Making sense of two year old form at this stage of the season can be tricky but with the juvenile Group One contests starting to mount up, beginning with the Moyglare Stud Stakes for fillies at the Curragh next week, here are some of the two year olds who have caught my eye so far this summer.
Jim Bolger has trained some of the best two year olds of recent seasons and this son of his 2007 Dewhurst Stakes and 2008 Derby winner New Approach could be right up there with the best of them. The striking looking chestnut is unbeaten in four starts this season and Godolphin purchased a large share in Dawn Approach after his impressive victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Bolger has been forced to withdraw Dawn Approach for a couple of races since then because of the heavy ground conditions. He holds entries in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, Dewhurst and the Racing Post Trophy and could run in one or two of those races, ground permitting. Dawn Approach is antepost favourite for the Qipco 2000 Guineas and second favourite behind Mars for the 2013 Investec Derby.
It seems improbable that a Dundalk maiden winner would make this list ahead of group winners but because of the wet summer Aidan O’Brien has taken to running his good two year olds on Louth’s all-weather track. Mars is meant to be the best of the Ballydoyle juveniles. The vibes surrounding this beautifully bred son of Galileo are reminiscent of Camelot last year and while one swallow does not a summer make, it’s almost certain that Mars is the real deal. He is favourite for next year’s Derby on the strength of that one run. Mars is entered in the top two year old races but out of a half sister to Invincible Spirit he has a stallion’s pedigree so the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October are likely targets.
The Futurity Stakes has been won by Classic winners including St Jovite, Giant’s Causeway and New Approach and this year’s winner First Cornerstone looks to have a touch of class about him. Whether he gets to follow in the hoofprints of those illustrious colts remains to be seen as his new American owners may ship him to the United States. They have already announced that the Andy Oliver trained colt will probably end his two year old career in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in November and will have his prep run either in the National Stakes, the Grand Criterium or in the United States.
Pedro the Great
Behind the top three colts it’s tricky to separate the two year olds we have seen so far. This son of leading first crop sire Henrythenavigator, sneaks into the top five at the expense of a couple of his Ballydoyle stable companions. The half brother to 2000 Guineas winner Foostepsinthesand was a surprise winner of the Group One Railway Stakes at the Curragh two weeks ago but it is difficult to know what to make of the form. Fancied stablemate Cristoforo Colombo came down in that race and Probably didn’t handle the ground. He could run in the National Stakes and should stay seven furlongs so maybe then we will know the answer to this conundrum.
Andy Oliver has been making a name for himself this season in no small part because of the exploits of this filly. The unbeaten Sendmylovetorose has progressed from a maiden to a Group Three and on to a Group Two victory in her three starts. She will make the step up to Group One company in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on 9 September, for which she was supplemented this week. The daughter of Bahamian Bounty had to be withdrawn from the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot after she became agitated and went down in the stalls but she has put that incident behind her and gone from strength to strength since. Sendmylovetorose is 33-1 for the 2013 Qipco 1000 Guineas.
Richard Hannon’s colt has only met with defeat once in four starts and that was when he finished just three parts of length behind Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes. Since then he has won the Superlative and Vintage Stakes, both Group Two contests. After his Newmarket win Hannon suggested he could run in the Dewhurst Stakes. He would have to be supplemented for that race and is entered in the Champagne Stakes, along with the Mill Reef and the Racing Post Trophy. Looking into the future, as a son of Australian sprinting sensation Choisir and out of an Alzao mare a mile may be as far as he wants to go. He is currently best priced 20-1 third favourite for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.
Clive Cox has a lovely two year old on his hands in the guise of this unbeaten colt. Last week Reckless Abandon added the Group One Darley Prix Morny to his victories in the Norfolk Stakes and the Prix Robert Papin. That was his fourth win from four starts and it was his best performance to date. He has shown a lot of speed early in his career but his dam won over six furlongs at two and stayed 12 furlongs later in her career. Reckless Abandon is entered in the Mill Reef and the Middle Park Stakes and 25-1 is the best price available for the 2013 2000 Guineas.
Khalid Abdullah’s homebred colt stepped up from his win in a Lingfield maiden to take the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York last week. The race wasn’t run to suit him and he was idling in front, suggesting he may want further. However, from an American family he won’t make up in to a Derby horse and trainer Roger Charlton says he needs fast ground. The trainer won’t rush the son of First Defence but he will step up in class for his next assignment and he deserves to on the basis of his York performance. He holds entries in the Royal Lodge, the Dewhurst and the Racing Post Trophy but where he goes next is ground dependent. Dundonnell is 25-1 for the 2013 2000 Guineas.
This daughter of Elusive Quality has been impressive on her two starts so far. Successful in a Newmarket maiden, she handled the step up to Group Three company comfortably in the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. Godolphin won last year’s Fillies Mile with Lyric of Light and Certify could run in that race or in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster. She is currently around the 16-1 mark for the 1000 Guineas and nothing she has done so far indicates that she won’t stay a mile.
Officially the best English trained filly so far this season is the Richard Hannon trained Maureen. The daughter of Holy Roman Emperor has run three times this season, winning twice and finishing second behind Sendmylovetorose in the Group Two Cherry Hinton Stakes. She won the Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot on her latest start. Maureen appears versatile regarding ground as her first two runs were on soft ground while the going was firm at Ascot the last day. She has entries in the Wetherbys Insurance Two Year Old Stakes at Doncaster on 13 September and the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on 29 September. Maureen is a best priced 16-1 shot for next year’s Qipco 1000 Guineas.