There are still some very big races and prizes ahead in the 2018 flat racing season but some punters are already taking a longer term view by making their picks in the 2019 ante post markets.
The Group 1 Phoenix Stakes could well provide more valuable insight for the clashes to come in next year with some highly promising horses towards the head of the betting.
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It Could Pay to Ignore Meade’s Bluster
Martyn Meade has been incredibly bullish about the chances of Advertise in the Phoenix Stakes. The Manton based trainer even went as far as to say, “to be quite frank, I wouldn’t worry about any of them,” when talking about Advertise’s competitors at the Curragh. Rather strangely though, Meade followed up that gusto with a suggestion that he may decide to skip the race in favour of the Prix Morny at Deauville now that Calyx is not competing there.
Advertise is a general 11/4 shot but that comment about a trip to France has put many punters off. The ground is another concern as the rain in the Kildare area continues to ease the going. Each of Advertise’s performances to date have come on good to firm ground and he may find six furlongs at the Curragh too stiff even on good ground.
Sergei Prokofiev to Justify Market Support
The concerns about the main contender will go down very well at Ballydoyle as Sergei Prokofiev prepares for his first crack at a Group 1. He was beaten by both Calyx and Advertise in the Coventry Stakes but Sergei Prokofiev was never that well placed. Watching that race, Aidan O’Brien will surely demand more positive tactics from whoever gets the ride on Sunday and that could make all the difference.
Sergei Prokofiev has winning form on soft ground (granted against much weaker opposition) and is expected to improve for sterner tests. The market has backed O’Brien’s leading hope for the Phoenix Stakes into favouritism but the evens that Coral are quoting still looks a fair price.
Just Wonderful Worth One More Chance
When Just Wonderful won on debut at the Curragh some believed we had seen the first steps of a hugely successful career. O’Brien two-year-olds tend to improve significantly from their first outing so Just Wonderful’s woeful performance next time out at Royal Ascot was frankly strange.
The form may suggest that she got back on track last time out when finishing third in a Group 3 at the Curragh but she was hardly convincing and it appeared as though Ryan Moore was concerned from halfway. Indeed, a less than impressive run for home on good ground did nothing for those who thought firm surfaces were damaging her chances.
Still, there is no chance of O’Brien giving up on Just Wonderful. On breeding along she has the class to beat most of these and under the eye of one of the world’s greatest trainers there is every chance Just Wonderful will improve significantly at the Curragh so give her one more chance at tempting odds of 20/1 with Ladbrokes.
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