An interesting set up for the two all-weather races on Friday despite the
small fields. The Lingfield race is another chance to compare some early
season races form. The two races feature debut runners for good trainers
Michael Bell & Raiph Beckett who have both already produced a debut
winner this year. Added to that two important younger trainers in 2yo terms
make their starts with Mark Wallace and Eoghan O'Neill.
The five runners at Southwell are all newcomers and in an auction race
the colts range from 9-1lbs down to at 8-9lbs. The one filly in carries
8-7 so is 3lbs worse off than normal weight-for-age with the two bargain
basement males. The Southwell fibresand surface usually produces an understandable
result with the best horses getting to the front by the finish. The testing
nature of the surface ensures the lesser athletes are burnt out almost
in ability order assuming a solid pace. Last year's Result
shows a typical outcome with 3 of the 4 capable of winning above claiming
level making the first three places in line with their readiness. Bill
Turner made a slow start in 2007 and likes to win sellers even with better
horses which perhaps explains why Ocean Transit finished in the ruck on
the way to seller & nursery successes later in the year. [Quite what
happened on Monday this week at the course with two lesser types beating
newcomers from solid stables is hard to know. The percentage call would
be that Count Almaviva and Handcuff failed to perform behind Bad Beat.]
Michael Bell usually starts out with a batch of usable 2yos
of various abilities in April and debut winners are rare and promising
places more typical. Yesterday's win with Art Connoisseur at Leicester
might suggest his runners are more forward than usual but he also probably
found a weak race to win. With Jamie Spencer again on board there's a chance
that Bahamian Babe is another natural. She's likely to be a more
limited type than the best of the colts though and comes close up in third
by profile rating.
Mark Wallace used to be an assistant to Mick Channon but
has shown a different approach to juvenile racing since he started in 2003.
Mr Channon likes to get them on the course and see how they go and develop
with racing if needs be and some will race a lot. Wallace is much more
selective & targeted with his runners and seems to know their abilities
before they run. His record with those chosen to make early debuts in April
in the last two years is 8 seasons winners from 9 who started that early.
The one failure was with a poor, plating class, horse not good enough to
win. Of the eight who were successful as many as 7 won at least twice for
him and the exception was claimed from him after the first win. That's
pretty impressive in these days when multiple wins are difficult to achieve.
In 2007 the 3 later winners who debuted in April all placed FTO including
Geoffdaw in this race. In 2006 he had a better group in quality terms and
two of the 5 winners won on debut with another two placing. The exception
was the later claimer winner who started out in a similar race to seller
laggard from 2007.
Putting all that together you would be disappointed if Hartshead Flyer
isn't a usable 2yo of some type even before you've seen him. His pedigree
is just about ok for 5f now on this surface but the 8,000gns price would
suggest a 65-75 official rater. So, a similar sort of debut to Geoffdaw
last year in what looks an easier race depending how good Red Cell &
Bahamian Babe prove to be.
Eoghan O'Neill is a similarly promising and upcoming trainer
like Wallace. He is also similar in that he takes care in assessing his
2yos before they run, knows how good they are and tries to pitch them at
the right level. Until just before the season started he had the advantage
of training the Fretwell horses at that trainer's stables but they parted
company in what you would presume were acrimonious circumstances. But,
that presumably wont have changed his methods and much of the preparation
for the season would already have been done. His Red Cell runs for
owners Premspace for whom he had a debut winner at the course in 2007 with
the useful Ellmau and a winter AW highlight with Rapidity who won at all
four AW tracks in a short period.
If he's here and running for this trainer then he's a usable 2yo and should
be ready to run well first time as with the Wallace runner. He has to give
Hartshead Flyer 3lbs because he cost 4,000gns more at the sales and his
pedigree is a little more tuned for 5f early. He's by first season sire
Kheleyf who has already managed a winner with the nippy Percolater at Lingfield.
The other two are cheap buys with Dispol Bertie a
1,000gns buy as a yearling which is bottom-of-the-barrel money when the
minimum bid is 800. He runs for trainer Paul Midgley who has already run
three cheap 2yos who have all shown up well at some point in their races.
