Royal Ascot Group 1 hero Accidental Agent is ready to shoulder top weight in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Friday (28th September), during The Cambridgeshire Meeting, having bounced back from a midsummer sickness bug.
A one mile contest which has attracted a classy five-runner field, the Shadwell Joel Stakes is one of a pair of £100,000 Group 2 events (together with the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes) that form the centerpiece of ‘Shadwell Day’, a seven-race card boasting total prize money of £400,000.
Accidental Agent must carry a 5lb weight penalty having given his trainer, Eve Johnson Houghton, a breakthrough top-level triumph in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal Meeting back in June. He has run just once since, posting an uncharacteristically lackluster display to finish tenth in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on 12th August.
His opponents are headed by Sir Michael Stoute’s Mustashry, a three-time Pattern Race scorer who overcame a drop back to seven furlongs to land the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster 11 days ago.
Stoute is also represented by the lightly-raced Regal Reality, winner of two of his four starts and third in the Group 3 Unibet Mile at Haydock on his latest appearance.
The field is completed by the Roger Varian-trained Zabeel Prince, absent since the Lockinge Stakes in May but an impressive pillar-to-post winner of his only previous 2018 start, the Listed Doncaster Mile; and Clive Cox’s dual Group 2 runner-up, Zonderland, who hinted at a return to form when finishing a close fourth in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood last time out.
Nine two-year-old fillies will line up for the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs. They include the Group 3 Shadwell Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes heroine, Yourtimeisnow, and the two-time Group 3 scorer, Main Edition.
Friday’s third and final Pattern Race, the Group 3 £60,000 Princess Royal Nayef Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile and a half, features Star Rock, placed in Group 2 company on each of her last two starts, among its nine runners.
Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Accidental Agent, said:
“Accidental Agent has got to carry a Group 1 penalty in the Shadwell Joel Stakes but I believe that he is still improving and I can’t see why that won’t negate the burden of having to give weight.”
“He has only run below par once this year and that was when he was under the weather.”
“I think he went over to France for the Jacques Le Marois with some kind of bug on him, he was very quiet while he was over there. The travelling brought it out and he was very low for two weeks afterwards.”
“He has thrived since then and he has to run in the Joel as he is a gross horse and waiting another month for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes would be too much.”
“I believe that a couple of the other runners have made the running in the past but if they don’t go a great pace, so be it, Accidental Agent did twice win over seven furlongs last autumn.”
“He seems in very good form but Mustashry looks useful and giving weight to him will be hard.”