Godolphin could head into the winter with not one, but two top-class colts on their hands if Earthlight justifies his position as 7/4 market leader for Saturday’s Middle Park Stakes.
Sheikh Mohammed’s operation already has the best juvenile colt in training after Pinutubo’s stunning success in the National Stakes at The Curragh, but they will almost certainly have the first and second favourites for next season’s 2,000 Guineas should Earthlight make it five wins on the bounce this weekend.
The Andre Fabre-trained colt, who like Pinatubo is a son of Shamardal, is already a Group 1 winner having stormed home from off the pace to win the Prix Morny at Deauville, but he faces his toughest assignment to date with fellow unbeaten colts Mums Tipple and Siskin among his 12 rivals.
After winning the Prix Morny, Fabre suggested Earthlight would likely step up in trip for the Dewhurst Stakes but it looks as though Godolphin are keen to keep him and Pinatuba, who is a 4/11 favourite for that contest, apart for this season at least.
Andre Fabre said: "Earthlight is in good shape, I am very happy with him. He’s never had a setback and is an easy, sound horse.
"His Prix Morny victory has been highly rated but the soft ground was a factor and may have changed things. He has won on fast and soft, so the ground is not a real concern for him.
"Some of his opposition in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, the likes of Siskin and Mums Tipple, look like they may have a little more speed than him as he is the type of colt who might be able to stay a bit further next year.
"Earthlight is not the most balanced horse, he carries his head a bit low, so his ability to handle Newmarket’s undulations will be something that we will have to discover on Saturday."
Unbeaten Record At Stake
Earthlight unbeaten record looks under most threat from Mums Tipple, his nearest challenger in the betting. The Richard Hannon-trained colt won a York sales race by a whopping 11 lengths on his second start and remains firmly in the 'could be anything' bracket.
Hannon could also be represented by Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes winner Threat but the betting suggests Mums Tipple is a better colt despite not having achieved as much so far, although he may not have the services of Ryan Moore (on board at York) with the rider very likely to be on board the Aidan O'Brien-trained Monarch Of Egypt instead.
Coral spokesman Dave Stevens said: "Pinatubo sets a sky-high standard when it comes to this season’s juveniles, but with a top-class Middle Park in prospect, Saturday’s winner is also likely to head into winter quarters as a leading hope for top honours next year."
One of Earthlight's victims in the Pix Morny, Raffle Prize, heads the betting (best price 9/4) for the other Group 1 contest at Newmarket on Saturday, the Cheveley Park Stakes.
The big betting race on the afternoon is the Bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap (3.40), which is the first leg of the ‘Autumn double’.
One thing is for sure, if punters can find the winner of this wide-open contest (currently 10/1 the field), as well as the Cesarewitch in a couple of weeks, then they will be sitting on a huge winner.