The Chesham Stakes is run over 7f and historically tries to provide a a
target for more staying bred 2yos and a vague attempt to reverse the trend
toward sprinter-miler pedigrees and more precocious 2yos. Until recently
the qualification was that the 2yo's sire must have won over 12f during
it's career but this was producing small fields so that the limit was brought
down the 10f. The race occasionally produces a runner who progresses to
better races but the bulk of the field will be below Listed level. The
Result from 2006
was typical in that sense with the Mark Johnston trained with the later
winners from the race at maiden level and odd Listed and lower Group placings
at best. The 2005 winner Championship Point won a 10f Listed race at the
meeting yesterday at 25/1 and the placed horses from that edition have
long been confined to middling handicap quality.
This year's edition looks a competitive one with some hints of better class.
There is no Class Ladder for this race because of the limited amount we
have sen of the runners and also because of a strong Northern representation
who have not been seen in paddock review. Of those seen Azeer for Peter
Chapple-Hyam looked of good enough quality to compete for the places in
this race at Windsor. He was given a notably quiet ride in that race never
put into contention and did well to finish quite close in fourth. That
was a tougher race than it looked at the time with Dresden Doll improving
a lot from debut and the thrid Shifting Star touted as being useful (he
won a moderate Newmarket maiden last evening). Azeer looks a good each-way
prospect for the race although a little on the small side.
Of the others Maze has a good profile
with a solid debut win and running for a trainer with a very good record
at the meeting in the last two seasons. Mark Johnston is another with a
good record, especially in this race given the emphasis he places on buying
staying pedigrees. The filly Double
Attack put up a likeable performance at Hamilton on debut and kept
on well having set a sound pace on easier going. The other best profile
is for Ramona Chase who made a bold attempt to win over 5f FTO and steps
up to 7f in one go. His pedigree says that is what he wants and his trainer
also has a solid record at the meeting and had a fourth in the Albany yesterday.
In summary a difficult race to have strong views on given the new distance
for all the runners. On profile preference would be for Maze and Ramona
Chase to compete for the win with Azeer as the best each-way alternative.
ALBANY STAKES -
So, Nijoom Dubai wins at 50/1 - how did that happen? She only cost 19,000
guineas at the sales but ended up being owned by Jaber Abdullah. This owner
has long seemed to have a privileged position with the Channon yard and
these cheaper purchases that end up with this owner contain more than the
normal quota of 'unexpected improvers'. It is worth noting that although
officially sold at the sales to Channon's main agent (Gill Richardson)
she was actually bred by the trainer's Norman Court Stud so picking out
precisely who owned what and when is a little tricky. She made her debut
at Newbury in a Conditions event which not unusual for the trainer/owner
combination although not a sign of better class. However, she was well
supported on the day and the vibe was that she was useful.
Like a number of Channon 2yos this year (not a trait his 2yo always have)
she was immature, prancing, sweaty and generally 'on her toes' on debut
(we could cite Silver Guest, Legendary Guest, Hatta Fort, Aaim To Storm
& Theebah as others). The race was run at a crawl and she did well
enough to progress through to 2nd from 6th at halfway without looking better
class. If you look at these two pictures of her from Newbury she looks
like two different horses - [A]
In the first she is caught in mid prance and is holding herself taut with
arched neck. She looks quite powerful and mature. In the second picture
she looks more like the young, lightly built young lady the review notes
Anyway, she goes to Folkestone for what looked an average auction event
and again the betting told you that she was a goodish one who was expected
to win. However, she looked dreadful in paddock review and B2yoR laid her
on the day. Her behaviour had gone beyond the mildly wilful to being plain
awkward. Sweating on it's own isn't a positive or negative and a sB2yoR
just takes it as a sign to look for other factors that go with it. On this
day her behaviour along witht he sweating said that she had 'lost it' and
wasn't going to perform today.
Again two pictures capture some of this - [A]
The first shows that her coat condition didn't look good and suggested
she wasn't 'well in herself'. The blurriness is because of her behaviour.
This was early on and she was throwing her head around, tail swishing,
pulling away from the handler and generally giving the impression she wasn't
happy. In the second picture she has settled down somewhat with jockey
aboard and walking to the track and some of that arched neck, taut power
has returned. However, her coat isn't right under the saddle and she still
isn't really 'with us'.
The Folkestone race was a bit stronger than it looked and it split into
two groups but her performance was still below average. She should have
been able to cope with Archived and Bosun Breese who ran on her side but
made only a little late ground on them. Which brings us to Ascot and this
is how she looked - [A].
Still lively and on her toes but in a good way this time and attending
and responding to the (two) handlers and not fighting them. The coat has
improved and the taut, arch necked, powerful way she holds herself has
returned. She also looks less lightly made around her 'loins' (behind the
saddle). So, in retrospect looking at the pictures she was ready for the
day and we saw what she has presumably been showing hints of at home in
Mr Channon's relatively unstressed pre-race preparation.