Since early in the season we have seen a number of the combinations that
can happen when runners with previous experience meet newcomers.
Moderate type finds moderate, or worse, race = Baytown Blaze went to Southwell
and won a little comfortably and using the experience to make the most
of her ability. She manages to win because the race didn't include any
better types and the subsequent runs of those close up have confirmed this
so far (the third - Geoffdaw - runs on Friday at Folkestone as a further
Runner with moderate form but a '2' next to their name without ever having
got into the race goes to better race in entirely different conditions.
Ballycroy Boy starts joint favourite and finishes 8th.
Smaller, limited fillies with moderate to useless form meet bigger and
more able opponents. Either race on Bank Holiday Monday at Warwick where
better newcomers outclassed the lesser physical types.
Middling, but smaller & unexciting, physical type with a second place
previously having got into the race (but with a weakish finish) goes into
an average race with some potential in the newcomers. Instinct says he
should place but from a wide, 16 of 16, draw something will have too much
for him. Concertmaster starts favourite but around 4/1 and the price tells
you the story of him just being an okish type. He finished 3rd at Bath
earlier today but with two newcomers in front. One was Barry Hills Just
A Dancer who looked a smaller, leggy & compact type like her mother
but was natural enough to beat him from a better draw receiving 5lbs. Both
get beaten by a bigger 2yo (in size and build) who is clear after a furlong
and still pressing away. As with the seller winner on Monday, but at a
higher level, if you watch Vhujon
in the first furlong he's just a different type to those around him. He
starts at 33/1 but this is typical for his trainer - you can't tell which
is his best 2yo each year from 'the market' (Racing Post summariser take
note) you need to see them in the paddock before the race.
Which brings us to the Maiden at Leicester and the first example of an
event where a STO runner with solid credentials is well clear on profile
of the others including the newcomers. Silver
Guest made a typical placed debut for Mr Channon at Folkestone in a
race he has used before to start of solid 2yos capable of rating 80+ on
Official ratings. The market did tell the story in that he started around
the 5/4 mark and the lack of confidence because of his mental immaturity,
along with a punt on Nikindi, saw him drift to 2/1.
He ran a good race and learnt a lot by having to pull around and work through
horses to chase an opponent who had got a 2 length break on him. His inexperience
early in the race had got him into a position blocked off back on the stands'
rail. The way he made ground was likeable although he was going past seller
level horses like Fox's Den & Sauze D'Oulx but perfectly satisfactorily.
The trainer's second placer in the equivalent race in 2003 showed similar
inexperience before going on well late and improved greatly STO to win
by 6 lengths from a David Loder favourite for Sheikh Mohammed.
Silver Guest doesn't have anything of that calibre to beat on profile and,
unlike the STO runners mentioned above, has the size and physical scope
to deal with even a newcomer who is a bit above average. He lacks a little
build to make him truly better class but his trainer is notable for having
lighter and narrower 2yos who rate well. If you put a typical Hannon 2yo
purchase (Compact, deep chested & heavy build and height not a particular
issue) against a Channon one (Medium build, sometimes lighter, often a
bit leggy and average width) anyone could see the difference (and 'Trainer
Anyway, unless there's 'Vhujon' lurking a win by a couple of lengths for
Silver Guest would keep the story nice and tidy. The two other runners
with previous outings both ran in the Brocklesby and are the first later
runners from the race. David Evans' Silver
Wind started co-favourite in a guesser's market and ran on the preferred
side but never looked happy nor organised and faded tamely. Each year we
see a lot of duff debuts from the trainer and it's a rare occurence for
one to hide anything other than a moderate runner. As we saw with Vhujon
today and in 2006 with Bazroy (1st, 11/2), Diamond Hurricane (3rd, 20/1),
Slipasearcher (4th in a tough race, 20/1) & Valdan (4th in a tough
race, 20/1) if his runners have average, or better, ability it shows on
debut, whatever the SP. His only winner in 2006 to not make the first 4
on debut was seller class Pat Will who had a car park draw at Chester in
a 15 runner field, enough said.
The other runner in the Brocklesby was Turn
And River who ran on the stands' side and was second home there and
sixth overall. She started at 50/1 and was just behind a typical GM (George)
Moore debut runner who shows up well in Runswick
Bay (7/1) but will never win if that trainer's record stands up. He's
had one 2yo winner from 20 runners in the last three seasons (four have
placed on debut). The overall level of form of the Brocklesby away from
the placers looks moderate and the presence of these two in 5-6th a probable
confirmation of that.
