Two races at Bath today with a Class 5 maiden and a Class 6 seller. Before
considering those races a short word about the format of the ratings tables.
From today the 'FTO Ave' column will include a single figure which represents
the Average Estimate for all of the trainers debuts in 2007 for the
period March through to end May. These will be replaced by the figures
for the month groups June-August and September-November later in the season
at the appropriate changeover dates.
The grouping by month as 'Early Season' in this case is one of a range
of options for the figure to display but some form of grouping has to be
done to try to get a representative sample of debuts for as many trainers
as possible. The figures could be broken down by debut distance and a number
could be added for the average rating of debuts for all runners in 2008
(for comparison to the 2007 level) for example. At this stage people who
look through the ratings tables could usefully pose themselves a couple
of questions to think about the average figure.
Firstly, if a horse is on it's first run what factors are there that would
make the B2yoR Profile Rating (the [Prf] column) different from the average
level? For 2yos on later outings the question could be 'How did it's debut
compare to the normal trainer level and were there any obvious reasons
for a below average performance?'. If you look at the three fillies with
prior runs who have dropped to the selling race from Auction & Maiden
company they all recorded well below the normal level first go.
The Bath 5f maiden probably had a bit more depth in the field than
this year - Result
- with STO runners from Barry Hills & Raiph Beckett plus a good debut
type from Jamie Osborne who don't appear to have an equivalent this year.
If we use last year's result as a model we can work through some of this
year's runners. This time last year we were well into a warm dry spell
and the going was firm. David Evans hadn't had a debut winner up to that
point and unleashed Vhujon who was a length clear after a furlong and then
took off and the rest didn't see him again. This year we have already seen
with She's A Shaw Thing what a well primed Evans runner can do.
So, the question is what type is his Kingswinford?
On pedigree grounds he is fine for a usable OR70+ rating 2yo and the sire
can get the odd early one. The Evans debut runners have been ready to compete
for the most part this year so he obviously has a solid profile. On balance
it's unlikely he's as good as Vhujon but a strong contender in this thinner
field than 2007.
Mick Channon ran the below average Alfredtheordinary
in the race last year who finished in the ruck. Imperial Skylight
is a different type having already had a run and showing up well in an
odd race at Kempton. He set a strong pace with the winner and was easily
outpaced by that runner in the straight. As the winner faded badly late
on he plugged on with the closers to be involved in a 6 way photo. The
close up 6th has won a poor race at Lingfield and the 4th been placed in
a slightly stronger on at the same course. On the plus side he ran well
at Kempton given his inexperience and behaviour in the preliminaries. He
should improve to set a reasonable standard but it's an indication of the
lack of a strong, all-round positive profile contender, that he sits on
top of the profile. You can see him placing but instinctively think something
will be a bit better.
The other newcomer who might be that better debut to top
Imperial Skylight would be Dazzling Dust. Bill Turner, like David
Evans, has already had 'his' debut winner this season so he would need
to have another 'better one' to produce another. The lack of quality in
their two strings means this is rare although not impossible.
On the positive side is his pedigree. His dam raced for Bill Turner and
the owner and was one of his debut winners back in 2002. She was very precocious
and ready early and spread-eagled a field at Lingfield on March 25th and
Mr Turner said he'd had offers of £75,000 (that sort of range) afterwards
because she could make a lot of money in the US with her readiness. The
owner kept her and she failed at Lingfield next time before coming back
to form to win the mid April fillies Novice at Thirsk that the trainer
targets. She raced for two more seasons but only won two more races, both
on her first outings of the season, and on the AW, at 3yo & 4yo. This
is her first foal and by a good 2yo sire in Tagula. The trainer has his
2yos readier this year than in 2007 so a solid profile if he's any good.
With owner breds you have to wait for the paddock review to find that out,
he might be tiny with one leg on sideways, but he might be a bigger version
of his mother and we might have something.
Richard Hannon ran the placer Higgy's Boy on debut in the
race last year and he took until 3yo to win and was a sort of OR70 rater
who lack a finish. He here has the filly April Pride who cost £25,000
at the Kempton Park breeze-up sale (i.e. for 2yos with gallops beforehand)
in early March. that isn't a high price but it isn't throwaway either.
