The 2020 Joel Stakes takes place over one mile at Newmarket Racecourse on Friday 25 September. This Group 2 race is one of the highlights on the card of the second day of the Cambridgeshire Meeting and it has attracted eight entries.
It’s a high-class renewal, with the lowest-rated runners Urban Icon and Zabeel Prince on marks of 110. Urban Icon has come short in three Group 2s already this season, as well as also failing to win two Listed races and a handicap. Zabeel Prince has looked slightly regressive at the age of 7 this season and, having failed to make an impression in Group 3s, he’d also be a surprise winner.
Top Rank is only rated 1lb higher on a mark of 111 but, after winning five of his six races, this progressive 4-year-old may not have reached the ceiling of his ability. But this course and distance winner faces his sternest task yet, and he’s fancied to come up short on this occasion.
Tilsit is the only 3-year-old in the field and he too could have any amount of improvement to come after just three runs. He beat My Oberon by the same margin as Top Rank did last time, and that means his mark of 111 also leaves him with a fair bit to find.
Duke Of Hazard has won on the other course at Newmarket and he posted two solid efforts in Group races on his second and third starts of the season. But he’s disappointed on his last two runs and his stable is on the cold-list at present.
Regal Reality has finished in front of Duke Of Hazard on his last two starts and looks likely to run his usual solid race. He may well pick up some each-way money, especially if the ground rides good-to-firm, but he generally falls short against the top-notchers.
The race is fancied to turn into a match between Kameko and Benbatl. Kameko has run well on both previous visits to Newmarket, winning the 2,000 Guineas on his last run here over on the Rowley Mile course. 3-year-olds have won seven of the 20 renewals of the Joel Stakes run this century but Kameko bids to become the first to shoulder a Group 1 penalty.
That should swing things in the favour of Benbatl, who is our Joel Stakes tip. Benbatl annihilated a weaker field last year by 5-lengths and everything looks in his favour again. He’s rated 5lb higher than his nearest rival Kameko and is a further 5lb better off than weight-for-age due to Kameko’s penalty.
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