Juan Miguel Echevarria was not likely to be a name familiar with many outside subscribers to Athletics Weekly prior to the moment he strode down the runway towards the long jump pit in the Stockholm Olympic Stadium last month.
When the Cuban touched down in the sand at the Diamond League meeting, he had recorded a measurement of 8.83 metres, the biggest leap for 23 years.
Unfortunately for the confident Echevarria, his measurement could not enter the record books as it was wind-assisted but he won the competition and a new teenage star had still been born in an instant.
A few days later at Royal Ascot, there was a similar feeling in looking at the clock following Alpha Centauri’s victory in the Coronation Stakes. Jessica Harrington’s mighty grey filly had not only decimated her opposition, she had smashed the track record (legally, this time) in one of those rare occasions which took the breath away and left spectators wondering if they had seen another sporting wunderkind.
Alpha Centauri had already proved herself to be an outstanding filly in the Irish Guineas and if she can replicate anything like that in Friday’s Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes, her rivals will be left trailing in her dust. Echevarria won his subsequent three events without quite such astonishing performances, and it might well be the same on the Newmarket July Course.
The difference, of course, is this is horse racing and Alpha Centauri can’t tell her coach that she’s not feeling quite so sharp, or that conditions aren’t appropriate. There are also betting angles to explore, not only in this race but across another good card.
Beautiful-looking filly who has been getting better all the time and came through with purpose at the end to finish a head-bobbing second in the Queen Mary Stakes.
It remains to be seen whether that level of form is better than that of Main Edition and Pelosa, who were first and second in the Albany Stakes, but Gossamer Wings’ full-sister was a miler so she ought to be suited by an extra furlong and she just might be the one with the most scope to improve again.
After waxing lyrical about Alpha Centauri, it does seem perverse to go against her when she will most likely win.
Clemmie has also been beaten hands-down by her twice this season. However, Aidan O’Brien’s runner has appeared to be slowly on the comeback trail and has been ridden on both occasions as if the future was in mind.
A winner of the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes here last year as part of a stellar juvenile campaign, Clemmie seems at least capable of improving past Coronation runner-up Threading to take second. And if Alpha Centauri is still feeling the effects of her giant Ascot effort, she looks the one who could take advantage.
The booking of Silvestre de Sousa looks encouraging aboard a horse who is not likely to do anything in a hurry.
The last time Project Bluebook was seen on the Flat, he was second to the progressive mare Taws at Chepstow last summer, and he seemed to struggle in three major handicap hurdles in the prevailing soft ground.
Has been freshened up by John Quinn and the champion jockey is making his lightest weight in order to be involved.
David Simcock’s colt made a striking impression on his debut second last season to Fajjaj, who is now hovering around Stakes level for Hugo Palmer.
Court Of Justice failed to get home on his belated 2018 reappearance at 10 furlongs and seemed far happier at a mile when readily breaking his duck at Beverley.
He is much the most unexposed in this field off a tempting mark of just 86.
Tom Peacock's How to bet £20 at Newmarket on Friday:
2.25 Newmarket: £5 win Gossamer Wings at 5-1
3.35 Newmarket: £2.50 each-way Clemmie at 15-2
4.45 Newmarket: £4 win Project Bluebook at 14-1
5.20 Newmarket: £6 win Court Of Justice at 7-2
£1 Lucky 15 on all four selections.
£2.50 each-way double on Gossamer Wings and Court Of Justice