If you got an OR60s winner you'd think you'd done a bit above average.
She's by the sire Falbrav who has his first fuller crop of Northern Hemisphere
2yos this year after two in Japan. He wouldn't be on the list to produce
5f 2yos and the dam isn't an obvious just-add-water 2yo producer either
(she's better at producing expensive moderate ones to top sires on recent
Hannon has only run one so far (we should perhaps say Richard Hannon junior..)
with the debut winner Doughnut. She won at Folkestone and was talked up
on the day before the wet ground dampened the connections expectations.
Apparently she should have run in the Kempton race he won with Fat Boy
last year prior to Folkestone (much more typical for a 'recognisable pattern'
trainer like Hannon) but missed that for some reason. Anyway, to continue
the pattern theme in each year the first 3-4 debuts will include a couple
of good ones and at least one duff one. Last year the first four had two
debut winners as 1st and 4th to see the track (the later Listed race winners
Fat Boy & Cake) and two placers with different issues (Higgy's Boy
& Avertitop, who both got ORs in the low 70s but couldn't win so were
better than 'duff').
We've already seen one good one debut with Doughnut and there's a fair
chance Celtic Commitment who runs tomorrow at Folkestone is another. April
Pride looks more to be the 62-72 rater type and wouldn't be good enough
to win off a relaxed Hannon preparation.
At which point we get to Lagan Handout and the will
to expound the 'Brocklesby Hypothesis' once more isn't what it might be.
In short if you want the view on that race read the off-race day reviews
of March 23rd and April 7th. B2yoR is expecting him to be a below average
type in Paddock Review and doesn't trust the trainer, on the evidence at
hand, to convert the 4th place into a win even if he proves a pleasant
We then get into the long tail of runners who are unlikely,
or worse, to compete for the places. Musical Bridge cost a
decent amount and has an ok 2yo pedigree but the trainer has no track record.
One that might surprise a little but more one to judge on the day than
to expect a lot from.
Of the others none really appeal. Milton Bradley is a
less successful version of Evans & Turner with his approach to 2yo
racing and has his first runner of 2008 with Sharp Discovery. He's
another get them fit for debut and run them a lot type but has managed
just one win in the last 6 seasons from 41 horses. At some point we need
to sit down, perhaps with the Stubbs', Mr Bradley for a chat about strategy
& planning. [There you go, watch this thing be two lengths clear at
halfway and hold on in a photo at 66/1 after that.]
The one in the lower ranks who niggles away as perhaps a bit
better is Proper Tool for Ron Harris who was entered for the Brocklesby.
The trainer doesn't have a track record with 2yos as such although did
manage a winner in 2007. The debuts don't seem to be well tuned though.
The sire - Orpen - is a positive and you just wonder about that name. Presumably
we are using the positive connotation of 'Tool' rather than the negative
In summary although Imperial Skylight comes out on top of the profile
he doesn't fully convince as setting a strong standard and the Kempton
race he comes from isn't particularly trustworthy. Hopefully Lagan Handout
will be favourite or a shorter price to pump some value into the others
because he is on the 'opposable' list as well. With the Hannon runner presenting
as a lesser type the chance of a better debut winner comes from the well
trodden paths of Evans & Turner. Hopefully at least one of this pair
will be a better type and fit-and-ready for the race to give a longer priced
Sellers in general aren't going to get much coverage in the previews
through the year. B2yoR rarely bets in them on the grounds that the better
physical types aren't there to set a stronger standard. One of the angles
with 2yo racing is being able to tap into the mismatches in ability that
occur in maiden events. Occasionally you'll see a better type in a seller
and can bet on it but there's always the increased likelihood it's got
some sort of 'hole' in it if it's at that level. They also tend to get
punted to shorter, non value, prices anyway because it will be some sort
of I-need-to-get-a-win-of-some-sort ploy from the connections.
One point to note. The race contains 3 fillies who ran in the 'Franked'
Percolator race at Warwick and it's taken then until the 13th race of the
season to drop down. Typically, one is for Bill Turner and the most likely
winner is Joli Haven unless the colt Heaven And Hell is any good.