Timeform’s Jake Pearson highlights five exciting prospects to keep an eye on this week.
Qaader (Timeform rating: 100p) looked a smart prospect when overcoming inexperience to make a smooth winning debut at Newbury last month, and he confirmed the promise of that effort when runner-up in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot just eight days later. That may not have been the strongest renewal of the Coventry, but it is obviously still early days with Mark Johnston’s charge and he remains with potential for better still.
A race that is traditionally a prelude to the Derby will now take place just under a week after the Epsom showpiece, and the one who takes the eye is the unbeaten Frankel colt Highest Ground (113p). Sir Michael Stoute’s charge looked something out of the ordinary when making a winning debut at Leicester in September, giving a headstart to the entire field but still able to win in clear-cut fashion. He built on that positive impression at Haydock, doing well to concede race fitness and experience to a useful rival, readily drawing clear in the final furlong. He is certainly an exciting prospect, capable of much better, and this could be a good opportunity for him to claim his first victory at Group level.
Terebellum (124) didn’t make it to the course as a juvenile, but she quickly made up for lost time last season, winning in Group 2 company on just her third start, before running to a similar level when fifth in the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on her final outing of the campaign. She registered a smooth success in the Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket on her reappearance, impressing with how readily she put the race to bed, and she improved a chunk when dropped to a mile in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot last time, finishing a narrow runner-up to the gutsy Circus Maximus. She is a very smart filly with the potential to do better still – that was only her sixth race – and it seems just a matter of time before she opens her account at the highest level.
The Superlative Stakes has hardly been a stepping stone to the top table in recent years, with 2018 winner Quorto the only horse since Olympic Glory in 2012 to go on to Group 1 success, but Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground (105p) looks to have all the attributes to buck that trend. Bred in the purple, by War Front and out of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Found, Battleground caught the eye when fifth on his debut at Naas, and, upped to seven furlongs, he showed much-improved form to get off the mark in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. Recent winners of the Chesham include the likes of Pinatubo and Churchill, with subsequent Derby winner Masar also placed in 2017, and Battleground certainly has the profile, and the pedigree, to potentially go to the very top himself.
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Golden Horde (124) progressed well last season, winning twice, including the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. He returned to action in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last month and showed improved form to become Clive Cox’s first Group 1 winner since Harry Angel landed the 2017 Sprint Cup. It’s not hard to imagine Golden Horde ending up somewhere close to Harry Angel (132) on ratings given the way he’s going, the time figure achieved in the Commonwealth Cup suggesting it was a clear career-best after nine months off. His style should be well suited by the demands of the July Cup.
- Qaader – July Stakes, Newmarket, Thursday (15:00)
- Highest Ground – Dante Stakes, York, Thursday (15:15)
- Terebellum – Falmouth Stakes, Newmarket, Friday (16:10)
- Battleground – Superlative Stakes, Newmarket, Saturday (15:00)
- Golden Horde – July Cup, Newmarket, Saturday (15:35)
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