By Michaela Moricova
Saturday’s card at Newmarket provided two-year-olds with opportunities to shine, and they did exactly that. Although an outstanding sprinter, VANDEEK won’t be pointed toward the Breeders’ Cup races, PORTA FORTUNA looks ready to take on fillies in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. GHOSTWRITER then earned an invitation to the BC Juvenile Turf, yet his journey to the US is uncertain. Still, let’s start with the two-year-old who is most likely to actually travel to Breeders’ Cup.
Fantastic Porta Fortuna
The G1 Cheveley Park Stakes is one of the most treasured British races for two-year-old fillies; therefore, it usually attracts several talented juveniles. PORTA FORTUNA was offered at 9/2 after placing among the Group company and looking like a G1 winner in the making. Under Oisin Murphy, the daughter of Caravaggio had a good start, settled in the midfield, and once the jockey asked her some questions, Porta Fortuna beautifully accelerated. She won comfortably by a length a half in 1m 10.66s, and even though she successfully covered the distance of six furlongs here, her trainer Donnacha O’Brien sounded adamant about Porta Fortuna also handling a mile.
The G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is quite a logical step for her, as Donnacha O’Brien said for RacingTV:
“She is very uncomplicated and very easy to train, and usually the good ones are. She is owned by an American syndicate, and the plan was to go to the Breeders’ Cup at the end of the year if that was how it turned out, so that is what we will do.
“There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then, but I suppose we would start her off in a trial over seven and make a decision then whether we go sprinting or go for the Guineas.“
Never Write Off Ghostwriter
The Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile guarantees a winner a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, while in 2023, GHOSTWRITER earned the spot. The Clive Cox-trained two-year-old is unbeaten in three starts as of Saturday; he completed the hattrick by an easy victory in the G2 company. Richard Kingscote always kept the son of Invincible Spirit close to the leaders, then urged the bay colt forward, and in the end, Ghostwriter triumphed by a length and ¼ 1m 37.06s. The smart two-year-old even defeated strongly favored Capulet, trained by Aidan O’Brien, who managed only third, being also bettered by second Al Musmak.
As Ghostwriter recorded three outings in a span of a month and a half, Clive Cox is inclined to let the horse rest and wait for the next season. The call hasn’t been made, though, so there is a slight chance that his trainee will head to the Breeders’ Cup.
Vandeek Not So Sleepy in Middle Park
They couldn’t wake him up for the G1 Middle Park Stakes. He was half-asleep in the stall, then in the paddock, and slow out of the gates, but then VANDEEK woke up to strike gold again. Although trainers Simon and Ed Crisford describe their star as an absolutely relaxed colt, the two-year-old is currently the best two-year-old sprinter in the UK. After the son of Havana Grey snatched up a G2 victory, he went on to score the G1 Prix Morny in August, and on Saturday, Vandeek fulfilled the role of the favorite and dazzled towards a second G1 success.
He wasn’t quick out of the gate, but James Doyle didn’t mind at all. He let him gallop at the end of the field, which resulted in some issues with room in the closing stages; however, Vandeek found needed space in time to show his outstanding turn of foot. His rivals stood no chance as Vandeek charged forward to triumph in 1m 10.76s, proving that over six furlongs, he’s a true champion.
Vandeek isn’t primed for the Breeders’ Cup, and it’s unsure whether he’ll even try a further distance, for which second Task Force is bound. He finished two and ¼ of a length behind the victor, looking ready to step up the trip. Third River Tiber, trained by Aidan O’Brien, could travel to the US if he came out of the race in good shape.