Action on the track might be drawing to close at Newmarket for another year, but there are plenty of highlights to reflect upon that have made the 2022 season on both the Rowley Mile and the July Course one to remember.
From breakthrough victories to surprise successes this season has had it all in terms of stories created to serve a reminder that once again rarely is there ever a dull moment at Flat racing’s historical headquarters.
Back when it all started in April, the bet365 Craven Meeting saw the reappearance of 2021 champion two year old Native Trail who advertised his claims of QIPCO 2000 Guineas glory with a victory over course and distance in the bet365 Craven Stakes.
All eyes were fixed on the son of Oasis Dream maintaining his unbeaten record later in the month to give both trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick a first victory in the opening Classic of the season.
However, Native Trail had to play second best to stablemate Coroebus, who produced a stunning late surge to give Appleby his first 2000 Guineas success and winning rider James Doyle a breakthrough Classic win.
Group One winning rider Doyle did not have to wait long for his second Classic triumph as 24 hours later he steered Cachet, who had returned to action with victory at the track in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes, to victory in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
Making all under Doyle the 16-1 chance prevailed by a neck from Prosperous Voyage to give winning trainer George Boughey, who trains less than two miles from the track on the town’s Hamilton Road, a landmark first Classic win.
As the spring action on the Rowley Mile came to a conclusion the focus switched to the July Course and in particular the three days that make up the Moët & Chandon July Festival.
Having had to play second best in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas just over two months earlier Prosperous Voyage took her form to new heights when defeating the previously unbeaten Inspiral to spring one of the surprises of the season in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes.
Although Inspiral was priced up at 1-7 to secure a sixth straight success, and inflict a fourth defeat on Prosperous Voyage, it was not to be as the tables were turned with the daughter of Zoffany emerging victorious by a length and three quarters under Rob Hornby.
Things were to get even better for Hornby 24 hours later when teaming up with popular filly Alcohol Free in the feature race of the meeting - the Darley July Cup.
Having appeared to benefit from a drop back to six furlongs on her previous start at Royal Ascot the four year old daughter of No Nay Never vindicated connections' decision to keep her at that distance in the Group One feature.
Putting her assured stamina to good use the Andrew Balding-trained filly stayed on well to land the fourth Group One of her career and give owner Jeff Smith a second win in the race, some 38 years after Chief Singer claimed the 1984 renewal.
With the long summer days turning into autumn action moved back to the Rowley Mile where it was the turn of the two year-olds to shine at the three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting.
No season at Newmarket would be complete without an Aidan O’Brien-trained Group One winner and the talented, but charismatic, Blackbeard provided the Ballydoyle master with that success when storming to glory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. It was a record-extending seventh Middle Park Stakes success for O’Brien.
The only blot on the copybook of the Ralph Beckett-trained Lezoo came when finishing second behind Mawj in the Group Two Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, sponsored by bet365, over on the July Course.
However, the daughter of Zoustar was to exact revenge on her conqueror that day when making a triumphant Group One debut under champion jockey William Buick in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.
Group race glory had eluded jockey Neil Callan since returning from Hong Kong to ride in Britain last year on a full time basis. However that all changed aboard the Kevin Ryan-trained Fonteyn in this year’s Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes.
Nine years had passed since Callan had claimed his last domestic Group One success aboard Astaire for close friend Ryan in 2013 Middle Park Stakes, but that all changed when steering the daughter of Farhh to glory in the mile prize.
And so to Dubai Future Champions Weekend, where stars are born and dreams about the prospect of Classic glory the following season start to take shape.
A year after saddling Inspiral to victory in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile the father and son team of John and Thady Gosden-looked in a good position to follow up that success with the previously unbeaten Commissioning.
After making a winning debut on the July Course the daughter of Kingman followed it up with a decisive success back on the Rowley Mile in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Rockfel Stakes.
Sent off the 8-13 favourite to maintain her unbeaten record, Commissioning read the script well to give jockey Robert Havlin an overdue first Group One success much to the delight of his weighing room colleagues.
On Dubai Future Champions Day itself trainer Charlie Appleby watched Flying Honours advertise his Derby claims at Epsom Downs in the Group Three Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes, before stablemate Silver Knott clinched victory in the Emirates Autumn Stakes at the same level.
The day though belonged to trainer Andrew Balding, and in particular Chaldean, who moved close to the head of the 2023 QIPCO 2000 Guineas betting when emulating his sire Frankel to complete a four-timer for the season in the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
After securing wins in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York and the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, Chaldean continued his progression when striking gold in the seven furlong prize, 12 years on from Frankel’s success in the race to give Balding his most significant success for Juddmonte and plenty to dream about over the winter.
The nights might start soon drawing in but judging by the performances seen at the end of the season there already looks plenty of things to get excited about in 2023.