Charlie Appleby sent out four Grade One winners in North America in the space of two days last weekend and could target another with Modern Games after the colt’s comfortable success in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
Modern Games made all the running to beat Trident, the even-money favourite, two-and-a-half lengths with Harrow a length and a quarter further back in third.
Appleby suggested afterwards that Modern Games is some way behind Native Trail, the recent National Stakes winner, in his yard’s pecking order and will be steered around next months Dewhurst Stakes as a result.
“I wouldn’t pitch him in as a Dewhurst horse just on the back of having Native Trail there,” Appleby said, “and if you put the two at home there wouldn’t be much of a competition really. He is going to be a nice, solid horse for next year.
“Something like the Breeders’ Cup we might look at, he has got plenty of experience under his belt now. We have got Albahr in there [in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf] who is a slightly different profile to him, but they are two hard-knocking sons of Dubawi and A, they won’t look out of place and B, we will run all right over there.”
Friday TV races guide
It is nearly five months since Master Of The Seas was touched off in the 2,000 Guineas and Poetic Flare, who edged a short-head in front in the final stride, has franked the form several times since.
Charlie Appleby’s colt suffered a setback in training a few weeks later, however, and will line up for the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday with only a few weeks left to salvage something from his three-year-old season.
His Classic form should be enough to send him off favourite but he may need to run close to it to win after 146 days on the sidelines, not least with the evergreen Benbatl (3.35) among his opponents.
The seven-year-old is closely matched with Master Of The Seas on ratings and put up one of the best performances of his career in this race two years ago, winning from the front under hands-and-heels for Oisin Murphy, who is back in his saddle on Friday.
Newmarket 1.50 Dubai Love has not been out since finishing fourth in a Group Two at Meydan in February but she has several runs in the book that would make her a player at Listed level and makes her first start after a wind op here.
York 2.05 Mr Wagyu has gone from strength to strength this season and ran another fine race to finish third in last Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup. He is 1lb lower here and should face less competition for the lead, so a sixth handicap success of the current campaign is within reach.
Newmarket 2.25 It would be unwise to take Albaflora’s four-length second behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks too literally as the hot favourite won with plenty in hand but her comfortable success at Listed level at Ascot in May also reads well in the context of this Group Three assignment.
York 2.40 With 81 starts in seven years already in the form book, Firmament is not keeping anything back from the handicapper but he snapped a long losing run at Newcastle last time and saves his best for this track and trip. His latest win on the Knavesmire was off a mark of 93 and he is 7lb lower on Friday.
Newmarket 3.00 The last Rockfel winner to record a subsequent success was Promising Run, who took this Group Two in 2015, but this year’s renewal looks to have plenty of strength in depth. Majestic Glory and the unbeaten pair Girl On Film and Jumbly are vying for favouritism, but Romantic Time is an eye-catcher at around 10-1 further down the list. William Stone’s filly showed improved form for a step up to six furlongs in the Dick Poole at Salisbury last time, finishing strongly to win in a decent time, and she is bred to be even better over seven.