He's likely to be fit and competent FTO but you have to think the better
horses will wear him down sometime after the 2f pole. [Which makes the
Monday race at the course suspect because Midgley's Dispol Mulofky with
a similar profile hung on for 2nd].
Mick Easterby runs the even cheaper Kings House who
cost the minimum 800gns at his sales and was presumably sold on a single
bid to the breeder. Easterby trained the dam who cost a highish €40,000
but showed poor form in four runs and the breeding career is going worse
so far if she's turning out 800gns fare. Somewhere amongst the trainers
early debuts will be a solid 2yo who surprises because he has his 2yos
ready enough FTO but Kings House doesn't look to be that type on profile.
More one that will struggle to place in weak sellers in the North.
In summary an interesting heat with two certain 2yos winners in
and the best of Red Cell & Hartshead Flyer should probably win. Bahamian
Babe is likely to be a small but neat and ready 2yo who will win at some
level, probably against fillies. She need to be better than profile to
win this first go. In a tight choice slight preference would just be for
The Lingfield race is a fillies' maiden at level weights.
Three of them have already run and the best placer has been Dr Wintringham
who was fourth at Kempton in a 'Class 4'. This is a Class 5 but probably
isn't a drop in quality, as opposed to race 'Class' because the field for
that Kempton race didn't look strong. In the field at Kempton Asaint Needs
Brass looked the best type and went like it in the race. However, having
gone clear he faded late and a bunch of others plugging on finished in
a heap. The view would have to be that it was lower quality form and the
question is how much improvement Dr Wintringham has?
On the plus side her trainer has run two on STO this week and both have
made substantial ratings improvements from debut. She ran to a higher level
FTO and improvement of that kind would see her a clear winner. On paddock
review she looked well bought at €5,500 because she was active, ready
and with a good attitude. But, on size and compactness you would expect
her to be a real OR60s rater in the long term. Which means she would set
an ok standard here but not unreachable by a better newcomer. You wouldn't
expect her to show the type of zip the lengthier Percolater did for example.
Assuming that Amosite is dismissable the further question is
what to make of Alphabeth. She finished 7th but went 3rd best for
4f of the Warwick maiden in which Percolater was second and She's A Shaw
Thing was successful. The first and second have both won this week while
the 5th & 6th have been well beaten. The fourth ran as third against
colts yesterday while looking another 60s rater. Alphabeth faded badly
that day but made the best show of the Channon debuts runners to date.
She has to start from a low base and drifted badly in the market FTO. She
should improve to compete for the places.
Amongst the newcomers Maybe Blue is dismissable on profile and the possibility
of a better debut rest with either Kate The Great or Raggle Taggle who
both run for above average trainers.
The good record the April debut runners have in 2006-7 for
Mark Wallace has been discussed in relation to Red Cell's Southwell opener.
We should assume Kate The Great is another competitive 2yo and she
cost a relatively high price as a foal given her pedigree. We don't know
how ready the trainer's 2yos will be this year but there are prospects
that Kate The Great is a better type than Dr Wintringham and can compete
with her for the win.
Mr Beckett's Raggle Taggle has just a middling pedigree
by early 2yo standards but is by a likeable sire in 2yo terms with Tagula.
We can rely on her being likely to be a competitive 2yo but with less prospect
than Kate The Great of being superior enough to deal with those with previous
runs on debut.
In summary a typical set-up for an early season race and the race
Dr Wintringham comes out of is perhaps one to be wary of. She looked limited
to OR60s which might be good enough if this is a weak race but Kate The
Great might be capable of better. Alphabeth is an interesting possibility
if at a longer price because she ran better than her finishing position
suggests at Warwick. She was perhaps the 'real' third best filly in that
race if she stays 5f on this surface.
Some brief notes from Leicester on Thursday. The profile for the race asked
the question of what to expect from Transcentral in paddock review and
suggested there was likely to be something better amongst the colts. Well,
she was a little better physical type than expected and the colts for the
most part disappointing. Which is a rough summation of the result with
Transcentral fading from a distant second late and only comfortably beaten
by the expensive colt Art Connoisseur.
