15:35 Newmarket – Celebration Mile Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute has won this race an incredible eight times and although the last of these came over ten years ago he looks to have a decent chance of adding another victory here with Regal Reality. The five year old bounced right back to form when being eased in class and dropped back to a mile at Salisbury earlier in the month, forging clear to win by almost four lengths. A three-time Group 3 winner, with one of those victories coming over course and distance, he looks a typical Sir Michael Stoute runner that seems to get better with age so would have to be considered to follow up here.
Oisin Murphy has won three of the last four renewals and rides Benbatl who is a high-class performer having won at Group 3, Group 2 and Group 1 level. He has to give 3lbs and upwards to his rivals here, however that in itself shouldn't stop a big run. The bigger concerns I would have are that he much prefers a faster surface than he will encounter today and has done most of his winning over longer trips (just one win from five runs over a mile). As the highest rated in the field it would be difficult to dismiss his chances altogether, although there is enough of a question mark over trip and conditions to make me want to look elsewhere.
Duke Of Hazzard won this race last season and is two from two overall over course and distance. Having finished third to Mohaather in the Summer Mile at Ascot and second to Space Blues in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, a big run was expected in the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes (won by Regal Reality) however he ran no sort of race and came home last of eight. His overall course form is a big plus, however that last run was a disappointment and he is another who would probably prefer faster conditions to be seen to best effect.
Century Dream hadn't won since 2018 before his victory on re-appearance at Newbury in June, and although only fifth in the Group 1 Prix D'Ispahan last time out he ran with credit and finished ahead of the re-opposing Positive. The wind op certainly looks to have sparked an improvement and the ground conditions will suit him more than most rivals so he is not without a chance.
If putting a line through his run at Goodwood, where he was eased down after being bumped and blocked off in running, Sir Busker has been in excellent form this season. He has posted a victory over a mile at Ascot in June, a solid 2nd behind Mokathayyel over 7f at Newmarket last month and was denied by just a neck by Montatham back over a mile at York last time out. He has winning form at the course and is also proven in ground with a bit of cut so looks to have an excellent chance and as such is my selection for the feature race of the day.
SIR BUSKER (WIN)
written by Dean Kilbryde