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Newmarket preview: Middle Park Stakes (15.10)

Shalaa has looked a juvenile of the highest order and can make it five wins on the bounce in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket (15.10).

The John Golden trained colt came good at the second time of asking when scoring in good style by two lengths at this venue, and took the step up into Group 2 company in his stride when showing a smart turn of pace to beat Steady Pace by one length in the July Stakes at headquarters.

Shalaa then made all to land the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, quickening nicely when asked to easily beat the very useful Tasleet by 2 3/4 lengths.

The son of Invincible Spirit backed that up with one of best performances by a juvenile in Europe this season when beating Gutaifan by 1 3/4 lengths in Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville.

Shalaa ran on strongly to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests in very testing conditions, and it was a most taking performance which earned him an official rating of 120.

That sets the bar very high in this line up, and gives Shalaa 6lb and upwards in hand on his rivals.

It makes Shalaa impossible to oppose, and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle he should complete the five-timer with the minimum of fuss.

If Shalaa fails to live up to expectations, Venturous could be the one to take advantage.

The Charlie Appleby trained colt shaped very well on debut in a hot maiden on the July course at this venue when fifth to the very exciting Emotionless, and duly improved for the outing to readily open his account in a 6f maiden at the track.

Venturous backed that up with a smooth success in a conditions’ contest at Doncaster, showing a smart turn of foot to score by a cheeky 1/2 length.

This represents a big step up in class, but the son of Raven’s Pass is held in high regard and clearly on an upward curve.

Venturous also looks the type who has plenty more to offer and his chances should not be underestimated given connections.

Coral’s top tip: Shalaa looks a worthy odds-on favourite to complete the five-timer and is impossible to oppose. Venturous can chase him home for the forecast