Pavilion Stakes Preview: Rebel can strike on the all-weather

The Group 3 contest will be held on the all-weather at Newcastle this year.
The Group 3 contest will be held on the all-weather at Newcastle this year.

Nick Seddon previews Thursday's rearranged Pavilion Stakes at Newcastle, which has been won by some smart three-year-olds in recent years...

Traditionally run at Ascot, the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes is a recognised trial for the Commonwealth Cup. It has yet to produce the winner, though it has unearthed some seriously smart sprinters in recent years, perhaps none more so than the four-time Group 1 winner Blue Point - who completed the remarkable feat of winning both the King's Stand Stakes and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. 

Bearing in mind that the race is run on a straight six furlongs at its spiritual home, Newcastle is about as similar a replacement to Ascot as you could ask for, and 14 runners are due to take their chance in this year's renewal on Thursday afternoon. 

Conceding weight to the field is the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained A'Ali, who carries a penalty here by virtue of his three wins at Group 2 level last season, including in the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal meeting. He was a smart juvenile last term, and his disappointing effort at the Breeders' Cup looks worth forgiving on the back of a busy campaign last November. He will likely put up a bold show here, though he's vulnerable to an unexposed type on these terms and better value can be found elsewhere. 

While A'Ali stands alone as the sole winner of a British Group 2 race in the field, a handful have listed successes to their name, including Keep Busy and Aberama Gold. The latter won the Rockingham Stakes in soft conditions over this trip at York last October, and while that was a useful effort, he has shown his best form in softer conditions so far and he may prove vulnerable here as a consequence - a comment which also applies to Keep Busy, who signed off with victory in an attritional renewal of a listed race at Chantilly last November, and will need more here. 

The other pattern winner in the field is the Marco Botti-trained Malotru, who's a warm order in the betting at the time of writing. A Group 2 winner in Italy on just his second career outing last June, he struggled to make his presence felt in two subsequent starts in Group company on these shores in the Gimcrack Stakes and Mill Reef Stakes respectively, finishing no better than fourth on either occasion. However, he was impressive when making a winning reappearance in the Spring Cup at Lingfield in February, showing an impressive burst of pace, and he looks ready for the return to this level. There's likely to be more to come from him yet, but he's short enough in the betting at around the 2/1 mark at the time of writing, and better value can be found elsewhere.

Three more to consider are Dream Shot, Ventura Lightning and Troubador. The first-named had a busy time of things as a juvenile last season, making nine starts and winning twice, and he produced several creditable efforts in Group company, including when a fine second behind A'Ali in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September. He re-opposes on better terms with that rival, but would need more for win purposes.

Troubador was particularly productive as a juvenile, winning four times in eight starts, and while he signed off with a good effort to finish second in the listed Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar in October, this is tougher. A similar comment applies to Ventura Lightning, who produced his best effort to date when behind Aberama Gold in the Rockingham at York, but takes a step up in class here.

Instead, it could be worth siding with another Ventura, the Richard Fahey-trained Ventura Rebel. He has previous with A'Ali, having finished a narrow second in the Norfolk last year - losing a shoe in the process - before finishing fourth in a typically electric renewal of the Super Sprint at Newbury a month later. We haven't seen Ventura Rebel since due to injury, but the form of his Norfolk run has been franked in no uncertain terms since, and he re-opposes against A'Ali on favourable terms. The way he's finished his races on his two most recent outings over the minimum trip suggest that the extra furlong will suit him here, and bearing in mind that Fahey will almost certainly have him ready to go first time out, he looks the best bet at the prices.


Paviliion Stakes, Newcastle, Thursday 4th June - back Ventura Rebel at 5/1

Newcastle 15:55
Ventura Rebel silk

Ventura Rebel

Ascot Gold Cup
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