Sunday 25 September 2016

Inside Track: Code Red can dazzle rivals

Progressive Muir colt to build on Epsom form in Group 3 contest

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

Code Red, trained by Willie Muir, pictured, could dazzle at Newmarket
Code Red, trained by Willie Muir, pictured, could dazzle at Newmarket

On a rare low-key summer Saturday in Britain, the Group Three Criterion Stakes at Newmarket is one of the more appealing heats from a betting perspective.

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A field of 10 will go to post for the seven-furlong affair, with James Fanshawe's Hors De Combat shading the market lead. He is a four-year-old that last won a Newmarket handicap off a mark of 91 in May 2014.

However, he has competed well in Group company in the interim, and wasn't disgraced when beaten five-and-a-half lengths by Night Of Thunder in the Lockinge Stakes back in May. He must have a chance, while it is remarkable to think that, were he to prevail, he would be a first Pattern race winner this year for Tom Queally.

Queally's career has taken a sharp turn for the worse since the mighty Frankel was retired and Henry Cecil died, so success here would be a welcome fillip.

Given his propensity to find one or two too good, Hors De Combat is fairly easily opposed. John Gosden's Wannabe Yours beat him in a similar race at Goodwood last year and is going to be a danger again here. Like Hors De Combat, though, he is established over a mile rather than seven furlongs, so the one that appeals most is Code Red.

This Willie Muir-trained colt made little impact at this level in the Greenham at Newbury in April. Nonetheless, that turned out to be a hot event, with the winner Muhaarar powering clear in the new three-year-olds' Group One sprint at Royal Ascot and the third, Ivawood, placed in two Guineas. Code Red was beaten 10 lengths in sixth and he was the same distance behind Gleneagles in the season's first Classic at Newmarket, which was no mean feat. A Listed winner over six furlongs on the last of his four juvenile starts, he then dropped to this trip for a Listed race at Epsom on Derby weekend.

The result was pretty dramatic, as he surged clear with real authority to put the race to bed a furlong from home. That was a comprehensive performance that confirmed he is progressing along the right lines, so while he will need to keep improving to figure under Martin Dwyer here, he has the scope to do so.

At odds of around 4/1, Code Red represents the value option in the race. Another that appeals is Danzeno in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle that he won in 2014. The frustrating Aetna has an each-way chance at up to 14/1, but Michael Appleby's Danzeno showed on his comeback run at Haydock that he could be a smart sprinter this year.

In the Group Two Temple Stakes over five furlongs, he was just done for toe late on when fourth to Pearl Secret, with the seventh, Goldream, since coming out and winning the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot.

All in all, the Temple was a decent race, so Danzeno is trusted to reaffirm as much now that he returns to his optimum six-furlong trip. He doesn't look especially short at odds of around 15/8.

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