The two-day Dubai Future Champions Festival begins at Newmarket today and it's a really nice looking card.
15:35 bet365 Fillies' Mile
This is the feature race of the day (a Group 1) and it has some splendid looking fillies in the field.
Happily is the short-priced favourite and although she is priced at odds against currently, I have a feeling she will go off at odds on. She is currently the second favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas with the Aiden O'Brien and Ryan Moore looking to add yet another Group 1 prize in what has been a fantastic year for them. She has had five races to date in the UK and has won three of them, on ground ranging from good to quite heavy. The step up in trip looks sure to suit this excellently bred filly, and having already won a Group 1, she will take all the beating in this.
September, the O'Brien second string, looked a superb prospect when winning the Chesham Stakes at Ascot, before being slightly disappointing in her two tuns after that, latterly finishing almost four lengths behind her stablemate, Happily. Ascot was the only time she has encountered firmer ground and therefore connections will hope the course dries out as much as possible. If the ground was genuinely good to firm, I would think that she would be a lot closer to Happily and give her a proper race.
Magic Lily, trained by Charlie Appleby, was an emphatic winner of her only race so far, demolishing the field by eight lengths in a novices' stakes over course and distance a few weeks ago. That race doesn't look particularly strong, but it is impossible to tell how good this New Approach and Dancing Rain filly is. She will need to be right up there if she is going to be competitive with the two O'Brien runners, however, I am looking forward to seeing how she goes.
15:00 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes
This is a Group 2 over seven furlongs and I think this is a wide-open race, with the 7/4 favourite Limato looking particularly vulnerable.
I am really keen on the John Gosden trained Dabyah. A mile appeared just beyond her limits last time out at Ascot in the Coronation Stakes, however, she got to within four lengths of the excellent Winter and this is a definite step down in class from that race. Prior to that she was a fine winner of a Group 3 at Newbury, and she has won on ground varying from soft to good to firm, so she appears versatile ground wise. I think a price of 6/1 looks excellent value in the context of this race, and am expecting a big run with Frankie back on board.
Magic Lily - 1 point each way @ 8/1
Dubyah - 2 points win @ 13/2