Juddmonte gems and Gosden goodies on offer as Autumn HIT rolls on
Juddmonte Farms have 28 lots catalogued in this year’s sale (prior to withdrawals), a number of which catch the eye, while John Gosden has enjoyed another career-defining year on the racecourse and a selection of interesting three-year-olds trained from his Clarehaven Stables are set to be offered under the banner of The Castlebridge Consignment tomorrow.
As was the case in the yearling market, whereby the top-end of the sale continued to prove buoyant amidst broader concerns over the middle-to-lower tiers, the demand for progressive horses-in-training who look capable of making their mark in foreign jurisdictions ought to remain strong this week, particularly in a catalogue whereby such types are relatively few and far between.
Lot 1049: Argentello (3 c Intello ex Evita by Selkirk) – Consigned by The Castlebridge Consignment
A progressive colt who has been beautifully placed by his trainer John Gosden, Argentello elevated his career record to four wins from nine starts when making light work of a competitive-looking Kempton handicap (1m) on his penultimate outing earlier in the month, travelling like much the best horse in the race before lengthening clear in the closing stages. Returned to the track just four days later, he was far from disgraced when finishing ninth in the red-hot Balmoral Handicap (1m) at Ascot on British Champions Day, racing without cover from a high draw in a race whereby the twenty-runner field gravitated towards the far-side rail, while he was probably produced a little too soon by Frankie Dettori and his run just petered out inside the final half-furlong, perhaps reflecting the quick turnaround as well.
Effectively racing from a mark of 104 on that occasion having competed under a 6lb penalty, Argentello looks sure to develop into a stakes-class performer as a four-year-old, while he ought to stay an extra two furlongs next year (tried only once over the trip this season and could never land a blow having been held-up in a messy race). His half-brother, Moohaarib (Oasis Dream), achieved a peak Racing Post Rating of 115 having won the Paradise Stakes (Listed, 1m) at Ascot as a four-year-old and all of these factors combined give Argentello the potential to top the sale.
Lot 1051: Raa Atoll (3 c Sea The Stars ex Meetyouthere by Sadler’s Wells) – Consigned by The Castlebridge Consignment
A below-par run in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (Gr 2, 1m4f) at Newmarket in July and a subsequent 16-week absence leaves a question mark hanging over the soundness of this colt, but his earlier promise was too good to ignore having made excellent strides in four previous outings. A winner of a Nottingham novice (1m2f) in good style on his second start in May, he recorded a lofty RPR of 100 for the level when defying a penalty in similar company at Leicester (1m4f) later in the month, the greater emphasis on stamina playing nicely to his strengths as he stayed on stoutly inside the final quarter mile.
Elevated into Pattern company for the King Edward VII Stakes (Gr 2, 1m4f) on his next start, he ran a creditable race to finish fourth, beaten two and three-quarter lengths, particularly as he still showed signs of his immaturity, while he wasn’t persevered with to any rigorous level having been hampered by the winner, the now 117-rated Old Persian (Dubawi), approaching the final furlong. Both the runner-up and the third have proved progressive since, giving this piece of form a solid overall look, and given he shapes like he still stay two miles in time, Raa Atoll leaves the impression the best is still very much left to come from him.
Lot 1061: Knight Errant (3 c So You Think ex Lamanka Lass by Woodman) – Consigned by Phantom House Stables (W. Jarvis)
A son of the exceptional So You Think (High Chaparral), this colt has proven a revelation since being switched to handicap company in mid-June, winning four of his six starts in this sphere while having legitimate excuses for his two defeats in the meantime, running in a warm race at Newmarket (1m2f) in June where he appeared to do too much too soon, while he looked unsuited by the testing ground at Goodwood (1m2f) on his penultimate outing.
His latest victory at Sandown (1m2f) was a clear career best, accounting for the progressive Whitlock (Dutch Art) by three-quarters of a length with the pair pulling five lengths clear of the remainder, and his strength at the finish suggests an extra two furlongs ought to be within reach at some stage further down the line.
That was his first start without a visor since he started his winning, but it would be difficult to fault his attitude despite a slightly disorganised head carriage, and it remains to be seen where his limitations lie, with his official rating now a quite lenient-looking mark of 89.
Lot 1098: Breath Caught (3 c Bated Breath ex Double Crossed by Caerleon) – Consigned by Juddmonte Farms
A half-brother to dual Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 1m2f) winner Twice Over (Observatory), Breath Caught has won three of his nine starts, recording a career-best performance when showing the benefit of a 68-day break to make all at Kempton (1m3f) on his penultimate outing in September.
Stepped up in class and asked to tackle an extra furlong in the Old Rowley Cup (1m4f) at Newmarket last month, he was far from disgraced in finishing fifth, particularly as he was racing from 3lb wrong at the weights under a 6lb penalty for his earlier success, while this was a significantly deeper contest as well. Still an entire, Breath Caught has the makings of a horse who would improve for being gelded and he remains with potential over middle-distances as a four-year-old.
Lot 1114: Midi (3 c Frankel ex Midday by Oasis Dream) – Consigned by Juddmonte Farms
A colt who boasts a pedigree without equal in the context of this catalogue, Midi is the Frankel (Galileo) third foal out of the exceptional Midday (Oasis Dream), which makes him a three-parts relation to the very useful Midterm (Galileo), who achieved a peak RPR of 114 in Europe when trained by Sir Michael Stoute, while he has since graced the racecourse on five occasions for Liam Howley in Australia. Midi has run five times to date, showing the benefit of wind surgery following his sole start at two to win a brace of novice contests at Windsor and Newcastle in August, while he possibly found the ground a little lively at Ascot (1m4f) in September, for all he looked unsuited by testing conditions at Goodwood (1m4f) the following month. A candidate to be gelded (despite the sacrilegious nature of that comment given his breeding), Midi ought to be capable of better as a four-year-old given how this family continues to improve with maturity and racing.
Pre-race nonsense marred wonderful Winx spectacle
Finally, Winx (Street Cry) was imperious in the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) on Saturday and her two-length success over Benbatl (Dubawi) was a wonderful spectacle in the context of global sport.
However, the pre-race build-up became marred by what was largely unsubstantiated waffle from one particular party and it will be a tiresome rigmarole if racing fans are subjected to such an arduous experience every time a headline-grabbing act is set to line-up. Please, no more.