Lad ready to show he has Middle class values

Newmarket Cambridgeshire Meeting: Progressive two-year-old colt can enhance his 2001 Classic claims in Group One test

When a race is as venerable as the Middle Park Stakes, which was first run in 1866 and was for many years the most important two-year-old race of the season, it should be forgiven the occasional run of less than illustrious winners. For most of the last decade, in fact ever since Rodrigo De Triano, the subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner, triumphed in 1991, the Middle Park has produced colts who, like one-hit wonders in the pop charts, have disappeared back into obscurity at an indecent speed. First Trump, Fard and Hayil are now jostling for room in the same Where-Are-They-Now? file as Right Said Fred and Billy Ray Cyrus.

When a race is as venerable as the Middle Park Stakes, which was first run in 1866 and was for many years the most important two-year-old race of the season, it should be forgiven the occasional run of less than illustrious winners. For most of the last decade, in fact ever since Rodrigo De Triano, the subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner, triumphed in 1991, the Middle Park has produced colts who, like one-hit wonders in the pop charts, have disappeared back into obscurity at an indecent speed. First Trump, Fard and Hayil are now jostling for room in the same Where-Are-They-Now? file as Right Said Fred and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Yet quality is permanent, and this afternoon's renewal of the Middle Park promises to be the strongest for 10 years. This year's field includes two runners - Minardi and Bad As I Wanna Be - with a Group One to their credit already. Two more, Endless Summer (Richmond Stakes) and Bannister (Gimcrack Stakes), have won a Group Two, while Pomfret Boy was just a short-head away from victory in the Mill Reef Stakes, and his owner has paid £12,000 to supplement him into the race.

From a punter's point of view, the Middle Park will be 70 seconds of immensely informative racing. In January and February, when Flat-racing die-hards try to sort out the 2001 Classics, this race will probably be one of the first to consider. But that does not make the contest itself an appealing one for backers in the betting shops this morning. How can you judge the merit of Minardi's five-length romp in the Independent Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes at Leopardstown against Bad As I Wanna Be's six-length margin in the Prix Morny at Deauville? Or take into account the improvement or shifts in form that could appear on today's ground at Newmarket as opposed to the mud in France last month?

If any colt today has something to prove it is Bad As I Wanna Be, for all that he won the Morny by six lengths. On paper it was an extraordinary performance, but before Brian Meehan's colt had been hosed down, the cynics were pointing out that he raced alone up the rail, while his rivals toiled up the middle on what seemed to be even more desperate ground. Endless Summer was the runner-up that day, and if nothing else, this race should prove whether Bad As I Wanna Be was flattered at Deauville. His subsequent last of four to Tobougg in the Prix de la Salamandre suggests he was.

As far as immediate betting goes, it may be that Minardi's victory at Leopardstown, which looks even better now that Superstar Leo has franked the form in the Flying Childers at Doncaster, will prove to be the best on offer. But his odds will be way too short to offer any sort of value, and a decent each-way alternative is Pomfret Boy (3.10), who was unlucky in the Mill Reef, when he ran a little freely early on.

The supporting card at Newmarket today is also strong, but with the ground easing, the immense fields of autumn are starting to arrive, and there are plenty of names and possibilities to sift through. Muja Farewell (2.05) may be worth chancing in the nursery, having been drawn a little too wide last time out to use the front-running tactics which had proved successful previously. Swallow Flight, meanwhile, is the clear form pick in the Joel Stakes, but looked as if a long season, which started on the very first day of the turf at Doncaster in March, was starting to tell when he could finish only fourth to Distant Music last time.

EL GRAN PAPA (nap 2.35), by contrast, is still progressing and should have the measure of Swallow Flight today, while Ivory's Joy (next best 3.40), another who has done nothing but improve this year having started the campaign on a rating of just 82 (she is now 30lb higher) can step up once again in the Rous Stakes.

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor