BRITISH 2YO RACING - 2006 Season Race
Race 200 : Thirsk June 20th, 7f Maiden (5)
Note:- Bold numbers in the grey boxes are the scale for the estimated
rating level for this race. The position of the horse's name indicates
the expected performance level as assessed before the race. The table can
be read from left to right as the expected finishing positions of the runners.
June 19th SUMMING UP
The first open maiden of the season over 7f in the north each year and
a race with an interesting history because of this. The race was divided
last year and here is what B2yoR wrote about the normal race quality :-
"Usually a pretty dire race with distinct similarities to early season
5f races. This is one of the first 7f races in the season and trainers
tend to use it for 2yos who have already demonstrated they are slow. They
are therefore running in an early 7f race to try to get a win before the
better 7f+ types appear (and thus similar to the 'cheap speed' early season
5f 2yos, 'cheap slows'?).
Now, being slow is subtly different from being suited to longer distances.
If you lack at least some pace you are going to struggle to win at any
distance other than in the lowest grade against other slow horses. Therefore,
for the majority of them this type of race is there best chance of winning.
2004 was a classic example where 12 declared runners never won another
race between them.
No runner who didn't make the first two in this race have ever won outside
selling level at 2yo. The general low quality means that the favourites
have a very good record. The 7f allows most of them to show just how slow
they are over an extended distance. Those with at least some pace
have plenty of time to overcome any inexperience or other difficulty to
get to the front."
The two divisions lived down to expectations with the first division produced
a single later winner (finished 3rd) in a poor race who then got thrashed
off an OR in the low 70s that the BHB handicapper feels he has to give
to any maiden winner no matter what quality they actually are. The second
divison produced a princely two later winners - the runner-up managed to
win a Class 7 Banded AW race on their sixth outing and the third (hampered
during the race and running on best at the end) managed an ordinary maiden
The majority of those 2004 & 2005 fields looked garbage on profile
and the one, proper, later maiden winner was a Maktoum owner bred who was
identifiable as the best type. Given that background looking at the declarations
for this race is a slightly pleasant surprise. There are three of four
possibles for minor maiden wins and more than one with some reasonable
form in the book. The trainers represented are also an interesting group
who include those who use the race for particular types so we can compare
their runners this year.
Brian Meehan's only runner in recent years (2004) had shown placed form
over 6f on his two previous outings while looking too slow to win. He won
at 8/11f from a weak field that never won a 2yo race between them. Greyt
Big Stuff has looked to have more ability than his previous representative
in two runs including a place last time. However, he has been short of
pace as the races quickened before gathering himself to make some ground
back in the last half furlong. This race looks made for him so long has
he handles the turn.
Mick Channon runs Suhayl Star after a break and it is instructive
to recall what the profile said for the first division of this race in
2005 :- "M Channon runs Royal Power who steps up to 7f from 5f
in one go after 3 runs at that distance including an April debut. He won
a division of the race with the useful 2yo and later Group 3 winner Naahy.
He had run twice over 5f and been placed showing 60s form. He won this
race comfortably and developed to rate late 80s over 7f. The trainer is
notably for trying 2yos over 5f that others would not."
Royal Power ironed out his opponents last year and Suhayl Star has some
elements in common. He has had three early runs over 5f and began with
a very promising second on the AW in April. Two of those behind have won
open maidens at 5f & 6f. If he had added another solid run at 5f and
then stepped straight to 7f he would have been top rated for this race.
However, his attitude appeared to get the better of him in two later 5f
races and he faded badly twice having got stewed up brfore the race. He
probably owns more basic pace than Greyt Big Stuff but you would be brave
to trust him to come back to form but he may be ew value depending on the
Straight Face is another who has shown enough to win a weak edition
of this race but this does look a bit better than normal. Howard Johnson
ran the slow Blushing Hilary on debut in the race in 2005. Here he appears
to run a better type with Centenary Star and he received a sound
sales rating, especially in the context of a race like this. He was lengthy,
weak legged and an obvious slower galloper. But he had scope to develop
and given that his trainer's charges often show their best form early he
would be competitive here if he developed satisfactorily.
There are also possibilities amongst those lower rated for the day. Mark
Johnston has run four in the race in the last three seasons and three of
those have won later. Two of those have been for the Maktoums and close to the best 2yos
that have run in the race. Kirklees has a usable 8f pedigree but
has already been 'relegated' to the Maktoum's second string (hangers on
team?) 'Jumeirah Racing'. He's likely to be slow but probably able to win
a slow event somewhere. Tim Easterby has run eight in the race in the last
four years with two STO winners although the other 6 never won as juveniles.
Jane Of Arc is his STO runner here but did not show enough on debut
to suggest she can compete although she appears to be the first string..
He also runs Smugglers Bay who looked a possible development type
at the sales although with a note that he may lack too much build and be
too narrow. Something to check on the day to see what future he has after
a typically quiet debut for the trainer.
Since Kevin Ryan appears able to get wins with anything this season Meridian
Bay is another to at least assess for the future. He has an all American
pedigree and is by a speed sire. The fact that he starts in a 7f race at
the earliest opportunity ridden by a 5lb apprentice does not suggest he
is a lot of cop.
One other point to note is the effect of the draw at Thirsk. If you watch
this race then note how close the long, left hand, bend is to the start
of the race. This can encourage a 'charge' for the lead and good positions
and any horse caught three, or more, wide will lose ground. The long straight
gives the 2yos of the variable quality the time to sort thermselves out
to a large extent. Centenary is in stall 2 and well placed if he breaks
well, however, Greyt Big Stuff (8), Suhayl Star (12) & Straight Face
(13) are going to need to work to get a good place on the bend.
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