The Mill Reef Stakes is named after one of the equine stars of the 1970’s, and this group-2 race is run over 6-furlongs at Newbury (2.15 Saturday). It was first run in 1972, and is only open to two-year-olds. Karl Burke has trained 2 of the last 8 winners, whilst Mark Johnston and Marco Botti have also trained a winner each in that time.
Won last year by the future group-1 winning Ribchester, this year’s renewal has lost some of its star quality due to the defection of Mokarris who has defected because of the forecast heavy ground. However, that has made it a more competitive betting heat, and 9 runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Mill Reef Stakes.
Looked a horse out of the top-drawer on his early fast ground form over 5-furlongs, but hasn’t looked as good since over 6-furlongs, or on soft ground.
Won a Lingfield maiden on third start, but has since been put in his place in the Gimcrack and the Champagne Stakes, beaten 6-lengths and 7-lengths.
Second on good-to-firm ground on racecourse debut, and will have to step-up significantly on that form to take a hand. Trainer not one to rush his horses though, and this Dark Angel sired colt could enjoy the ground.
Top-rated, and this Listed winner on good-to-soft ground, was also second to Ardad in the Flying Childers on ground softer than the official good. Ryan Moore prefers him to Global Applause, and that looks a tip in itself.
5-furlong winner, but has made little impact in group-2 races recently. Karl Burke has trained the winner twice in recent years though, so no surprise if she improved on those runs.
Joint second-highest rated horse, and won over 5-furlongs before being stepped-up to 7-furlongs. May appreciate dropping down to 6-furlongs on slower ground, but looks stable’s second string on jockey bookings.
Won first two races over 5-furlongs, but was a major disappointment when favourite for a York Listed Race. Could bounce back.
Trainer won this in 2012, but he needs to improve on his third in a decent group-3 at Kempton last time. Won his maiden on soft ground though, so that improvement could be on the cards.
Sent off at 8/1 on first two starts when she finished second then first, but disappointed when only 11/4 for a Group-3. Another horse sired by Dark Angel though, and interesting if the money comes for her.
Mill Reef Stakes Summary
The heavy ground is an unknown for all of the runners, but it looks significant that Ryan Moore has chosen the top-rated Legendary Lunch, who is proven with a little cut in the ground, and looks a fair price at around 7/2.