One of two Group 1 6f two-year-old races set to take place this Saturday the Middle Park Stakes is the feature for sprinting juvenile colts in the UK.
First held in 1866 the 6f Middle Park Stakes has been won by many top class performers including the fillies Pretty Polly and Sun Chariot and great colts such as Dante, Djebel and Abernant the race in recent times has been dominated not by Classic horses such as the first two named but by horses who’d go on to make their name in sprints.
U S Navy Flag (2017), Dream Ahead (2010), Amadeus Wolf (2005) and Oasis Dream (2002) being among those who have gone on to top level sprinting success following their victories in this race in recent years.
Aidan O’Brien took this race 12 months ago with the aforementioned U S Navy Flag who went on to success in the Group 1 July Cup back in July and in likely favourite Ten Sovereigns he has another possible star sprinter engaged this time around.
Ten Sovereigns (4/6 with William Hill) looks likely to start at cramped odds following two impressive victories at The Curragh in recent times with the first of those being a 7L victory in a 25 runner 6f maiden contest on good going just over a month ago. The son of Royal Ascot winning juvenile No Nay Never handled the step up to Group 3 company with aplomb in winning on good-to-yielding ground by over 3L at the start of this month.
An expensive 200,000 gns purchase at the sales last October the March colt is out of a mare who won over 1m2f on heavy going in France but he appears to have inherited no shortage of his sires speed and holds strong claims of maintaining his unbeaten record and stake his claims to be named Champion Two-Year-Old.
Trained in Newmarket itself Jash is unbeaten in two starts having followed up an impressive 6f novice stakes victory on good-to-firm going on the July course here with a 9L victory in a similar contest at Salisbury (6f, good-to-firm) just over a fortnight ago.
While sent off at prohibitive odds at Salisbury the son of Kodiac couldn’t have been any more impressive in making all the running and while he steps up markedly in grade here he has already run to a good level of form.
Emaraaty Ana (10/1 at Bet365) was a debut winner over the minimum distance on good ground at Windsor back in April and while he was slightly below par in finishing third in a Listed contest at this 6f trip at Newbury in July he got his career back on track with a Group 2 success in the Gimcrack Stakes on good-to-firm going over this distance at York the following month.
The son of Shamardal made all for that York victory and while bred to appreciate further he has shown himself to be speedy enough to win at a decent level in sprints and represents a stable who have taken this race twice in the past, most recently with Astaire five years ago.
Another to have won in Group company this year is the Richard Spencer-trained Rumble Inthejungle (16/1 William Hill) who impressed in taking the Molecombe Stakes over 5f at Goodwood (good) early last month.
Any overnight rain would likely hinder his chances having disappointing on good-to-soft going last time.
Legend of War won two of his first three starts including in a three runner contest on the July course here at the end of July. A son of Scat Daddy the colt lost nothing in defeat when finishing second behind Emaraaty Ana at York subsequently while a three length defeat dropping to 5f for the first time was most likely down to the distance.
This return to 6f is in his favour and he represents a stable who have taken this twice in the last twenty years, most recently with Shalaa in 2015.
With eight runners declared this looks a lovely betting medium with preference for Jash who is currently a 9/2 chance with Bet365 and has impressed in winning both of his starts so far. If there’s a top class sprinter outside of the favourite in this event then he is the most likely candidate while for those after something at a bigger price it’s not hard to see Legends Of War involving himself in the finish on his return to this distance. John Gosden’s charge is available at 20/1 with Bet365.