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Newmarket Champions Festival Day 1 predictions: Commissioning primed for bold showing
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Enda McElhinney
Racing Post
The excitement is building ahead of Newmarket's eight-race card on Friday
The excitement is building ahead of Newmarket's eight-race card on Friday

It is Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket as some of the best juveniles in Britain and Ireland converge on Headquarters looking to collect some of the major end of season gongs.

There are no less than five Group races on Friday's card, which runs from 1.50pm-5.50pm, with the Group 1 Fillies' Mile taking headline status at 3.35pm. Here's our look ahead to the action on day one of two from Newmarket.

1.50pm - Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes (Group 3, 5f)

Crispy Cat's early season efforts strongly hinted a prize such as this would be within reach but Michael O'Callaghan's Ardad colt has stopped progressing and, on his fifth visit to Britain this season, may once more come up short.

PRINCE OF PILLO dominated the Listed Rosebery Stakes at Ayr last month from the outset and is now 3-4, his sole defeat at Doncaster in the Flying Childers easily forgiven in what was a messy race. 

Keith Dalgleish's colt sets the standard and is not done improving.

Racing Post Selection: Prince Of Pillo @ 13/8

2.25pm Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes (Fillies' Group 3, 7f)

Four of these fillies are unbeaten, with last month's Newbury Conditions race winner Crystallium a likely improver upped in grade by Tom Clover with that race already working out well. 

Rage Of Bamby was third here last time in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes but perhaps YOUNGEST can step up for Roger Varian. 

She had a 'work in progress' look in last month's winning debut at Leicester and the Dubawi filly should come on plenty for that.

Racing Post Selection: Youngest @ 8/1

3pm Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2, 7f)

What was on the verge of becoming a frustrating season for SACRED could have a very different appearance to it soon. 

William Haggas' filly easily won a Listed contest at Newbury (7f, good) in September and if she can back that up now, at a course where she is 2-4 previously with both defeats in Group 1s, connections will be rather pleased with their lot. She is the one to beat.

Racing Post Selection: Sacred @ 5/4

3.35pm bet365 Fillies' Mile (Group 1, 1m)

Commissioning looks like the one to beat at Newmarket
Commissioning looks like the one to beat at Newmarket

John & Thady Gosden won this race a year ago with ultra-impressive Inspiral and the Clarehaven team have another star candidate now in COMMISSIONING.

The Kingman filly is 2-2 at this venue already, pulling away to win last month's Group 2 Rockfel Stakes by nearly three lengths.

She is entitled to improve again on third start and, on pedigree, stepping up to a mile will be a positive. 

There was no fluke in Polly Pott's Group 2 May Hill win at Doncaster last month — her fourth success on the spin — and she is an each-way contender again while Aidan O'Brien's Library could be an improver here.

Racing Post Selection: Commissioning @ 8/13

4.10pm bet365 Old Rowley Cup Handicap (Heritage Handicap, 1m4f)

Where will the music stop for Simply Sondheim? George Boughey's charge is 6-6 in handicaps now and readily won over 1m2f on soft ground here in August. He is 5lb higher now and takes a rise in class.

Alan King's Paradis could improve upped in distance but there is more to come too from LA YAKEL for William Haggas. 

This is just his fifth start and he travelled very impressively in last month's winning handicap bow over this trip at Ascot before getting up on the outside to win well. There is more in his locker.

Racing Post Selection: La Yakel @ 4/1

4.45pm Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies' Stakes Division 1 (7f)

Roger Varian's Mubhijah did all bar win over C&D a fortnight ago and has improved in each of three runs. 

She sets the standard but there are some promising newcomers to face down now, not least DREAM OF LOVE in Godolphin blue for Charlie Appleby and William Buick. 

His juveniles have been strong this year, with a near 37 per-cent strike-rate and this Shamardal filly has plenty going for her on paper.

Racing Post Selection: Dream Of Love @ SP

5.15pm Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies' Stakes Division 2 (7f)

As with the first division, the Appleby/Buick newcomer Whispering Words is not short of appeal on paper and should go well, but it might be worth siding with TAMALUK to improve on second start for Owen Burrows.

She looked in real need of the racecourse experience when fifth at Newbury (6f, good) on debut seven weeks ago, breaking slowly and running quite green throughout. 

That is proving to have been a warm little contest, however, and Jim Crowley's partner should know more now.

Racing Post Selection: Tamaluk @ SP

5.50pm Newmarket Pony Academy Pride Stakes (Fillies' And Mares' Group 3, 1m2f)

A wide open Group 3 to round things off. Shaara is on a roll for the Gosdens and had some of these behind in her Listed win at Yarmouth three weeks ago — more will be needed now however. 

Last year's winner Ville De Grace was ¾-length behind that afternoon and is 2lb better off now for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore.

ROGUE MILLENNIUM came up well shy in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in August but her earlier form this summer would give her claims in this field. She can bounce back for Tom Clover and Andrea Atzeni.

Racing Post Selection: Rogue Millennium @ SP

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