One of the leading fancies for next week's Nunthorpe Stakes, Bated Breath, is at risk of missing the York's Group One sprint feature after bruising a foot. The progressive four-year-old, who beat all bar Dream Ahead in the July Cup at Newmarket, is 7-1, challenging for third favouritism, in most lists to take the Coolmore-sponsored prize.
But his trainer, Roger Charlton, warned yesterday: "Obviously, there now has to be a doubt about his participation, even though at this stage we are staying hopeful. He has an abscess in his near-fore which has been poulticed and attended to by the blacksmith and the vet. We are hoping to get a shoe back on by Saturday."
One who will definitely not be lining in the Nunthorpe, over the minimum five furlongs, is the Hungarian challenger Overdose, who was scratched yesterday. The six-year-old had also been prominent in the market, a 10-1 shot after his close fourth to Prohibit in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
With Wayne Lordan, in the saddle when Sole Power scored in the Nunthorpe at 100-1 last year, likely to be on Requinto this time, the little-known Keagan Latham, whose victory on the Edward Lynam-trained gelding in the Temple Stakes at Haydock in May was only his third in Britain, will get a first chance of Group One glory. "He's one for one on the horse," said Lynam, "and he gave him an excellent ride that day."
Ten were left in Wednesday's top-level showpiece at York, the Juddmonte International, at yesterday's penultimate stage. The short-priced favourite Await The Dawn (11-10 with Paddy Power) is one of four trained by Aidan O'Brien, who also has Misty For Me and Roderic O'Connor to call on. Second market choice is the top mare Midday at 3-1.
Today marks the anniversary of the running of one of the most significant maiden races of recent years. If only those who had flocked in their disco frocks to see Westlife at one Newmarket's famed Friday music nights had paid more attention to the track, they'd be able to say they'd seen some real stars.
The winner of the mile two-year-old contest on the card was this year's Classic and mile superstar Frankel; the half-length runner-up was Nathaniel, winner of last month's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The race has also produced a subsequent Derby winner in Motivator and tonight 14 well-bred youngsters line up, half of them with future Group One entries and all carrying starry-eyed hopes. Tonight's supporting act is Tom Jones. Who he?
Chris McGrath's Nap
Harvard N Yale (6.35 Newmarket) Looked a future winner when chasing home a well-regarded type on his debut and has done nothing on the Newmarket gallops since to refute that notion.
Gogeo (3.10 Newbury) Put a disappointing effort behind him when he returned to action last week after a 12-week break, finishing full of running after being denied a clear run.
Where the money's going
Tajneed is 6-1 clear favourite for tomorrow's Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon after getting a favourable low draw yesterday.