It would be a surprise to see Turn And River improve enough to compete
for the win here. She will be the first STO runner for trainer Mel Brittain
who has 40 juveniles when he normally has a handful and sometimes no runner.
He's already run 6 of them and Turn And River achieved the best debut rating
so it will be informative to see how she fares STO. The economics of Mr
Brittain's venture isn't immediately apparent to us, most of the runners
so far have been cheapish buys and owned by him. Is he running the one's
he hasn't got owners for?
The newcomers are mildly interesting but nothing that looks superior in
the mould of Hellvellyn last year. As well as that Royal Ascot success
the winners in 2003-4 both ran at Royal Ascot. Silver Guest would seem
to be the only candidate here. Let's start with Gaitskell
trained by octogenarian Reg Hollinshead. He is an expensive purchase for
the trainer by recent standards and has just a so-so pedigree which suggests
a solid to good physical type given the 30,000 guineas price. Mr Hollinshead
used to be a trainer who regularly got long priced debuts winners (like
D. Evans, Bill Turner, M Dods, MW Easterby, etc) through having his 2yos
fit and competent on debut and being an unfashionable, non-betting stable.
Probably because of lack of material he hasn't had a debut winner in the
last three years but the ratings suggest his runners are still close to
their peak on debut and definitely at full capacity on the second run.
His first runner in 2004 was a 25/1 second and last year a 33/1 third which
suggests he's still doing the same things. So, despite the more fashionable
trainers represented Gaitskell probably has the most potential to trouble
Silver Guest if anything can.
Richard Hannon has already had a debut winner with Fat Boy but his second
runner was more typical of his 'nice outing' FTO runs at Bath today. Avertitop
was seen at the sales and he was a small, compact and ready type and probably
just a moderate to average winner. Mr Hannon may have another debut winner
with his 'Early 15' runners but it is likely to be with a useful type and
Avertitop doesn't tick that box.
Paul D'Arcy had a debut winner with his first runner - Kylayne - on Monday
at 6/1 and putting up a good performance. He gets his early debuts fit
and they normally compete well if they have ability. We should expect Bosun
Breese to be ready for action then but he also got an unenthusiastic sales
report. A different type to Avertitop in that he was lengthy and appeared
a little dip-backed although he may have grown out of (or into) that. He
was powerful behind but overall with a bits-and-pieces set-up. He'll need
to have come together well to be better than a minor future winner.
For the severalth time let's quickly summarise Kevin Ryan's developing
approach with 2yos. This has needed to develop because of his increased
number and quality of juveniles recently linked with the good results.
Early in the season the bulk of his debuts are expendable 'STO fillies'
who are cheapish buys or moderate owner-breds. They will be got very fit
for a STO win attempt and although they very rarely win FTO the rating
they achieve is a good indicator of how good they are. We have seen a number
of debuts of this type already but no STO attempt yet.
He doesn't tend to start his better colts until late in April and they
don't tend to win on debut until into May. He has shown us one prospectively
better colt already in 2007 who ran ok without looking 'there'. Here he
runs Kersaint who doesn't look
a better type and probably just a typical debut runner rather than one
likely to compete for the win.
Finally to Kairaba who is a half
brother to Cassiara who got quite close to Helvellyn when finishing third
in this race last year as the trainer's first runner of the season (trainers
really do follow the same paths repeatedly). Since he took the licence
back from his wife after that unfortunate spot of bother his first runner
each year has been the only one with any ability. In 2004 the cheaply bought
Golden Anthem won a class H race on May 10th and later ran in Listed races.
In 2005 the moderate runner Glasnas Giant was second in a poor Warwick
fillies' maiden on March 29th but never won and ran in a Conditions race
later. Last year Cassiara (a tall, leggy filly able to compete well early
because of her larger frame) was third here and never won but managed to
place later in a thin fillies' Listed race (along with one of Mr Ryan's
STO wind-'em-ups so you can gauge the strength).
Kairaba is a colt and only cost 5,000 guineas but is presumably the best
that the trainer has. He's by the first season sire Storming
Home who doesn't seem likely to get 5f winners but the dam was 'all
5f' so should help things. Another that might show up well without threatening
In summary, after three winners at 25/1, 33/1 & 33/1 in 12 races to
start the season - come on Silver Guest, restore a bit of order. Or failing
that let's hope Gaitskell is the surprise package.