Middle Park Stakes – Our 1-2-3 Verdict For Saturday’s Big Group 1 At Newmarket

Eight of the top juvenile colts across the UK & Ireland will go to post on Saturday in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Perfect Power won the race last year, before following up in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot this year. Can we see another star come out of this race?

Find out who we’re siding with in our 1-2-3 prediction for the race ↓

1st – Blackbeard (11/4)

A P O’Brien looks to have another star on his hands with BLACKBEARD after he won the Prix Morny and he has an excellent chance of following up in this. 

Interestingly, five of the last twelve winners of this had their last run in the Prix Morny, which bodes well for the selections chances. Although, two other horses in here also ran in that race – Persian Force and The Antarctic. But, Blackbeard got the better of both of those in France and we see no reason why that form should reverse here.

Before that, he was a comfortable three length winner over The Antarctic in the G2 Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly, kicking clear in the final stages to win going away. He was just caught by Shartash in the G2 Railway Stakes, but the winner has boosted that form by finishing third in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, and arguably would’ve won had he had a clearer run in the final stages.

This will be his toughest test to date, but he’s been so impressive in those two runs in France, and his prominent running style can see him land a Group 1 win at the first time of asking.

2nd – Marshman (5/2)

Favourites have a fantastic recent record in the race, winning three of the last four renewals, and MARSHMAN looks set to go off as market leader here. However, he lose his unbeaten record when runner-up in the Gimcrack and he might find one too good again here. 

Not many horses win a 6f race by as big a distance as he did at Thirsk last month, where he bolted up to win by over eight lengths. That was a monstrous performance and he was highly fancied to follow up in the Gimcrack. However, he ran green in the final furlong and was eventually caught by Noble Style. That was still a solid performance however, and although stepping up to Group 1 company he is sure to be in the mix when it matters.

However, Blackbeard has far more experience and that may be enough to see the A P O’Brien runner come out on top in this. Marshman is a top class colt though, and will probably be the one to follow him home.

3rd – Persian Force (11/2)

PERSIAN FORCE was no match for Blackbeard when runner-up in the Prix Morny, and he may have to settle for a placed finish again in this. He’s often found one too good this season and it may be a case he finds a couple too strong here. 

Only three horses have finished ahead of him in his five races over this trip:

  • Bradsell
  • Little Big Bear
  • Blackbeard

Two of those were in Group 1’s, so he has already shown he has what it takes to mix with the big boys. He stayed on well to finish second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, before finding Little Big Bear too good in the Phoenix Stakes. He may have finished seven lengths behind the winner that day, but he was still ahead of Shartash and Bradsell in that, so that was clearly an improved performance. He was only half a length behind Blackbeard in the Prix Morny, which showed he seems to be getting better with each run. 

Unfortunately for him, the same can be said of Blackbeard, and he may find that rival too strong again. It was a tough call between Marshman and Persian Force for runner-up spot in this, but the fact Persian Force has been beaten in three of his last four was enough to suggest Marshman will just edge that runner-up spot and Richard Hannon’s colt may have to settle for the final place.


1st – Blackbeard

2nd – Marshman

3rd – Persian Force

*Odds Correct At Time Of Posting – 3:40pm Friday 23rd September*