One of Saturday’s highlights is the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury (2.25pm). The Group 3 contest, which is run over 1m5f, has been won in the past by former Derby winner Silver Patriarch (1999) and three times by Mubtaker (2002-2004).
Last season, Defoe scored for trainer Roger Varian, completing a four-timer and becoming the sixth successful favourite in the last 12 renewals.
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We look at the eight declared runners for the £34,026 to-the-winner contest:
Plenty was expected of the now five-year-old after he won a 1m maiden at this track as a juvenile, but that was one of only three career successes, the last of those also came here in the Arc Trial in September 2016.
While he has not been quite able to reach the highest level, he is the highest-rated in the field at 112, and 11 of the last 12 winners of this event had a rating of 107 or higher. If there is a little give in the ground and if in similar form to his narrow defeat by Marmelo in a Group 2 at Longchamp last time, he would hold a major chance.
Ryan Moore jumps off Algometer to ride the five-year-old who has won six of his 18 career starts.
The blinkers, which he wore for the first time when fourth to Stradivarius in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup last time, are dispensed with as he drops back from 2m.
Although the 111-rated gelding has won with ease underfoot, four of his five turf wins have come on Good to Firm ground.
The form horse in the race, having won his last four, steps into Pattern company for the first time. He looked capable of taking that step up when trouncing a decent field in a 0-105 handicap at Newmarket earlier this month on his first try at 1m4f and long-term, his trainer pinpointed the Melbourne Cup as a potential landing spot.
Though he is entered in next week’s Ebor at York, this looks a more logical stepping stone for the 107-rated son of Cape Cross and he is the current 3/1 joint favourite with Genting Bet.
Twice third on his two previous trips to Newbury, the four-year-old has won three of his 17 career starts, each of which came with Soft in the going description. He has a bit to find on his Goodwood seventh of 13 to Sir Chauvelin and has struggled for consistency this term.
Will be having only his second run of the summer, having been campaigned in Dubai over the winter, where he won a decent 1m4f handicap, having previously gone close in another. The four-year-old has won three of his seven starts, which were on Good ground or softer.
This will be his first try beyond 1m4f, but he appears to be a progressive, late-maturing son nof Cape Cross.
Has struggled since landing a middling handicap over an extended 1m1f at Galway last August and has yet to convince she stays this far.
Only three of the last 16 renewals have been won by a three-year-old and with only four runs under his belt, he is the least experienced in the field, but is currently 3/1 joint-favourite with Genting Bet.
However, he has won two of those four starts, including when taking a 1m3f Listed contest at Hamilton last month, having previously been beaten 9l by Roaring Lion when sixth of nine in the Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown.
It is perhaps worth noting that eight of the last 12 winners of the Geoffrey Freer had won their previous start and this son of High Chaparral looks as if he will improve for this step up in trip.
Started the season winning the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield, but did not appear to handle soft ground in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom when beaten over 17 lengths by Forever Together.
She was having only her fourth career start when she struggled to get involved in the Group 2 Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot last time and while she takes on the boys for the first time, this step up in trip might put her in a better light.
TRENDS TO NOTE
Age – 8 of the last 12 winners were aged 3 or 4
Price – 9 of the last 12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting
Last Run – 11/12 winners had their last run within the last 37 days
Course Form – 6/12 winners had at least one previous run at Newbury
Previous Flat Form – 12/12 winners had at least six previous flat runs, 10/12 winners had at least three previous flat wins
Group Wins – 6/12 winners had at least one previous Group 1-3 win
Check out the latest odds for the Geoffrey Freer Stakes and all the other meetings on Saturday, which include Doncaster, Ripon, Perth, Newmarket, Market Rasen and Chepstow.
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