Saturday’s card at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting may boast the historic Cambridgeshire Handicap as its headline act, but we do also have not one, but two excellent Group 1 contests on the card. The first is the fillies’ Cheveley Park Stakes and the second of which is this event for the juvenile colts, the Middle Park Stakes.
Established over 150 years ago in 1866, this race regularly attracts a number of the most promising youngsters in training, having been landed by talents such as Brigadier Gerard, Oasis Dream and Rodrigo De Triano over the years.
Next Race: Saturday, 26th September 2020
The next race is scheduled to run on 26th September 2020. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 28th September 2019
- Winner: Earthlight
- SP: 11/4
- Trainer: Andre Fabre
- Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
We have a total of £275,000 in prize money up for grabs in this six furlong Group 1 contest, with the ground at the track currently described as good.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||6f||Group 1||£275,000||9 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Middle Park Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2019. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Always a high quality race, the 2019 edition looks to be well up to scratch, with three of the top four in the market for the 2020 2000 Guineas all set to go to post. Will any of them be able to put in a performance to rival that of current juvenile king, Pinatubo?
Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the history of this race with six wins. He sends Monarch Of Egypt, Lope Y Fernandez and King Neptune in pursuit of the prize this year. The Britain-based trainers have held their own in recent years though, with seven wins in the past decade.
This year’s race looks well worth tuning into, with at least three of the runners looking like potential superstars. Overall, we fancy the potent British and Irish challenge may still not be quite strong enough to repel the talented French raider.
It’s been a long time since this prize fell to France, no less than 27 years in fact. The man to claim top spot back in 1992 was French training legend André Fabre, and it is he who sends out the favourite for this year’s renewal, in the shape of his Shamardal colt, Earthlight.
A perfect four from four in his career to date, and already a Group 1 winner having landed the Prix Morny at Deauville last time out, this Godolphin runner may well take some stopping. To beat the talented Queen Mary Stakes winner, Raffle Prize in that Deauville contest, conceding 4lbs, and on ground far softer than ideal was no mean feat, and sees him out on his own at the head of the ratings.
KIN TO WIN
If Ireland are to land the prize this year, then the horse most likely to do it hails not from the yard of Aidan O’Brien, but that of the County Meath-based Ger Lyons. Like Earthlight, the Lyons runner, Siskin, is unbeaten in four career starts headed into this, and also like Earthlight he is already proven in the grade, having mastered the re-opposing Monarch Of Egypt in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last time out.
The bare form of the Irish races does lie a little below that Prix Morny contest to our eyes, but not by much, and it’s hard not to have been impressed by the manner in which Siskin has travelled through his races before quickening up to put the race to bed once asked. He looks well worth his place in the field and shouldn’t be far away.
MUMS THE WORD?
Given the success that Richard Hannon, Jnr. and his father before him have enjoyed with their two year old runners, it is a little surprising to see that neither has as yet managed to win this race. Hannon, Jnr. will be hoping that all changes this year as he sends both Threat and Mums Tipple into battle. Threat is not dismissed lightly, but Hannon’s best chance does look to lie with Mums Tipple.
Highly promising when scoring at Ascot on debut, he was then a huge plunge horse ahead of the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes at York. That money never for a second looked like being held onto by the bookmakers, as this son of Footstepsinthesand put in a quite staggering performance to pulverise his 20 rivals by no less than 11 lengths. It’s a big step up from a Class 2 to a Group 1, but handed a rating of 116 on the back of that win, there really isn’t anywhere else for him to go.
Final Verdict: Earthlight To Win
This looks an absolute cracker with a whole host of highly likeable colts in the line-up. There isn’t a huge amount in it, but for us the pick of the bunch is the French raider, Earthlight. We had Raffle Prize towards the top of our list of this year’s juvenile runners – so for Earthlight to beat her, under conditions which were far from ideal, marks him out as a colt of the highest order.
