"Racing Ahead" - September 2005: "Newbury Paddock Review"
The acompanying pictures were taken at Newbury on August 12th. The three labelled A-C are from the 7f Listed race and those D-F from the second division of the fillies' 6f maiden. In each case they are of the winner, a placed runner and one that was unplaced. Try to rank the pictures in finishing order.
The Listed race produced an interesting result with two fillies by the first season sire Galileo first and second. Picture B is the winner Innocent Air and C the runner-up Galileos's Star. In comparison Innocent Air was a better type in most areas - bigger, better build and a notably athletic mover. She also had more scope to improve further.
The other pictured runner in The Snatcher who is smaller and more compact than Innocent Air although on the positive size he is deep through the body and well muscled. He is a good example of the type of precocious 2yo that wins in early season but struggles in better company later.
The second division of the fillies' maiden was won by Mostaqueleh (picture D) who is a half sister to the useful Muqbil. Like him she is not that neatly made and looks a little out of proportion in front. She is quite powerfully built but does not convince as being high class and she is likely to struggle in better company and rate around 95.
Picture F shows Short Dance who was probably the biggest in the group and a taking type although with a wilful attitude. She did not look fully prepared for her debut and it was a good sign she ran so well. She ought to be able to rate between 86-94 over 7f.
The other runner is Miss Redactive who has a workmanlike sprint pedigree. If you compare her to The Snatcher she is a similar compact type and different to the other lengthier fillies She looked as though she still needed to develop to fulfil her potential but would be competitive in weaker sprint races and can probably rate between 65-74 at 2yo.
The fields at Newbury also highlighted a point about the use of cross nosebands. The usual view is that are the sign of a 'strong puller', i.e. a horse that will fight the jockey and refuse to settle.
J. Gosden ran six fillies, including winners Innocent Air and Chatila, in the 2yo races and all wore cross nosebands. Either he's very unlucky or possibly his training regime is producing hard pullers? What's more likely is that he's using it as a means to force the horses to breathe only through their noses and not through their mouths.
Increases in breathing problems with racehorses have led to the use of of nosebands and tongue ties to minimise breathing through the mouth. The reason being that this brings in contaminated air and may be linked to increased likelihood of breathing problems.
The majority of Godolphin and Aiden O'Brien 2yos have worn one, or both, of these aids in recent seasons. Presumably in response to the latest veterinary research rather than their inability to teach horses to race compliantly. In general, a punter can ignore their use unless you have direct evidence that they will effect an individual horse's behaviour.
To finish it is worth having a progress report on the six 2yos summarised last month. Advanced, Elusive Warrior, Grand Entrance and Tap My Feet have performed to their review levels in subsequent runs. The other two - Sun Catcher and Veba - were unplaced on debut but looked to have the scope to improve to be competitive in ordinary maidens. Both have run twice since and shown no worthwhile improvement.
Sun Catcher has front run in his two later runs and given a strong ride last time suggesting he may be lazy. However, he appears to lack the athleticism to lengthen in front and has therefore been easily outpaced by a range of better movers later in his races. Try watching his action in front the next time he runs.
Veba stepped up to 7f as expected on his second run but showed moderate form on the polytrack surface. He was then dropped back to 6f and again proved to lack the pace for sprint distances. The signs suggest he has limited ability and the concerns over his narrowness and lack of muscle are a probable cause. This is an area that will be covered next month.
However, he is with an astute trainer and it will be interesting to
see what he can achieve in his first nusery race run over 7f or 8f. He's
likely to get a rating in the 60s on what he's achieved and he still ought
to be competitive in longer races off that level.