Nine 2-year-old colts are set to line up in the Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket Friday. Aidan O'Brien holds a strong hand with his entry of Ivan Denisovich and Art Museum.
Of the two colts, Ivan Denisovich holds a slight edge in experience. The Danehill colt, who is a son of the outstanding mare Hollywood Wildcat, was recently second to Silca's Sister in the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) in August. Prior to that, he won the TNT July Stakes (Eng-II) by two lengths. Kieren Fallon, who has ridden Ivan Denisovich in all of his starts, will again be aboard.
Art Museum has made only two career starts, but captured the listed Blenheim Stakes Sept.18. O'Brien is following the same path with this colt as he did last year with Ad Valorem. That colt was victorious in the Middle Park Stakes after breaking his maiden and winning the Blenheim. Former stable jockey Mick Kinane picks up the mount from Fallon.
O'Brien is hoping to add another Middle Park Stakes win to his already impressive resume. The champion trainer has won three of the last five renewals of this group I.
Always Hopeful finished only a nose behind Ivan Denisovich in the Prix Morny. Prior to that race, the son of Mind Games won the Richmond Stakes (Eng-II) by 2 1/2 lengths. He will have the services of Britain's leading rider, Jamie Spencer.
Prince of Light hails from the first crop of champion Fantastic Light
. The chestnut colt became his sire's first stakes winner when he won the Sirenia Stakes (Eng-III) in early September. Joe Fanning will again be riding for trainer Mark Johnston.
There are other stakes winning colts in the field that are also very capable of winning Friday. Red Clubs, by Red Ransom
, won the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) in June. Amadeus Wolf, by Mozart, defeated Red Clubs in the Scottish Equitable Gimcrack Stakes (Eng-II).
Italian stakes winner Guest Connections, stakes-placed Classic Encounter, and maiden Johnny Alpha round out the field.