Cambridgeshire day at Newmarket is often revealing about the juvenile pecking order, but instead it fell to High Definition winning the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at The Curragh to advertise Classic claims for next season.
Many pundits have been waiting for a two-year-old to put in a truly eye-catching performance with a nod to 2021. That came not in England where much of the focus during the three-day meeting on the Rowley Mile is on future champions but in the Emerald Isle.
Aidan O’Brien has quite literally farmed the Beresford Stakes, landing the mile contest for the 20th time in his illustrious training career with High Definition. It’s incredible even for this most dominant stable.
Ballydoyle juveniles receive training with an eye on peaking as three-year-olds. Any son or daughter of Galileo which are winning races at two, then, command respect.
Much like his maiden performance, High Definition went from virtually last to first in the Beresford Stakes. He looked beaten at first when coming under a ride from Seamie Heffernan three from home, but showed a scintillating turn of foot in the final furlong.
High Definition ate up the ground and stormed clear to win going away by three-quarters of a length from Monaasib. The front two pulled three lengths clear of Snapraeterea who made most of the running.
That strong finish from High Definition resulted in the Beresford Stakes field well strung out in-behind him. While he was expected to win as the 9/5 favourite, bookmakers haven’t missed this very taking performance and he now heads the premier Classic betting.
As big as 50/1 before the Beresford Stakes in the ante post market for the 2021 Epsom Derby, Betfred are now a best-price 12/1 about High Definition.
Analysis: High Definition will need luck in Epsom Derby
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
The way in which he won the Beresford Stakes, like the Berlin song, really took my breath away. High Definition looked beaten to me after three out. While he didn’t quicken up quickly, once Heffernan got serious on him, he showed frightening speed and stamina.
A word of caution to those punters who piled in to this horse for next year’s Derby, though. A hold-up performer couldn’t have won at Epsom this term. Granted, that freak result for presumed pacemaker Serpentine is the exception not the rule.
It does give some food for thought if nothing else. Horses like High Definition who come from off the pace need everything to drop right. In a Classic contest like the Epsom Derby, that might be pushing their luck.
There is no doubt that this is the blockbuster performance we have all been waiting for from a juvenile. The entire Camrbidgeshire meeting with its many races for two-year-olds came and went without something so spectacular.
New Mandate won the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket over the same distance at the Beresford. However, as a gelding, he is not eligible for next year’s Classics. It doesn’t say much for the current crop of British juveniles, although it’s a rare enough thing.
Clive Cox was also keen to stress that Middle Park Stakes scorer Supremacy will be trained with the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in mind next term, meanwhile, and William Hill are 12/1 about him for that.
A major gamble on Alcohol Free was landed in the Cheveley Park Stakes. The eye was drawn to rallying runner-up Miss Amulet, though, who may appreciate stepping up in trip.
I think she could be interesting for next year’s Irish 1000 Guineas rather than a British Classic, however.