Whatever is the world coming to? So-called sales races - contests with inflated purses designed to promote yearling auctions - are part of the modern marketing idiom but are a concern to some because of their worth, which is way in excess of their perceived importance on the hierarchical ladder.
This could be construed as not only unduly rewarding inferior ability but also as a threat to the integrity of the Pattern system, which relies on the best horses being aimed at the best races. But there is nothing to say a horse cannot play in both arenas.
Flashy Wings lost her unbeaten record at Newbury 12 days ago when her connections, Mick Channon and Jaber Abdullah, took a chance at the £142,700 pot on offer and saw her beaten a neck by Expensive, whose stablemate Wake Up Maggie earned her place in today's élite field by winning £104,255 at the Curragh.
Wake Up Maggie, whose homework this week suggests she has thrown off a recent infection, is regarded as better than Expensive at home in Chris Wall's Newmarket yard, and she will probably need to be.
Flashy Wings can justifiably be considered unlucky to be beaten at Newbury; she went clear of a big field with consummate ease but was racing on her own in the closing stages with nothing to egg her on and was rather mugged by the winner, who finished wide of her, out of eyeshot.
But then, Wake Up Maggie had to cope with a similar scenario in Ireland, and did so. After the field split she was clear of her group from a furlong out and kept going strongly to hold the colt Cool Creek, subsequent winner of a Group Two contest. The Irish form was given a further solid look when third-placed Ugo Fire beat all bar Rumplstiltskin in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Flashy Wings' participation today depends on underfoot conditions; she favours fast ground and although drying winds and bright sun were prevalent in Newmarket yesterday, rain was forecast overnight.
The season's star young filly may well bounce back, but she will be short enough odds to do so and she has been on the go since April. It is now late September and Wake Up Maggie (2.10) may have something to say to her. The other one to note is Irish raider Modeeroch, dropping back in trip.
The Cheveley Park stakes victrix will earn £104,806, Group One prestige and high ranking in the betting for next year's 1,000 Guineas. The winner of today's WSR will take home £125,300, the carrot designed to lure clients to the Tattersalls October Sales.
Given her stable's record in such races Foxysox cannot be left out of calculations but preference is for tough Dont Dili Dali, third to Expensive and Flashy Wings at Newbury, and the progressive Murfreesboro (1.40), well-enough regarded to hold a Dewhurst Stakes entry.
The most recent Cheveley Park Stakes winner to go on to Guineas glory was Sayyedati 13 years ago, but since then placees to prove themselves at the top level include Harayir, Cape Verdi, Russian Rhythm, Crimplene and Sophisticat.
The week's brother race, the Middle Park Stakes, has a less glittering recent record in Classic terms but often spotlights a high-class sprinter, like the 2002 victor Oasis Dream. Nine will go to post for tomorrow's renewal, including a pair from Ballydoyle, Art Museum and Ivan Denisovich.
Fifteen remained in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe after yesterday's forfeit stage. All the principals, including a sextet from Britain (Alkaased, Cherry Mix, Motivator, Mubtaker, Norse Dancer and Warrsan) remain in contention.
Nap: Tara Too
NB: West Of Amarillo
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