Future Champions Festival Preview
Newmarket stages Group 1 action this week as another season draws nearer to its conclusion.
Newmarket edges closer to the end of another season with two days of action on Friday and Saturday for the Dubai Future Champions Festival on the Rowley Mile.
There is Group 1 action on both days and the possibility of seeing some of the best two-year-olds of the year in action for the final time.
The centrepiece of the meeting will be the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday afternoon, set to witness a possible full dress rehearsal for next season's 2000 Guineas battle between Air Force Blue and Emotionless.
Old rivals Godolphin and Coolmore will lock horns with what have looked the best two-year-old colts on either side of the Irish Sea. Air Force Blue has won three times at the Curragh this year, including at Group 1 level on both his most recent starts.
There is no doubting that Aidan O'Brien rates the son of War Front highly, but he met his only reverse on his previous trip to Britain in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The Ballydoyle inmate reversed that form with Mark Johnston's Buratino in Ireland subsequently, but William Buick's mount would prove a tough adversary on good ground, as he showed when following home Shalaa in the Middle Park here last month.
The horse they all have to fear is Emotionless. Charlie Appleby's runner has looked every inch a superstar in the making in his two wins to date, winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month in effortless fashion.
Victory in the Dewhurst would plant his name firmly at the head of affairs for next year's opening Classic back at Headquarters.
Few handicaps in the racing calendar match the Cesarewitch, the race famed for starting in Cambridgeshire and finishing in Suffolk some two-and-a-bit miles later.
David Pipe's Low Key will carry many hopes having sealed his place in the field with victory in a trial of course and distance last month.
With the talented Tom Marquand taking a handy 3lbs off, Pipe could go one better than when second with Mamlook six years ago, as he tries to emulate his father, Martin, by winning the prestigious contest.
Irish raider Tony Martin knows how to win the Cesarewitch, having done so with Leg Spinner in 2007, and his Galway Hurdle winner Quick Jack was already a fascinating contender before the shrewd trainer booked the services of Ryan Moore.
The Fillies' Mile tops the bill on Friday afternoon, with some burgeoning reputations ready to go on the line.
John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, fresh from Arc success in Paris, team up with Nathra - a convincing winner of both starts so far. She romped home at Newbury in a Conditions race in September over 7f, leaving the impression this step up in trip would be right up her street.
She will not have things all her own way against Minding, however. Aidan O'Brien's Galileo filly took the scalp of her more fancied stablemate Ballydoyle in the Moyglare Stud Stakes last time out, form that received a major boost when Moore steered the runner-up to Group 1 joy on Arc Day at Longchamp last Sunday.
Saeed bin Suroor's Promising Run has two 7f victories at Newmarket under her belt since finishing third on debut at Goodwood, with her latest success in the Rockfel Stakes entitling her to plenty of respect.