Geoffrey Freer Stakes Preview – Saturday 19th August
Last updated: August 17, 2017 by Leon Marshal
The 2.25 race at Newbury on Saturday is the £60,000 Group 3, Geoffrey Freer Stakes over a mile-and-three-quarters. The race was once regarded as a St Leger trial and produced Niniski (1979), Moon Madness (1987), Silver Patriarch (1999) and Sixties Icon (2008). Mubtaker (2002-2004) is the only horse to win the race three times.
In more recent years the race has been more of a stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Recent winners include Mount Athos (2012), Royal Empire (2013) and Seismos (2014). Kings Fete won the race in 2016 for Sir Michael Stoute, his fourth winner in the Geoffrey Freer. That leaves him just one behind the record held by Sir Noel Murless.
Defoe Heavily Backed in Geoffrey Freer
The feature of this year’s Geoffrey Freer Stakes betting has been the support for Defoe. Roger Varian trains the three-year-old who has progressed from handicap company to win a Listed race at Hamilton. That was in the Glasgow Stakes over a mile-and-three-furlongs when beating Frankuus by a length-and-a-half. The runner-up boosted the form by winning last weekend’s Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock. Fourth-placed Euro Nightmare has also been successful since so the form looks rock solid. Varian had the option of running in next week’s Great Voltigeur Stakes at York as he aims Defoe at the St Leger.
That was in the Glasgow Stakes over a mile-and-three-furlongs when beating Frankuus by a length-and-a-half. The runner-up boosted the form by winning last weekend’s Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock. Fourth-placed Euro Nightmare has also been successful since so the form looks rock solid. Varian had the option of running in next week’s Great Voltigeur Stakes at York as he aims Defoe at the St Leger.
Frontiersman the Form Horse at Newbury
Official ratings point towards Frontiersman, runner-up to Highland Reel at Epsom in June. He came from well off the pace to be beaten less than two lengths in the Group 1 Coronation Cup.
Charlie Appleby fitted the colt with cheek-pieces for his next race at Newmarket where he was beaten three-quarters of a length by Hawkbill. He showed a tendency to hang to his left that day and is tackling this distance for the first time.
Ryan Moore partners To Eternity for John Gosden. The lightly-raced daughter of Galileo recorded her second career victory when winning by six lengths at Newmarket earlier this month. James Doyle raced alone under the stands’ rails that day so the margin of victory could be misleading. To Eternity has always looked likely to stay extreme distances and good to soft ground would be ideal.
Agent Murphy Set to Return to Action
Agent Murphy won this race by five lengths in 2015 but has only raced three times since. Brian Meehan’s six-year-old is having his first run since finishing fourth at Doha in February last year.
Andrew Balding’s Horseplay won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket in May. She took her chance in the Epsom Oaks but finished a remote fourth behind Enable. She was not disgraced in a Group 2 race in France last time and is another horse stepping up in distance. Wall Of Fire was a progressive handicapper last year, winning at York and Doncaster. This is his first run since finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Belmont Gold Cup in June.
Geoffrey Freer Stakes Betting Tips
Defoe @10-3 Betfred.
The Sweet Solera Stakes is due off at 3.40 at Newmarket on Saturday 12th August and will be televised live on ITV4.