New London Tops Sunday Cast

New London | Getty Images


   Sunday afternoon is as busy as it gets, with the plethora of pattern races creating a logjam of quality which can only truly be appreciated in the aftermath. Nestled among the key events taking place across Europe is Doncaster's G1 Cazoo St Leger, where New London (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) is the true kingpin with an air of apparent superiority. That comes largely from him winning a deep renewal of Goodwood's G3 Gordon S. July 28, which aside from the Derby is the strongest piece of 3-year-old middle-distance form for the males this season. He has a staggering extra 557 yards to cover here on ground not dissimilar to that on which he floundered in the spring when beaten at Chester. That said, Godolphin's eclipsed hot favourite for the G3 Chester Vase is a different beast four months on and as a relative of the 2011 Leger hero Masked Marvel (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) and of Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) there is little not to like.

“All the signs are there with his pedigree that this distance will suit, so we are not lacking confidence with the trip,” Charlie Appleby said. “The only blip he's had on his page was in the Chester Vase. People might say was that the trip and ground at the time, but I don't think it was either. I just think he'd run a good, solid race at the Craven meeting a few weeks earlier and he's best when he's fresh. That's why after the Gordon S. we always wanted to come straight here.”


Watch Out!

For those who believe that New London is home and hosed, they would be well-served to remember that this is a Classic that sometimes likes to bowl a googly as they say in Britain, or throw a curveball as they do in the seaport city in Connecticut after which the favourite is named. While the last five winners have been largely predictable, it was only in 2016 that the 22-1 outsider Harbour Law (GB) (Lawman {Fr}) benefitted as the unthinkable happened and Seamie Heffernan was unshipped from the 4-6 favourite Idaho (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). A year before, Simple Verse (Ire) (Duke Of Marmalade {Ire}) won it, lost in the stewards' room and was given it back again while this is the 10-year anniversary of the 25-1 shot Encke (Kingmambo), who did for the Triple Crown dream of Camelot (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}). There is plenty to fear not only from the fates but also from KHK Racing Ltd's G2 Queen's Vase-winning 'TDN Rising Star' Eldar Eldarov (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), Go Bloodstock and Partners' Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal (GB) (Territories {Ire}) and the still-promising and possibly underestimated filly Emily Dickinson (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), the sole representative from Ballydoyle no less.


Blink And You'll Miss It

The first of six Group 1 contests across Britain, Ireland and France on Sunday takes place on the talent-rich Curragh card, with Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) looking to extend her dominance on the sprinting division having completed the taxing double of the 6 1/2-furlong G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and five-furlong G1 Nunthorpe S. in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five S. Ordinarily, the switch from York's flat track and lively surface to this stiff test on yielding going would be a concern for lesser mortals but this is a mare that is proven in all spheres. Stripping sprinting back to the bare basics of how quickly the furlongs can be ticked off from pillar-to-post, she has risen from unlikely beginnings to become a true force of nature and the sporting nature of connections is to be cherished. With no constraints on her versatility, it is up to this cast which includes last year's one-two Romantic Proposal (Ire) (Raven's Pass) and A Case Of You (Ire) (Hot Streak {Ire}) to make it as tough for her as possible.


Meditate On That

Aidan O'Brien has won 13 of the 21 juvenile group races where he has had a runner in 2022 and, while Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) is absent from Sunday's Curragh fixture, the stable remains highly likely to come up with at least one able substitute. It is the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. which has to deal with Little Big Bear's temporary void, but there is still a keen sense of excitement in the air where fellow 'TDN Rising Star' Aesop's Fables (Ire) (No Nay Never) is concerned. How good he is remains to be seen, but he appeared to win the course-and-distance G2 Futurity S. Aug. 20 on ability alone. This slightly different test on different ground, which sees Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum's July 26 G2 Vintage S. winner Marbaan (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) pitched in, will give a truer gauge. Ballydoyle's G2 Debutante S. and G3 Albany S. scorer Meditate (Ire) (No Nay Never) appears to have been around a lot longer due to her fine blend of obstinacy and class and she is an imposing figurehead for her unrivalled yard in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. For all the raw material of the favourite, there will nonetheless be a few disappointed members of The Aga Khan's operation and the Dermot Weld stable if the 'TDN Rising Star' Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}), the wildflower that her trainer planted at Galway July 26, does not impose herself on this contest at the business end.


