The BHA, Arc and the sponsors deserve credit for quickly rearranging the Vertem Futurity Trophy to be run at Newcastle after the abandonment of Doncaster last Saturday, and they were duly rewarded with one of the best juvenile displays of 2019.
The Andrew Balding-trained Kameko (up 12 lb to 120) had acquitted himself well in pattern races on both starts since winning a maiden at Sandown, but took his form up another couple of notches to land this Group 1 on his first start on the all-weather, running out a commanding winner, with the strong pace at a mile very much bringing out the best in him. It was a performance that was at least on a par with any in the race since St Nicholas Abbey won in 2009, and Kameko is worth aiming at the 2000 Guineas now, looking one of the best of his generation aside from Pinatubo.
Aidan O’Brien filled the places in behind, with Innisfree (111 from 107p) coming out best of his five runners. He is a different type to the winner, almost certainly heading in a different direction next spring, with a Derby trial far more likely to be his target. The same can be said for Mogul, who was an odds-on favourite for the race when it was set to be run at Doncaster, but was a big market drifter in the deeper rearranged edition. A brother to Japan, he is another who is bred for middle distances next year and is still likely to be one of the leading players in his trainer's Derby team.
The disappointment of the race was the well-supported Kinross (106p), who was sent off favourite after creating a deep impression on debut. A lack of experience, and possibly stamina at this stage of his career, seemed to tell, though he is sure to derive plenty of benefit from his involvement in this, and he remains a very smart prospect.
The rating Kinross achieved at Newmarket last month – 106P – is the highest any two-year-old in Britain or Ireland has earned on debut this season. However, Born With Pride got close to that mark, earning a rating of 105P through her victory in the listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. She was just the second horse William Haggas has started off at listed level (after Moselle in the inaugural running of this race in 1999), and she produced a highly promising performance, knowing her job and showing a commendable attitude to first see off Run Wild (100) and then hold off the fast-finishing Peaceful (104p from 93p).
The form of races at this stage of the turf season always have to be treated with a degree of caution, but Born With Pride has to rate an exciting prospect for 2020, with an Oaks trial a likely starting point for her in the spring.
Later on the card Roseman (up 7 lb to 123p) made light of a four-month absence to win a listed contest in impressive fashion, showing improved form and scoring in the style of one who will be well up to making his mark in pattern company as a four-year-old. He still looked green when entering the Dip but picked up nicely once meeting the rising ground, his strength at the line suggesting he would have no problem returned to a mile and a quarter. A lightly-raced type, he is just the sort his top yard excel with, and he is one to follow next season.
Newmarket also staged the Horris Hill – which was another race to be switched following the abandonment of Newbury the preceding Saturday – but it looked like a fairly weak renewal. The winner Kenzai Warrior (103p from 85p) ran to a useful level to follow up his debut win – form which had been boosted several times since, including by Group 3 Zetland winner Max Vega – after eight weeks off, his stamina coming into play as he stayed on strongly in the final 100 yards. The fully exposed runner-up, and the fairly useful fifth suggest it's best to take a low view of the form for the time being, but Kenzai Warrior is clearly going the right way, and he will be open to further improvement next season.
Unbeaten - Kenzai Warrior could be an exciting one for next year and lands the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes for @RogerTealRacing at @NewmarketRace.— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 2, 2019
Another fine effort from Ropey Guest in second too. You've got to feel for him! pic.twitter.com/NLin1Wpupr
There were some noteworthy performances to touch on from the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, particularly Vino Rosso (up 9 lb to 130) in the Classic itself. He produced a clear career best to win, proving well suited by the sound pace and never stronger than at the finish. Clearly a late-maturing type, it's a pity he won't be seen next season, connections stating he was retiring to stud in the aftermath of this race.
Uni (up 4 lb to 124) produced a smart turn of foot to win the Mile in a renewal of the race that was light on European challengers, Circus Maximus in fourth faring best of the raiders, but Uni was an up-to-scratch winner of the race. Her potent turn of foot will continue to serve her well, beaten only once in the last two seasons, and she will remain hard to beat in such races when the emphasis is on speed.