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.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Caption competition
Caption competition
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: Embedded Linux Engineer - C / C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A well funded smart home compan...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - Python / Node / C / Go

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: *Flexible working in a relaxed ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This accountancy firm have an e...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Developer / Mobile Apps / Java / C# / HTML 5 / JS

£17000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Mobile Application Devel...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?