Some great names have won the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes over the years. David Ord looks at some of them.
Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is always a significant signpost for the end-of-season pecking order among the juveniles, let’s not forget its roll of honour includes the mighty Brigadier Gerard.
A test of a two-year-old colt’s speed and balance it has proven a pointer to the following year’s 2000 Guineas over the years although not since Rodrigo De Triano in 1992 has a colt gone on to win the Classic having landed the autumn Group One prize over the final six furlongs of the Rowley Mile.
That’s not to say there haven’t been some mighty performances since then though.
Take Dream Ahead in 2010 for example. He hit a huge Timeform performance rating of 129 in 2010 as he sailed through the soft ground to draw a widening nine lengths clear of Strong Suit under William Buick.
He was to play a supporting role to the mighty Frankel in terms of the racing limelight for the next 12 months but did add three more top flight prizes to his haul at three, the July Cup, Haydock Sprint Cup and Prix de la Foret.
2002 winner Oasis Dream only managed two more top flight victories at three but his performances in the the July Cup (beat Australian speedball Choisir) and Nunthorpe at York earned him the status as one of the fastest sprinters of modern times.
His length-and-a-half defeat of Tomahawk earned a 121 Timeform rating in the Middle Park, the same as Dutch Art (2006) and Ad Varlorem (2004), one of six winners for Aidan O’Brien.
The John Gosden-trained Shalaa (120 in 2015) was never as good in a truncated three-year-old campaign as he had been in his first season racing but he was very quick at two, eased down late when beating Buratino and Steady Pace in the Middle Park.
Ten Sovereigns (119 in 2018) capped of an unbeaten two-year-old season with a hard-fought win over Jash at Newmarket but Ballydoyle predecessor Johannesburg (118 in 2001) was a more significant winner for the County Tipperary team.
He made it six wins from six career starts when bounding three lengths clear of Zipping upon meeting the rising ground and completed a magnificent seven when proving far too quick for the best America could throw at him on the Belmont Park dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
It takes a quick two-year-old to win the Middle Park – an experienced one too. There are no hiding places when the tempo increases going down into the Dip but some great names have used the race to cement their champion status in the past.
The class of 2022 have a lot to live up to.
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