Racing steps up a gear on Friday when Newmarket hosts two Group races. Meanwhile, there are Derby and Oaks trials at Lingfield Park. They are among seven races to be shown on ITV4.
The highlight of Newmarket’s ten-race card is the Group 1 Coronation Cup at 3.35, rerouted from Epsom. It sees champion stayer Stradivarius step down in trip to a mile and a half. His rivals include Defoe, who won this race last year and followed up in Royal Ascot’s Hardwicke Stakes. Another is last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck. So far he’s looked a sub-standard winner of the Epsom Classic. He ran a decent race when finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf but then flopped in the Hong Kong Vase. His trainer Aidan O’Brien also runs Broome, a close fourth behind his stablemate at Epsom but not seen since finishing a tame sixth in the Irish Derby.
Charlie Appleby runs Ghaiyyath, winner of a Meydan Group 3 in February. He won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden last year. However, he came up short in two French Group 1s, the Ganay and the Arc.
Defoe, who finished a short-head second in a Meydan Group 2 in March, is the choice to repeat last year’s success.
Newmarket’s main supporting races
The Group 3 Abernant Stakes is at 2.25. Brando finished third, beaten a head and a neck, in the 2019 running. He’s now eight years old but this looks a weaker field than last year. Portland Handicap winner Oxted looks the main danger.
As with Lingfield’s Derby and Oaks trials, the Paradise Stakes at 3.00 has Listed status. Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius, last seen winning the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, makes his return to action. The once-raced Lord Tennyson is an intriguing rival. John Gosden’s four-year-old made a belated debut at Chelmsford in February, winning going away. He comes into the ‘could be anything’ bracket. Dettori is on board. Other rivals include Escobar, who won the big handicap on British Champions Day last year. Mythical Magic twice finished second in Group 2 races at Meydan at the start of the year, while Marie’s Diamond ran third in the Listed Wulfruna Stakes on the all-weather in March.
Derby and Oaks trials at Lingfield
John Gosden is already in top form and looks to hold the Oaks Trial key. He runs Zetland Stakes runner-up Miss Yoda and Chelmsford maiden winner Lake Lucerne. Mark Johnston’s filly West End Girl won the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes last term but was then soundly beaten twice in higher grade.
Berkshire Rocco, third behind Miss Yoda in the Zetland Stakes, heads the Derby trial field. Sound Of Cannons finished fourth in a French Group 1 at the end of October. However, that was on heavy ground. King’s Caper won three minor contests and later finished second in a weak Newmarket nursery.
The vote here goes to Ed Walker’s English King, winner of a 1m 2f all-weather maiden in November. Pushed clear, he won well that day and can win again here. King Carney, winner of the Silver Tankard Stakes over Pontefract’s stiff mile last year, could present the main threat.
Last year’s Lingfield Derby and Oaks trial winners, Anthony Van Dyck and Anapurna, both went on to Epsom Glory. However, it is doubtful whether that will be the case this time.