2022 Feilden Stakes Runner-By-Runner Preview
Thursday’s feature race at Newmarket is the Feilden Stakes, a Listed contest over 1m1f that has been won by some smart sorts down the years, none more so than the exceptional Golden Horn back in 2015. This year’s race has attracted a strong field, and our expert has produced their in-depth preview below, which includes a big race verdict.
1. AUSTRIAN THEORY (Charlie & Mark Johnson, Joe Fanning) 15/2
Plenty of stamina in his pedigree, close relation of former St Leger third Corsica, yet he still managed to land a 7f Doncaster maiden on debut last June. Set some tough assignments afterwards in the likes of the Superlative Stakes (6th) and Vintage Stakes (3rd), before failing to capitalise on a drop-in class when second in a conditions race at Epsom in September. This represents a tougher assignment on reappearance, and just a watching brief is advised.
2. CRESTA (Martyn Meade, Tom Marquand) 5/2
Looked like a potentially smart colt when landing a Leicester novice on debut back in August, and that form has been well advertised since with the runner-up Modern Games landing last season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Produced improved RPR figures despite losing both subsequent starts, seeing Modern Games reverse the form here (was 9lb worse off) before staying on for second in the Horris Hill at Newmarket. Stepping up in trip is a likely plus on that evidence, whilst his yard has already sent out a turf winner this season.
3. DAWN OF LIBERATION (Richard Hannon, Sean Levey) 6/1
Half-brother to the stable’s former Group 1 winning juvenile Toormore, and this colt showcased some useful form himself at two, albeit failing to get off the mark in three outings. Put that right on seasonal reappearance at Doncaster last month, justifying odds of 4/6F under Sean Levey. That didn’t really tell us anything that we didn’t already know, but still good to see him get his head in front and he’ll appreciate this extra yardage, so no forlorn hope for all that improvement is required.
4. EYDON (Roger Varian, David Egan) 16/1
Went into more than a few notebooks when finishing with a wet sail for third on debut at Newcastle in December (runner-up has since franked the form). Sent off the 4/9F to score back at Newcastle last time, but he failed to justify those odds, getting caught in the shadows of the post. Clearly has the ability to win races but this is a tough ask on turf debut coming up against some classy opponents.
5. MASEKELA (Andrew Balding, William Buick) 2/1
Goodwood novice winner and claimed Listed honours in the Denford Stakes at Newbury in August, holding off the challenge of Bayside Boy, who went on to land the Group 2 Champagne Stakes and then finish third in both the Dewhurst and the Vertem Futurity. On his start prior he had got to within a short head of last season’s Champion Juvenile Native Trail in the Superlative Stakes. Disappointed in the Royal Lodge here when last seen, and needs to bounce back from that, but his best form makes him the one to beat.
6. SONNY LISTON (Charles Hills, Marco Ghiani) 7/2
60,000 guineas Lawman yearling who is a half-brother to the classy Group 2 winner Dame Malliot. Sent off an 18/1 shot for a Sandown novice on debut last July, but he belied those odds to run out a comfortable five and a half-length winner. That performance struck as one of an above-average operator, particularly when accounting for him being noisy and coltish in the preliminaries. Falls into the could be anything category at this stage, but it is a slight concern that the horses directly behind him at Sandown are now rated just 78, 72, 78 and 71, whilst this is also a big jump in class.
Big Race Verdict
Sonny Liston falls into the could be anything category at this stage of his career, but the form of his Sandown debut win hasn’t worked out overly well since, and this represents a huge step up in class. Cresta shapes as the type to improve for this additional yardage and certainly shouldn’t be dismissed, but it’s difficult to get away from the claims of MASEKELA, who had some exceptional juvenile form to his name last season which includes a victory over the subsequent dual Group 1 placed Bayside Boy. Masekela is the only horse in training to have got within a length of hot 2000 Guineas’ favourite Native Trail, and if back to that level of form under the man of the moment William Buick he should be more than capable dropped into Listed level.