Simon Holt: The winning Nak
After 15/2 and 13/2 winner last weekend Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt nominates his best bets for the second day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival.
The great Frankel has made an exciting start to his stallion career this season and SEVEN HEAVENS is taken to further enhance an already sky-high reputation with victory in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
On form, John Gosden's colt has plenty to find with the likes of Churchill, Blue Point, Rivet and South Seas but that is reflected in his odds, and he has tremendous potential.
When successful in his first start at Ascot in July by a length from Lockheed, Seven Heavens' galloping action and style of racing was compared to his illustrious sire and it looked a hugely promising performance.
Subsequently, he behaved poorly and learned little more when beating sole rival Shabeeh in a match at Goodwood where he pulled hard both before and during the race before coming readily clear of his average rival.
Lockheed's most recent third (beaten over four lengths) to Churchill in the National Stakes certainly suggests Seven Heavens could be up against it here, and maybe this sort of task will come soon enough.
But, I am convinced this horse has massive improvement in him and, with Frankie Dettori aboard for the first time and a fast pace almost guaranteed, he is fancied to make the big jump required.
There are one or two doubts surrounding some of the form horses.
Churchill was impressive when winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June (the form is nothing special) and has won three times since, at long odds-on at Leopardstown and the Curragh before outstaying Mehmas in the National Stakes on the latter course last month.
So far, all bar one of the Galileo colt's efforts have come with give in the ground (the going at Newmarket looks set to ride quick) but, more pertinently, he looks ready for a step up to a mile already and a fast-ground seven furlongs may prove sharp enough. Trainer Aidan O'Brien also fields Lancaster Bomber who will probably ensure this is a true test but Churchill could be opposable at his likely cramped odds.
Meanwhile, the likely going is an unknown for South Seas whose three impressive wins have all come on good to soft or soft going.
His latest defeat of Salouen at Sandown was given a boost when the runner-up finished a creditable second (beaten over four lengths) in last weekend's Prix Jean Luc Lagardere at Chantilly but the best progeny of South Seas' sire Lope De Vega (Belardo, Endless Drama) have done best with some cut.
There is little between Rivet and Thunder Snow on their fine battle in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, though trainer William Haggas gave the impression immediately after the race that he felt, despite winning, Rivet had perhaps under-performed.
However, Thunder Snow is a good colt as he proved when splitting War Decree and Boynton at Goodwood previously, and maybe the form is true enough.
Meanwhile, this is a step up in trip for Blue Point, who showed tremendous pace at York's Ebor meeting when slamming Mokarris and The Last Lion in the Gimcrack Stakes (6f) only for the latter to turn the tables surprisingly in the Middle Park Stakes (Mokarris sixth) two weeks ago.
The Betfred Cesarewitch offers the usual 34-runner puzzle though several of this year's field are undoubtedly well handicapped, notably ante-post favourite St Michel and Sweet Selection who both appeared to run above their previous form when third and fifth respectively behind Sheikhzayedroad and Quest For More (winner of last weekend's Group One Prix du Cadran) in the Doncaster Cup.
Despite a 4lb penalty here for an earlier win at Sandown (therefore, runner-up Oriental Fox is now 4lb better off for a length-and-a-half), St Michel is 15lb well in at these weights on his revised handicap rating and Sweet Selection is 17lb well in.
However, the form of conditions races is not always reliable when horses return to handicap company and I would be a bit concerned by St Michel's tendency to hang badly left under pressure (plus a very wide draw) while Sweet Selection is only 2lb better off with NAKEETA for when they finished second and fourth (The Cashel Man third) behind Oceane at York in August.
The Cashel Man has since finished second to Penglai Pavilion in the trial for this race with Nakeeta's stout-staying stable-mate Shrewd over four lengths away in third.
If any horse deserves a big handicap win, it is Nakeeta who, earlier in the season, was just touched off in the Chester Cup and gets a 4lb pull for the half length he was beaten by St Michel's stable-mate Sea Of Heaven at Ascot in July.
Iain Jardine's gelding has presumably been aimed at this race since the Ebor meeting and looks a solid each-way play.
Another potentially well handicapped horse is Starchitect who who went up 7lb for winning a handicap at Salisbury in May but is rated 60lb lower on the Flat compared to his hurdles rating. Normally, the difference in the two codes is around 40-45lb and it looks like connections have been cunningly preserving his rating by not running him since much earlier in the season.
Trainer David Pipe also fields the ex-Godolphin -trained gelding Ennistown, the mount of Ryan Moore, who is 40lb below the hurdles rating he achieved for winning at Cartmel in August.
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