The opening race of the Future Champions Festival is the Cornwallis Stakes (13:50), in which Godolphin will be hoping to strike with either Platinum Star or Lazuli.
Platinum Star was last seen easily winning a listed race at Ripon from Lambeth Walk in a good time (117). He had previously contested a red-hot renewal of the Vintage Stakes, in which he finished fifth to Pinatubo, so had little issue stamping his class over his rivals at Ripon. The form of his July Stakes second (beaten a short head by Royal Lytham) is also strong enough to top the ratings, so he is a solid favourite.
Lazuli is two from two, his latest win coming in a minor event at Doncaster, where he travelled like a smart prospect for much of the race and quickened impressively before idling markedly, only just holding on at the line. He has yet to record a fast time - both races have been run at a steady gallop - but he’s open to a good deal of improvement and should have learnt plenty from his run last time.
Dream Shot has a bit to find with a couple of these, not least the Godolphin pair, but produced the second best timefigure performance (110) when second to Liberty Beach at Sandown in July. He also put up a promising performance in the Flying Childers at Doncaster last time, albeit he was no match for the winner A’Ali. It may turn out to have been a substandard renewal but he showed a nice turn of foot over the closing three furlongs in a steadily run race.
Final Song, who held an entry in the Fillies’ Mile, heads the market for the Oh So Sharp Stakes (14:25). She had the best timefigure (116) of entries for the Fillies’ Mile, from her performance when third in the Duchess of Cambridge at Newmarket in July, when she was backed to turn around Queen Mary form with Raffle Prize. However, she could only match her Royal Ascot effort, failing to improve over the longer trip as had seemed likely. There’s no doubt she’s a useful filly, but the jury is out as to whether she’ll prove any better.
The Godolphin filly doesn’t have the best timefigure of those entered in the Oh So Sharp - that belongs to Roger Varian’s Stylistique. She has yet to win but has proved most progressive in good company, not least when second to stablemate Daahyeh in the Rockfel in a fast time (121).
The Fillies’ Mile (15:35) should prove far more competitive than the Dewhurst, with a couple of unbeaten fillies at the head of the market also prominent in the betting for the 1000 Guineas next year. Roger Charlton’s Quadrilateral heads the market for Friday’s contest and the Guineas having won both starts at Newbury, the latest by nine lengths in an explosive display. However, it was achieved in a relatively slow time (97), similar to that which she recorded on debut.
Cayenne Pepper, who is trained by Jessica Harrington, is also unbeaten and has improved on each of her starts, the latest success coming in the Flame of Tara Stakes at the end of August. Her previous form is proving strong, and she put in a thoroughly professional performance to beat So Wonderful (a useful maiden) in the Flame of Tara, making the running at a modest pace, which compromised the final time (111).
Love is closely matched with Cayenne Pepper following her win in the Moyglare, in which So Wonderful finished third. She had only been fifth the time before in the Debutante Stakes (112), but her Moyglare win confirmed she is one of the best juvenile fillies around. The steady gallop possibly didn’t suit her, leading to a slow timefigure (96), but a clear run allowed her to build momentum and her strength at the finish suggested she’s only going to be better over a mile.