Try looking at this Picture
of Liani who ran for Mark Brisbourne last year and who cost a minimum price
of 800gns. Keep this in mind of the small, narrow chested, light build
rabbit (he's under 5 foot to the withers). He got placed in sellers and
an OR of 60 before being unable to win off that and being down to 53 at
the turf season close. He's currently rated 50 and still a maiden and presumably
on his way to a banded/classified future. Then look at this Picture
of Dr Wintringham who's the likely 'form favourite' at Lingfield today.
Another small one, that's the head of a, probably, 5 foot tall man we can
see over her. More compact (i.e. less lengthy front to back) than Liani,
with a bit more build and more neatly put together overall. If he could
place in sellers around the OR56 mark she's perhaps a little better but
not an ogre for the Lingfield race in physical terms.
Then look at this one of Transcentral
(who cot 2,000gns to Liani's 800gns). A little bit taller than the other
two although still small and a little more build. Compact in the way that
Dr Wintringham and without the lighter build through the loins that Liani
had. She's a handful and wont concentrate on anything except being awkward
and what she wants to do. This Picture
shows her on being led to the course having caused a kerfuffle when the
jockey was loaded and the trainer has had to take over from the tiny lass
who had been dragged all over the parade ring. The jockey looks remarkably
calm and in control considering the palaver she's causing and it's probably
the first time he's sat on her.
The point being that even in a very simple analysis of size, build &
shape the differences that go into a real OR50s, OR60s, etc horses can
show through when you compare them. Transcentral looks a usable 60s rater
compared to Liani and probably sets a reasonable benchmark for the Leicester
form. She does need to settle down mentally to show her best form. One
caveat here would be that this is real OR figures = what the horse
is actually capable of on the absolute all-horses-ever scale. There's lots
o ways to end up rated above 70 without ever being capable of it and running
in early season is one of them. Transcentral will probably get 70+ for
finishing 3rd yesterday. One of B2yoR's favourite examples is Borzoi
Maestro from 2003 who ended up rated OR84 at 2yo. He was never that
good and the way his career has unravelled since makes the point - try
looking it up.
The worst of the rest of the field at Leicester was probably Come
On Buckers whose small, quite narrow and lacks build. You couldn't
imagine him making much impact off OR50s even. The well backed favourite
was Joe Caster
(very funny, sort of Greek Mythology reference, right..). A classic little
'Makbul' early 2yo. Small, ok build with some length and uses that well
in his movement. His size will limit him but you could see why he was running
early. He'll win something early and get rated over 70 but presumably not
competitive in nurseries in later season. Nowhere much for him to go at
3yo with an inflated OR so he needs to compete now.
If Joe Caster had been sold at auction Rod Millman would probably have
bought him as Makbul's biggest fan. Instead he bought one by Kheleyf that
was supposed to look like one by Makbul and named him Fyelehk
(also, hugely amusing). Same colouring and readiness as a Makbul but you
could pick faults with this one and easy to see why he was 16/1 and removable
from the top of the profile ratings on paddock review. Unlike Joe Caster
he's compact and leggy which doesn't tend to work that well and lacks some
build. He's also very mentally young and not ready to compete. Mr Millman
clearly has gone back a long way in terms of FTO readiness in the last
3 years. You also worry for his season if this one and the Nottingham debut
runner Mr Clearview are the best of his early 2yos.
The two tallest of the group were Beckett's Rhydian and Art Connoisseur.
possibly a little more heavily built but his set-up behind kept on niggling
away as not being quite right. He is still 'up behind' and this might be
the problem but he needs to prove his movement is ok. Leaving that out
you could believe he might be an OR70ish rater.
The clear winner in what was probably a thin race was the 55,000gns Art
Connoisseur. The preview suggested his pedigree wasn't obviously 5f
and early and the reason he was running here was partly because he appears
to lack scope to develop. He needs to run early to get the win and anything
after that is a bonus. He didn't stand out in the group as different class
despite the expensive sales tag. Joint tallest but leggy and lacking some
depth through the body. A neatly made OR75-82 type who'll get rated into
the higher 80s because of the early start and win. He may well be able
to use the precocity to win again but a nursery future.