Middle Park Stakes Preview with Sam Preen
A runner by runner guide to the Middle Park Stakes thanks to Sam Preen.
Highly regarded earlier in the year, having fired off a hat trick, before charging late to nab second to The Wow Signal in Ascot’s Coventry Stakes, his first run in Qatar’s silks. Very disappointing at the Curragh, on good to firm, after being very reluctant to load, but bounced back in the mud when a gallant third to Dick Whittington in the Phoenix Stakes, a horse he’d previously beaten. Won very well under new Qatar number one, Andrea Atzeni, in a Curragh Group 3. Claims if capable of repeating that run.
Useful sort, having just been touched off on his debut at Nottingham, before routing his rivals on Lingfield’s turf course. Followed that up with a comfortable victory in a novice event at Leicester, beating outsider of the lot, Surewecan, by half a length. Sure to improve for that run, but heading into Group 1 company on the worst ground he’s encountered isn’t ideal.
Highly regarded colt by Zebedee. Unbeaten in three runs, winning a Sandown maiden comfortably, before routing his rivals by two and a three quarters lengths at Newmarket. Went off at unbackable odds when smashing his rivals in the Richmond Stakes, but faced his first real test in this.
Typically had a busy season, but has twice finished behind The Wow Signal AND Ivawood this season. Narrowly touched off at York in August, before being no match for runaway frontrunner, Toocoolforschool, at Newbury. Having his eighth start of the season is likely to be one too many, especially at this level.
Useful sort on his day, winning five of his first starts, with a disappointing effort at Ascot in between. Sent off short priced fav when second in the Phoenix Stakes, having being boxed in by Ballydoyle pacemaker I Am Beautiful, with eventual winner Dick Whittington on the right, and was made to work very hard when a gap eventually opened and was soon mown down by Dick Whittington, with Cappella Sansevero back in third, and failed to land a blow when put back into a big field at York when last seen in August.
Finished out of the money only once, when third in a six runner Listed event at Ascot – his first start over 7 furlongs. Dropped back to 6 furlongs to spring a minor upset in the Gimcrack, beating Jungle Cat by a nose, and has been previously third to Ivawood on his first run over this trip, back in July. Softening ground would be ideal, but highly unlikely to reverse form with Ivawood.
Yet to get off the mark, but posted his best effort on his debut in a Cork maiden, over 6 furlongs back in April, before returning last month at the Chrragh. Disappointing in the £500,000 2YO Trophy at Newmarket, and surprisingly lines up here, given his chance. Fitted with blinkers.
Conclusion: A race that largely revolves around the unbeaten Ivawood, who bids to extend the winning run to four. He’s had previous against these, including smashing Jungle Cat twice. This leaves the place market wide open – with Kool Kompanybidding to nab an elusive Group 1,
But MUHAARAR gets the nod. A comfortable winner on his debut on soft, which is likely (not good for War Front offspring The Great War & War Envoy), he followed that up with a fair effort over course and distance, when three and a quarter lengths third to Ivawood, before chasing home Kodi Bear, when upped to 7 furlongs. Won by a narrow margin under a determined ride by Paul Hanagan to touch off Jungle Cat in the Gimcrack, and looks more than capable of running better than his price suggests.
Muhaarar @ 8/1 (Bet365, Boylesports)
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