckons John Gosden will be among the winners at Lingfield.

Ascot's big handicap hurdle comes under the spotlight

Antepost Angle: Never never land

Matt Brocklebank has already had winners at 33/1 and 12/1 this jumps season - don't miss his 16/1 antepost recommendation for Ascot this weekend.