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2019 Middle Park Stakes verdict - Who will prevail in 'race of the season' at Newmarket?

Ten Sovereigns winning last year's Middle Park.

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

Since its creation in 1866, the Middle Park Stakes has consistently provided future stars of the sport with a platform to showcase their talents. Donovan and Orme won the Middle Park during the 1800s and they have since been following into the winners’ enclosure by modern greats like Pretty Polly, Sun Chariot and Brigadier Gerard.

Punters had their fingers crossed on Thursday, as they nervously awaited the final declarations for Saturday's race. Thankfully, all of the big names were confirmed, leaving flat racing fans eagerly anticipating one of the races of the season so far.

Two Group One winners will clash on the Rowley Mile, as Earthlight (2/1 Unibet) and Siskin (9/2 Ladbrokes) put their unbeaten records on the line. Aidan O’Brien will throw two of his top colts into the mix, with both Monarch Of Egypt (9/1 William Hill) and Lope Y Fernandez (14/1 Ladbrokes) fancied in some circles. 

Richard Hannon will also have his hands full saddling a couple of runners before the off, with dual-Group Two winner, Threat (11/1 Unibet) joining the exciting Mums Tipple (5/2 William Hill) in Saturday’s field. There’s then a sizeable gap in the betting until we reach Clive Cox’s Golden Horde (22/1 Unibet). The third Ballydoyle runner, King Neptune (100/1 Ladbrokes) and Richard Fahey’s Summer Sands (100/1 Unibet) round off the nine-strong field for Saturday’s Middle Park.

Trying to figure out which of these talented colts will come out on top is an increasingly difficult task. The best way to go about it could be to sift through the list of runners, ruling each out one at a time, until just one contender remains. So, the first runner I’m going to put a line through is Mums Tipple.

Richard Hannon’s colt is unbeaten in two starts and received an astronomical rating at York, as he trounced his rivals in the Premier Yearling Stakes by ten lengths. While the form of his debut victory is working out quite well, that Yearling Stakes doesn’t look particularly strong. There have been very few winners of the Middle Park who have gone into it on the back of a run in non-pattern race and even less who’ve won it on just their third career start. This is a big leap in quality to anything Mums Tipple has experienced and I fear he’ll be found out on the big stage.

The Dewhurst had been identified as the target for Threat at the start of the season, but the fear-factor surrounding Pinatubo has forced Cheveley Park Stud into rerouting their colt to the Middle Park. Threat did extremely well to carry his penalty to victory in the Champagne Stakes at York, taking to seven furlongs very nicely. I’m not sure dropping back in trip is the best thing for Threat’s development and he could struggle for finishing pace in the final furlong.

Monarch Of Egypt is clearly a progressive young horse who cannot be discounted. However, he’s twice been beaten by Siskin on home soil this term and suffered a minor set-back earlier in the campaign, which could have stunted his development. He will be a better horse when he’s stepped up in distance during 2020.

Lope Y Fernandez has twice lost out to Pinatubo this term, but looked much more comfortable back over six furlongs when winning the Round Tower Stakes. Aidan O’Brien’s last two winners of that Group Three, US Navy Flag and Ten Sovereigns both scored in the Middle Park on their following outing and I feel Lope Y Fernandez has been a little overlooked in the betting.

As has Golden Horde, who saw off Threat over this trip in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Clive Cox’s youngster then ran a cracking race to finish third behind Earthlight in a red-hot renewal of the Prix Morny over in Deauville and it’s quite surprising to see the disparity between himself and Threat in the current betting.
While both offer each-way appeal – more so Golden Horde than Lope Y Fernandez - I’d rather side with one of the two Group One winners, as each look to extended their unbeaten records into a fifth race.

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 at the Curragh, 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 rain-sodden ground and I think EARTHLIGHT could take all the beating when he makes his British debut on Saturday.

Not only has Earthlight beaten the best France has to offer, but he’s defeated 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 Prix 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, 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 poise and pace for his European rivals once again.

I can’t wait to see Earthlight strut his stuff on the Rowley Mile and he looks to be the strongest bet in this thrilling renewal of the Middle Park Stakes.

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2019 Middle Park Stakes verdict - Who will prevail in "race of the season" at Newmarket?

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

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