In the opening race of the Future Champions Festival, the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, Sergei Prokofiev (119 timefigure) and Well Done Fox (117) are clear. The former’s figure comes from his maiden win at Navan, while the latter’s best effort on the clock came when second in the Flying Childers Stakes last time. True Mason heads the market, but is yet to record a strong timefigure , his best of 99 coming when second to Kessaar in the Mill Reef Stakes last time.
Angel’s Hideaway (114) is clear on time in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, but that’s almost by virtue of having taken in more racing, including the Cheveley Park Stakes where she was well held; with a host of less exposed fillies in opposition her leading timefigure probably doesn’t stand for much. Sunday Star’s win last time (105) was impressive enough, and her previous second at Goodwood is working out well, the winner of which, Glance (92), re-opposes here.
Minding, in 2015, is the only winner of the 1000 Guineas to run in the Fillies’ Mile in recent years. She was sent off the 5/4 favourite for her final juvenile start, winning by over four lengths, before going on to win the Guineas and the Oaks at short prices the following spring. This year’s renewal of the Fillies' Mile, however, looks far more open without a standout in the field.
Top rated (132) and top on time (125 timefigure) Pretty Pollyanna is a logical place to start, her performances in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Prix Morny marking her out as a leading two-year-old filly. She has since suffered defeat in the Cheveley Park Stakes, looking laboured just ten days after her Morny win, but her Duchess of Cambridge win is the best time performance in the race. However, her lightly-raced rivals may not have had the same opportunity to run a fast time.
Amongst them is Antonia de Vega, who heads the market following her win in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood. She was held up in a slowly run race which compromised the final time (93 timefigure), but should be suited by the step up to a mile here and has plenty of improvement to come.
A pair of Ballydoyle runners are next, both of whom finished behind Skitter Scatter in the Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh (a race Minding was also beaten in). Hermosa (112 timefigure) finished best, staying on well from mid-field to snatch third from stablemate Zagitova (111). Hermosa has since won the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes at Naas, a race won by Qualify who went on to win the Oaks.
Zagitova only lost third late on, having been hampered slightly, and she probably paid the price for tracking the strong early pace set by Main Edition. She will be suited by a return to a mile and is certainly open to improvement.
Godolphin’s Beyond Reason (108 timefigure) was also well held in the Moyglare and the dual winner in France has less scope than the others. In contrast, Shambolic has two wins in slowly-run minor events to her name, making the running in both races and rallying well when joined. This is much tougher, and with just modest timefigures so far (39 last time) she will in all likelihood have to run much faster than she has before, but she’s not one to take lightly.
The listed Zetland Stakes opens up day two of the meeting, with Sydney Opera House’s second in the Royal Lodge the leading timefigure (118). He made the running, setting a decent tempo but ultimately lacked the gears of his stablemate Mohawk. With so much stamina in his pedigree he should be suited by the step up to a mile and a quarter. Stablemate Norway showed improved form and recorded a decent time (111) when getting off the mark at the third attempt at Naas last time, impressively drawing clear.
The favourite is Waldstern, a winner on debut (93 timefigure) who found plenty to lead well inside the final furlong having ran a little green early. He failed to improve on his next start when finishing behind leading Autumn Stakes fancy Kadar in a similar race at Haydock, probably unsuited by how that race unfolded (emphasis on speed).
The Autumn Stakes is up next, but there are no standout contenders on timefigures (a modest 98 by Western Australia is marginally the best), and of much more interest is the following Dewhurst Stakes.
Previous winners of the Dewhurst include Frankel (2011), Dawn Approach (2013) and Churchill (2017), all of whom went on to win the 2000 Guineas as three-year-olds. This year's renewal looks just as exciting.
Current 2000 Guineas favourite Too Darn Hot is three from three, his win in the Solario Stakes, on just his second start, establishing him as one of the very best in the division, with the time and closing sectional backing up the visual impression. He improved again in the Champagne Stakes, where he travelled powerfully and quickened smartly inside the final two furlongs, recording a strong timefigure (116) in the process.
Sangarius hasn’t achieved the same level of form as Too Darn Hot, having been limited to a maiden on the July Course and listed event at Doncaster thus far, but he looks ready to be tested at the top level. His win last time was in a slowly-run race, resulting in a timefigure of just 89, but he travelled strongly and overcame inexperience, showing himself to be a very exciting prospect.
Anthony Van Dyck is the leading contender from Ballydoyle. He last seen finishing second behind the absent Quorto (Timeform’s top two-year-old) in the National Stakes at the Curragh in a very fast time (race-leading 133 timefigure).
Of the rest, Advertise has done very little wrong for Martyn Meade, second in the Coventry Stakes before winning the July Stakes (124 timefigure), and then landing the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last time out. He should prove just as effective over seven furlongs and remains capable of better, but he’ll need to step up again to trouble the big guns.