Champion jockey Oisin Murphy rated Masekela as the one he’s most looking forward to this weekend in the Gr2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes for two-year-olds.
He said “I’ve loved him since the first time I saw him and although he’s a horse for next year, hopefully we can get one more run out of him as a two-year-old. All the signs have been good at home, if anything he’s got quite lazy, but a mile will suit him well. Royal Patronage brings strong form into the race, he’ll probably go forward again and hopefully Masekela can follow them along and show them how good he is.”
The second race on a high-class card at Newmarket gets under way at 14h50 and Masekela tackles six rivals, all potentially top notch.
Run over the Rowley Mile, this race has been won in the past by the likes of the great Frankel in 2010 and Roaring Lion four years ago with Oisin Murphy gaining his first success.
Aiden O’Brien raids with two, Howth (Ryan Moore) and Unconquerable (Dettori), but the main threat to Murphy winning this race for a second time could come from the unexposed Appleby trained Coroebus. The son of Dubawi was all the rage in the betting market on his only start last month on the July course over a mile when travelling strongly throughout, he won convincingly. The second and third have both subsequently won well in there next starts. William Buick retains the ride.
The following race (15h20) is the Gr1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes for two-year-old fillies. Aiden O’Brien saddles the debutant winner Tenebrism, by freshman sire Caravaggio, who could be involved in the finish after a facile win at Naas early in the season. However, the main Irish challenge should come from the Juddmonte owned Sacred Bridge from the Ger Lyons yard. Unbeaten in four starts to date, the daughter of Bated Breath was a most convincing winner of her last start, the Gr3 Round Tower Stakes (1200m) at the Curragh by nearly four lengths.
The English contingent are headed by the Andrew Balding trained Sandrine, who has won 3 of her 4 starts. She won at Royal Ascot, the Newmarket July festival, and might well have won the Gr2 Lowther Stakes at York last month, had she not been forced to deliver her challenge on the slowest part of the course. The David Probert ridden filly should give the Irish raiders a proper test in this 1200m event.
The remaining Group One race on the card – the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is also run over 1200m for the juvenile colts.
Go Bears Go was so impressive when lifting the Gr2 GAIN Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June over tomorrow’s distance but was subsequently well held over the same course and distance in the Gr1 Keenland Phoenix Stakes raced on soft ground.
If he rediscovers his best form on the predicted fast ground, the David Loughnane runner must be a serious contender.
However, the vote goes to the Richard Fahey trained Perfect Power, the only group one winner in the field.
The Ardad colt won the Gr1 Darley Prix Morny over the Deauville straight 6 furlongs impressively and Christophe Soumillon makes the journey across the English Channel to stay on board.