Middle Park Stakes Winners
|2019||Earthlight||11/4||Andre Fabre||Mickael Barzalona|
|2018||Ten Sovereigns||8/13||Aidan O’Brien||Donnacha O’Brien|
|2017||U S Navy Flag||10/1||Aidan O’Brien||Seamie Heffernan|
|2016||The Last Lion||25/1||Mark Johnston||Joe Fanning|
|2015||Shalaa||1/2||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2014||Charming Thought||22/1||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2013||Astaire||8/1||Kevin Ryan||Neil Callan|
|2012||Reckless Abandon||9/4||Clive Cox||Gerald Mosse|
|2011||Crusade||25/1||Aidan O'Brien||Seamie Heffernan|
|2010||Dream Ahead||5/4||David Simcock||William Buick|
About the Middle Park Stakes: Classy Colts On Show At Cambridgeshire Meeting
Being one of the most famous racecourses in the country – certainly when it comes to the flat racing side of the sport – it is no surprise that the Suffolk venue of Newmarket can be relied upon to provide a steady stream of top-class events over the course of the season. The Classic contests of the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas are of course the highest profile of the nine Group 1’s to be run at the track, but Newmarket is also one of the best courses around when it comes to juvenile action.
Close to the top of the pile amongst the two year old events is this Group 1, six furlong affair open only to the colts. Named in honour of a stud owned by renowned breeder William Blenkiron, and first run all the way back in 1866 as the Middle Park Plate, the race now takes place on the closing Saturday of September’s three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting.
Now pretty well established in its current form, things weren’t always quite as they are now, with the race not being restricted to colts until 1987, and briefly being moved from its Cambridgeshire meeting slot, between 2011 and 2014, to feature as part of Future Champion’s Day at the track. Whenever it has been run though, this has always been a high-class contest, which can provide early pointers towards the following season’s major contests, including the 2,000 Guineas.
Aidan Edges Ahead
For a long time it appeared four was the magic number when it came to total wins for a single trainer in this race. Fred Darling became the seventh trainer to reach that total when landing the prize with The Cobbler in 1947, but it would take another 70 years before we had our first five-time winner of the race.
The man to achieve the feat was of course the greatest flat trainer of the modern era – Aidan O’Brien. First successful with Minardi in the year 2000, O’Brien moved out on his own at the top of the leader board when saddling U S Navy Flag to victory in 2017. Not content with that, the Ballydoyle maestro promptly made it six with Ten Sovereigns in 2018, and we suspect he isn’t anywhere near finished yet.
All-Time Greats Lead The Way Amongst Riders
We have two of the most famous names in the history of the sport included in a three-way tie for the lead amongst the jockeys in this race. Britain’s all-time top-winning jockey, Sir Gordon Richards, and the legendary Lester Piggott need little introduction to racing fans, but the name of Danny Maher may not be quite so familiar.
The fact that Maher isn’t so well known, must mainly be down to the fact that the sixth of his wins came over 100 years ago in 1913, as his overall achievements in the saddle bear up to the closest scrutiny. In addition to being a British Champion Jockey, and winning all five of the Classics, Maher is also in the American Jockeys Hall Of Fame for his exploits in the US.
Sweet Sixteen Claim Guineas Gold
Being a high class two year old contest held on the Rowley Mile course, it is no surprise that many look to this race for early clues ahead of the following season’s 2,000 Guineas. A total of sixteen winners have gone on to land the first colts Classic of the season, but it must be noted that the quality of this race as a Guineas Trial has been diminishing over the years, with only two of those sixteen coming between 1971 and 2019.
The full list of those to achieve the Middle Park Stakes and 2,000 Guineas double reads as follows:
Dual Middle Park & 2000 Guineas Winners: 1866 – 2019
|Horse||Trainer||Middle Park Win||2000 Guineas Win|
|Rodrigo De Triano||Peter Chapple-Hyan||1991||1992|
|Known Fact||Jeremy Tree||1979||1980|
|Brigadier Gerard||Dick Hern||1970||1971|
|Right Track||John Sutcliffe||1968||1969|
|Our Babu||Geoffrey Brooke||1954||1955|
|Tetratema||Henry Seymour Persse||1919||1920|
|Galtee More||Sam Darling||1896||1897|
|St Frusquin||Alfred Hayhoe||1895||1896|