Super Saturday On Tap

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Space Blues runs in Saturday's City Of York S. | Coady Photography/VidHorse

As York's Ebor festival draws to a close, with the ever-popular £500,000 handicap after which it is named the feature event on the Knavesmire, Saturday has something for every angle with abundant pattern-race action across three countries thrown into the bargain. While the 22-strong field assembled for the extended 15-furlong Ebor headed by the May 27 G3 Brigadier Gerard S. and July 2 Listed Gala S.-winning veteran Euchen Glen (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) offers a punting puzzle in Europe's version of the Melbourne Cup, the purists can revel in a string of group races from early afternoon into the evening. It all begins at Deauville with the G2 Prix du Calvados and culminates five hours later with The Curragh's G2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity S., which often act as early sighters for next year's monuments.

In the Futurity, Aidan O'Brien looks to extend his current tally of 13 winners of the seven-furlong Classic pointer with 'TDN Rising Star' Point Lonsdale (Ire) (Australia {GB}), who has followed the “Churchill” path of Listed Chesham S. and G3 Tyros S. so far. Overcoming heavy ground to deny Reach For the Moon (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) in the former test at Royal Ascot June 19, the full-brother to Broome (Ire) returned to Ireland to subject the re-opposing Maritime Wings (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) to a three-length beating in Leopardstown's Tyros July 22. Others to complete the Tyros-Futurity double in recent times include the stable's subsequent luminaries Gleneagles (Ire) and Cape Blanco (Ire) and the Bolger pair New Approach (Ire) and Teofilo (Ire), so Point Lonsdale is in hallowed territory.

Talk of the 2022 Guineas should also accompany the outcome of Sandown's G3 Betway Solario S., where the aformentioned Chesham runner-up Reach For the Moon will head to post for the seven-furlong staging post as favourite having opened his account by four lengths from the subsequent York nursery winner Harrow (Ire) (El Kabeir) in a Newbury novice July 16. John Gosden, whose five past winners include Raven's Pass, Kingman (GB) and Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), is one off equalling the record of the Late Sir Henry Cecil and it is significant that he has brought The Queen's juvenile to this particular race. “I've been pleased with his preparation and it is always a race that I like to target,” Gosden Sr said. “It is a big step up in class for him, but hopefully he can handle it. The horse that was second to him last time won at York on Thursday and that all helps. He is progressive at this stage of his career, but he is still a very young horse and this is another stepping stone. He is a nice-looking individual that has made a good start to his career. I thought he quickened well at Newbury and I thought both divisions of the race that day were good.”

Based on how well the Andrew Balding 2-year-olds have fared so far this term, the July 16 Newmarket novice winner Star From Afarhh (GB) (Farhh {GB}) is worthy of respect along with Manton Park Racing's impressive Leicester novice debut scorer Cresta (Fr) (New Bay {GB}). Balding said of the former, “It is a little bit difficult to know what she beat, but there has already been a couple of winners come out of that race so the form is working out reasonably well. She is taking on the colts this time, but she is a filly that has been working well and the seven furlongs at Sandown should suit her. She was very professional and did it well at Newmarket and her homework has improved.”

Trainer Martyn Meade's son Freddie said of Cresta, “We always thought a bit of the horse, but he has taken time to come to hand. In the last couple of weeks before his run, he showed us some good things and we were pleased with the way he did it at Leicester although he did quite a few things the wrong way round. He was slow away and he raced alone in the middle of the track, but the times looked good and he did it nicely. We thought it was worth throwing him in the deep end and see where we go. He probably wants a mile in time, but a stiff seven should be ideal now. Fingers crossed he runs well.”

York's action gets underway with the near-nine-furlong G3 Sky Bet and Symphony Group Strensall S., where Godolphin's June 16 Royal Hunt Cup and July 17 Listed Steventon S. winner Real World (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) re-appears having missed the G3 Rose of Lancaster S. due to testing ground. “The ground went against him at Haydock so we took him out, but it will be much more like what he likes at York,” Saeed bin Suroor said. “This race looks suitable for him.” He gets three pounds from the Apr. 14 G3 Earl of Sefton S. winner and May 30 G1 Prix d'Ispahan third My Oberon (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who has enjoyed a break since his fourth in the G1 Prince of Wales's S. at Royal Ascot June 16. “It's a competitive race and he's got a penalty, but he's really well and he's freshened up and he goes especially well fresh, so we're hoping for the best,” trainer William Haggas said of the Tsui family's representative.