His True Measure

Denied his ideal ground all summer, Trueshan (Fr) (Planteur {Ire}) finally has all in his favour as he takes centre stage in what would have been Friday's headlining G2 Coral Doncaster Cup. Eventually tried on a fast surface when third defending his title in the G1 Goodwood Cup July 26, Alan King's flag-bearer lost nothing in defeat there having already achieved a remarkable feat by registering a weight-carrying record in Newcastle's Northumberland Plate June 25. While his stature as staying division leader is currently intact despite the inevitable withdrawals that pepper his record, it has seemed that every time he has been either forced out of competition or undermined by the dry spell there has been one more challenger to his assumed title.


Rapid Response

While the ball is back in Trueshan's court on Town Moor, it may only be so for an hour and a half maximum before Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) again contests his premiership, this time in The Curragh's G1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger. Having beaten Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) fair and square at Goodwood following his G1 Gold Cup exploits at Royal Ascot, Ballydoyle's young buck in this category now has to do it on the easier ground that his chief British foe relishes, which is not even to mention the upwardly-mobile Quickthorn (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) who has emerged front and centre since the last time that Moyglare's colourbearer was viewed. With the exception of the Haggas challenger Hamish (GB) (Motivator {GB}), who has a habit of springing up to remind everyone how talented he is and who is fresh having been kept under wraps since his May 5 G3 Ormonde S. success, this is undeniably Kyprios's race to lose.


Coming Verry Soon

While Sunday's racing is outstanding in its own right, the ongoing daisy chain of the Flat season demands that thoughts of the future are never far away. As far as ParisLongchamp's fixture is concerned, it is all about the Arc in three weeks' time with the door still only slightly ajar for Jomara Bloodstock's remarkable Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) following her flop on her French debut in Deauville's G1 Prix Jean Romanet Aug. 21. Francis-Henri Graffard was quick to forgive that effort, but it seems a long time since she was seen in her prime and she has to kick that door wide open in what is a substandard edition of this time-honoured prep, the G2 Qatar Prix Foy. Connections are convinced she can get back to the level that was still in evidence as she brought up an 11th Group 1 win in Randwick's Chipping Norton on heavy ground Feb. 26, so it's a case of over to you…


Arc Angels?

If Verry Elleegant is indeed on the way down, the opposite is certainly true of Ballydoyle's Oaks heroine Tuesday (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) who continues her ascent towards the Arc in the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille. With her stamina for this mile-and-a-half doubted in some parts after she had prevailed in what was a slowly-run renewal of the Epsom Classic, they were put firmly to the side as she split Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and La Petite Coco (Ire) (Ruler Of The World {Ire}), with the Irish Oaks winner Magical Lagoon (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) well beaten, in the Aug. 18 G1 Yorkshire Oaks. The full-sister to Minding (Ire) looks to have more stamina than her sibling at this stage and could yet prove to have as much class. Fellow 3-year-old La Parisienne (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}) shook up Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly June 19 and is in deep again, but Peter R Bradley III's colour-bearer still carries the dream. That is also true of another big Arc player who headlines the G2 Qatar Prix Niel in the May 29 G1 Tokyo Yushun hero Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}). Yutaka Take heads back to Paris to reignite yet another Japanese fire ahead of the one the nation wants so badly next month.


More Champagne Moments

The afternoon's frantic group-race action begins with the G2 Coral Champagne S. at Doncaster, which is some appetiser given that is one of Britain's key juvenile staging posts en route to the following year's Classics. Bizarrely or not, given your take on the malnourished state of field sizes in this country this season, just three turn up but they are all worthy and make for a fascinating if tactical conundrum. William Buick and Frankie Dettori will have to ponder how they play the hands of their Aug. 20 G3 Solario S. winner Silver Knott (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) and Aug. 17 G3 Acomb S. scorer Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}) respectively, but the latter looked s strong stayer at this seven-furlong trip at York so expect the Juddmonte silks to be there to be shot at. There is also a heady clash just over an hour later between Middleham Park Racing's Aug. 19 G1 Nunthorpe S. runner-up The Platinum Queen (Ire) (Cotai Glory {GB}) and Rockcliffe Stud's July 27 G3 Molecomb S. scorer Trillium (GB) (No Nay Never) in the rescheduled five-furlong G2 Wainwright Flying Childers S. The third of Doncaster's Group 2s, the Cazoo Park S., features Marc Chan's accomplished 'TDN Rising Star' Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}) with that man Frankie again, flying dismount at the ready.


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