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2019 Middle Park Stakes tips – French star to Light up Newmarket with Group One triumph

A view of the runners in last year's Middle Park Stakes.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for this historic Group One and provides readers with his tips for Newmarket.

While the namesake race of the Festival it headlines, the Cambridgeshire Handicap is the biggest betting race on the day at Newmarket, the most prestigious prize will be handed out in the previous race, as a field containing some of the finest two-year-old’s in the business do battle in the Middle Park Stakes.

Since it’s creation in 1866, the Middle Park Stakes has consistently showcased future stars of the sport. Greats like Donovan and Orme won the Middle Park during the 1800s and they have since been following into the winners’ enclosure by the likes of Pretty Polly, Sun Chariot and Brigadier Gerard.

Excitement swept through the flat racing world when the list of entries for this year’s Middle Park Stakes was unveiled. 2019’s superstar colt, Pinatubo may not be present at Newmarket that day, but punters will still watch two Group One winners take on a handful of improving sorts.

At the top of the market we find Earthlight (7/4 Unibet), who has clocked up four straight victories since making his debut in the middle of June. Andre Fabre started his colt off over five-and-a-half-furlongs, after which Earthlight secured two straight wins over six-furlongs, the second of those being a superb victory in the Prix de Cabourg.

Earthlight then took on five of Europe’s leading two-year-olds in a thrilling renewal of the Prix Morny. The heavy ground probably went against everyone that day, but Earthlight still managed to get the job done, reeling in the game Raffle Prize to secure a maiden Group One victory.
Siskin (4/1 Ladbrokes) is the other entrant to have secured top honours this season, holding on under pressure from Monarch Of Egypt (8/1 Coral) to secure a narrow victory in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes. Like Earthlight, Ger Lyon’s colt is unbeaten in four career starts to date, following a maiden victory with a comfortable Listed success, before a superb triumph in the Railway Stakes.

Monarch Of Egpyt was brushed firmly aside in the Railway Stakes as Siskin stormed to a three-length victory. The gap between the two was much shorter in the Phoenix Stakes, where the soft ground dampened Siskin’s superior turn of foot, but the favourite was still strong enough to hold off his rival and extend his unbeaten record.

Sitting between the two Group One winners in the betting is Mum’s Tipple (5/2 Coral), who made a lasting impression when hacking up in the Two-Year-Old Stakes at York. Richard Hannon’s charge went into that lucrative conditions race as the favourite, having won nicely on debut at Ascot. What followed was nothing short of a procession, as Mum’s Tipple bolted clear to win by ten lengths, thrusting himself firmly into the discussion for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

Aidan O’Brien has won the previous two editions of the Middle Park, with both US Navy Flag and Ten Sovereigns following up wins in the Round Tower Stakes by claiming victory on the Rowley Mile. After twice losing out to Pinatubo over seven furlongs, Lope Y Fernandez (12/1 Unibet) dropped back in trip to win that Group Three at the Curragh and he’s sure to give a good account of himself as he bids to make it three in a row for Ballydoyle.
I'm quite surprised to see Monarch Of Egypt feature in the final field. Being by US racing legend, American Pharaoh, you'd think trips beyond sprinting distances would be his cup of tea. He's twice lost out to Siskin over this distance this season and, with the ground likely to remain good, I don't see why he would have progressed beyond the big guns.

Another surprise inclusion is Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes winner, Threat (14/1 Paddy Power). Hannon had stated the decision on whether the two bunk-mates would clash would be in the hands of their respective owners. However, he’s also said on several occasions that the team have been building back from the Dewhurst, so to see Threat dropped back in distance, after taking to seven furlongs well at York, is surprising and I think he could struggle a little for finishing pace.

Mum’s Tipple proved he was head-and-shoulders clear of her rivals at York and certainly looks a Group horse in the making. This, however, is a steep step up in quality compared to that conditions race and Mum’s Tipple still has something to prove in this sort of company.

At 12/1, Lope Y Fernandez is a very good each-way bet. As is Golden Horde (20/1 Ladbrokes), who ran well to place third in the Prix Morny after defeating Threat at Glorious Goodwood, who has been massively overlooked at a much longer price. I, however, would rather hang my hat on one of the proven Group One winners.

Ger Lyon’s identified this race as the target for Siskin after the Phoenix Stakes and I don’t think he’ll have any problems dealing with the challenges posed by the Rowley Mile. However, considering how workmanlike his victory was on soft ground last time out, the weather forecast won’t fill Lyons and his team with much joy.

Andre Fabre, on the other hand, will be licking his lips at the prospect of soft ground and I think EARTHLIGHT could take all the beating when he makes his British debut in the Middle Park Stakes.

Not only has he beaten the best France has to offer, but Earthlight has triumphed over Group Two winners from Ascot, Goodwood and the July Festival too. The way Earthlight quickened away from some decent rivals in the Prix de Cabourg was visually very impressive and he proved he had plenty of grit and determination to go with the swagger when seeing off Raffle Prize in the Morny.  

It’s been 20 years since Andre Fabre won the Middle Park Stakes. Lycius and Zieten claimed victory on the Rowley Mile in 1990 and ’92 respectively, and neither boasted the form Earthlight brings to Newmarket. Fabre hasn’t sent a runner to the Middle Park since Zieten’s triumph, so there must be little doubt in his mind that Earthlight will not only deal with the Rowley Mile, but that this son of Shamaradal will have too much pace and quality for his European rivals once again.

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2019 Middle Park Stakes tips – French star to Light up Newmarket with Group One triumph

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for this historic Group One and provides readers with his tips for Newmarket on Saturday 28th September

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