Godolphin also hold strong claims in the seven-furlong G2 Sky Bet City of York S., with 'TDN Rising Star' Space Blues (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) sure to be sharper for his European return when fourth in Goodwood's G2 Lennox S. that he won when in a rich vein of form last summer. Charlie Appleby is giving positive vibes about the 2020 G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest hero. “We were pleased with Space Blues at Goodwood on ground that was plenty soft enough for his first start in a while,” he said. “He has got form on slow ground, but it was on the quick side of good when he won in Saudi Arabia and he handled that well. He has definitely come forward for the Lennox S. and should be very competitive.”

Back at the track at which she was the impressive winner of the Listed Michael Seely Memorial S. over a mile May 14, David Ward's supplemented Primo Bacio (Ire) (Awtaad {Ire}) is out quickly following her run in Deauville's G1 Prix Rothschild on unsuitably soft ground Aug. 3. Beaten under two lengths when seventh there, the bay represents the red-hot form of the G1 Falmouth S. in which she was beaten around the same margin in fifth at Newmarket July 9. “I certainly felt after Deauville that while the ground was soft and she didn't get a clear run, I just wasn't adamant she truly saw out the mile there,” trainer Ed Walker commented. “The obvious seven-furlong race for her was the [G3] Sceptre S. at Doncaster next month, but we just said the ground might turn soft again so why not strike while the iron is hot? It's a very competitive race, as you would expect for a Group 2 and she's taking on older horses and colts, so it's a big step up in terms of opposition. That said, I think she's well up to it.”

Back at Sandown, the G3 Betway Atalanta S. sees 'TDN Rising Star' Indigo Girl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) bid to build on her comeback fourth in Ascot's G3 Valiant S. over this mile trip July 23. George Strawbridge's G2 May Hill S. winner and G1 Fillies' Mile runner-up is only beginning to build back to a peak and John Gosden is expecting improvement. “She has had a series of niggles that have held her back, so hopefully she will come forward for her first run,” he said. “She over-raced a little bit and she didn't end up seeing it out. She is a strong-willed filly and as long as she puts her best foot forward she has got the ability.” The homebred full-sister to Journey (GB) meets the May 2 G1 1000 Guineas runner-up Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) and Cheveley Park Stud's well-regarded Potapova (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who was ninth when thrown in at the deep end in the G1 Coronation S. staged on deep ground at Royal Ascot June 18. Jane Chapple-Hyam said of Saffron Beach, “She scoped dirty after the Falmouth, but she has had a course of antibiotics. We re-scoped her after that and she was clear and she has been clear ever since. I'm happy with the way she has trained and I can't fault her. I think she will love the stiff finish there.”

Deauville's card includes four black-type events, of which the aforementioned Prix du Calvados for juvenile fillies over seven furlongs features a customary strong British presence. Shaikh Nasser Al Khalifa and Fawzi Nass's impressive Aug. 2 Kempton novice winner Fast Attack (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) hails from the Simon and Ed Crisford stable and meets Nick Bradley Racing's course-and-distance G3 Prix Six Perfections scorer Oscula (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}). British interests are prevalent also in the 10-furlong G2 Prix de la Nonette, where Shadwell's June 25 G3 Hoppings Fillies' S. winner and July 29 G1 Nassau S. runner-up Zeyaadah (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) sets the standard. She takes on some progressive home-trained fillies in Prince Faisal's July 18 G3 Prix Chloe winner Noticeable Grace (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}), Daniel-Yves Treves's Aug. 3 G3 Prix de Psyche scorer Penja (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) and Haras Voltaire's July 14 G2 Prix de Malleret winner Babylone (Fr) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}).

Before the Futurity closes out the black-type fest, The Curragh also stages the G2 Alpha Centauri Debutante S. for the fillies with Classic aspirations. Scott Heider's recent acquisition Agartha (Ire) (Caravaggio) bids to follow up her surprise win in Leopardstown's G3 Silver Flash S. over this seven-furlong trip July 22, where Simon Munir and Isaac Souede's subsequent Listed Churchill S.-winning fellow Joseph O'Brien trainee Seisai (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) was back in third. As always, there are some potential class acts lurking including the Niarchos Family's Discoveries (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), the full-sister to the star performer after which this renewal is named. Also trained by Jessie Harrington, the homebred showed battling qualities to break her maiden over this course and distance June 25 as the re-opposing Syndicates Racing and Medallion Racing's Mise Le Meas (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) was third. That Johnny Murtagh trainee has since opened her account over this trip at Gowran Park July 24, while of Ballydoyle's blue-blooded duo Twinkle (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Concert Hall (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) Ryan Moore has opted for the latter who also has a win over this track and trip July 18.

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