British 2yo Racing - 2008 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - April 12th 
Races :-
  • 17: Doncaster 2:30, 5f Maiden (4)
  • 18: Wolverhampton AW 8:20, 5.1f Maiden (5)

  • Race Virtual Paddocks FTO P&L Qualifiers
    • None

      April 12th Summary : 
    • The Preview will spend as much time reviewing the recent races as the two events on Saturday. It is difficult to know what words would adequately convey the dreadful quality of the Class 4 maiden at Doncaster. There are more moderate and worse equine athletes than better class ones and a maiden like this in later season would often have a strong representation of lower class horses. They would be there for development runs or because the owner was local or some other reason. But, amongst the field would be a group of average, or better, quality horses who you could concentrate on trying to assess. 
    • They have all gone missing for this race and we are left with 8 moderate ones, and worse. It is actually more unpromising than that because not only do they present as poor profiles in quality terms they mostly represent trainers with poor records with 2yos. Added to that none of the newcomers are from stables who you would expect to 'prime one' for a debut run. It is so thin with quality as to be transparent, it takes unprepossessing to new heights. You get the picture. If any pundit uses the phrase ".. dropping down from a Class 4 last time..." about one of the runners on a subsequent outing they ought to be reprimanded, or preferably sacked.
    • The one runner with 'experience' is Come On Buckers who was a paddock negative on debut and looked claimer class at best. Lightly built, narrow, underpowered and so on. We have seen what a ready David Evans 2yos who has some ability can do this early int he season with She's A Shaw Thing & Kingswinford. Even a more limited pony like Smalljohn took his field along to the furlong pole before slowly folding. This one added incompetence on his Leicester debut and his 4th place depended on picking off some faders having failed to get into the race. But, and it's a very large BUT, he comes out top on profile here but with a rating of just 20.
    • Without naming names, because there's little point, the newcomers all cost 5,000 guineas or less at the yearling sales or are owner/trainer breds with poor pedigrees. This is getting the chisel out and head first into the, err.., barrel. Two of the six are by stallions who won over 2 miles and are at stud for the NH, P-2-P and event horse markets (And Beyond & Yoshka siring 5f winners in April??). 
    • Only 2 of the 6 trainers with FTO horses have ever had a debut winner. Tim Easterby runs the 'expensive' 5,000 guineas sales retainee Monsieur Jourdain but he is a below average debut win trainer. We should look out for what he runs in the Ripon maiden in mid-April but otherwise he wouldn't feature as a 'FTO trainer'. His runner in the Brocklesby was well behind for example. 
    • The other is Mel Brittain who back in 1990s got FTO successes and had a notable increase in juveniles in 2007. One of those managed an accidental FTO win aided by the Ayr rail bias. His two debut runners to date this season have been a competent third by a lesser type in the Brocklesby & a win by another limited type in a poor race at Musselburgh yesterday. Which makes his cheaply bought filly (3,000gns) Marygate seem quite tempting in the context of this race.
    • But, in short, snap out of that sort of thinking, we should be trying to find positives and not 'least worsts' to bet on. A race where any result wouldn't be a shock because of the low quality likely to be needed to win it. If one of the contestants has developed well from the sales and is a prospective OR75 rater then they could win comfortably and looking quite good as they come home clear. Then you check the time and see it's poor and the winner was running away from garbage and will get sorted out under a penalty next time by anything normally usable. 
    • Which means that the trainers of, at least, two of the runners in the Wolverhampton Class 5 maiden might think they are in the wrong race. Going to this course is similar to going to Brighton in that it is a ploy to try to find a weaker field to beat. Unless Paul Howling (Grand Honour) & Jamie Osborne (Sub Prime) particularly want to stay on polytrack with their colts they would both have been favourites if they had gone to the weak Doncaster race on turf (worth about £1,300 more to the winner). 
    • Both those colts come from a Kempton Class 4 race which went in a slow time and the first 6 finished in a heap. Eschewing the 'Franked', all or nothing, approach to race form analysis here's a summary. The field looked moderate beforehand, might be some later minor winners given they are all racing early but nothing unusual. The winner (Asaint Needs Brass) looked the best type and perhaps a little better than the same trainer's Concertmaster from 2007 by season end. Imperial Skylight who was a nuisance in the preliminaries set an average pace to the winner which was made to look stronger than it was by the lack of ability, nous and racecraft on show behind. The winner cruised past Imperial Skylight in the straight and went clear. He faded late and the closers did get, very close indeed, to him. However, they only just managed to get to Imperial Skylight as he plodded on. That horse, predictably, got outpaced again by three better newcomers at Bath on Wednesday and that performance sets a solid benchmark for the form (possibly over-estimated even with a low 30s winners). The, probably, better seller quality fourth filly has been beaten since and the 6th has won a poor race at Lingfield which probably wasn't much different from seller quality.
    • Which means that Sub Prime & Grand Honour set a reasonable standard here but not an unbeatable one. However, it looks like a soft race and they are the 'Class' of it so, like Gone Hunting, they can provide another winner from the 'Kempton race'. But, without boosting or denigrating your view of that event's quality (and certainly not 'franking it'). On paddock review preference would be for Sub Prime who has a bit more size and strength while still being below average. Grand Honour is small even by early 2yo standards although quite solidly built within that. The first, limited examples, of the 'Race Virtual Paddocks' are linked to in the table above to compare the two. The pictures taken recently have been of better quality and should remain so through the remainder of the season.
    • Dottys Brother didn't show enough on debut to suggest he is better than the early types his trainer ran last season. He got tired on dead ground which might be some excuse and switches to the all-weather so might improve but probably short of the other two. Dedante runs for a develop-with-racing trainer and showed little first time a race which has had it's rating level downgraded by 7 points currently. Kuwinda is another Channon home bred and a full brother to a seller winner for the stable last year. His debut runners haven't got involved much yet and it would be a surprise if this filly was up to competing with the colts.
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    • Bath 5f Maiden (Wednesday 9th). The runners for the race are presented together in this post-race 'Virtual Paddock'. Right clicking the mouse over the small pictures brings up a full version. Note that the small pictures are not true, small filesize, thumbnails and the page will take some time to load over a modem link (i.e. non Broadband or some form of higher throughput link). The 'Racing Preview' link on the VP page goes back to Wednesday's Preview and not this one.
    • While you can get a handle on the ability of many horses from a single viewing seeing them again is always useful. One of the things that makes more difference than you like to think is the context of the other horses in the race. Imperial Skylight, going back to that Kempton race, looked an ok size in that group of smaller ones but in this better field at Bath his deficiencies were more obvious to see. Just a medium size in the group and much more lightly made and narrow than a number of them. 
    • This lack of build, and therefore motive power, means he will lack pace somewhere and it showed in the race. Hs used his experience to get a comfortable spot behind the leaders and just an average pace. After his front-running at Kempton part of the day was presumably to get him to settle in the race. But when the front two and April Pride from just behind him made their later race moves he was left behind. He plugged on in fourth and this lack of an ability to up the pace seems a worry for what to do with him. Let's hope he doesn't end up all 'Shatter Resistant'. Wouldn't be a surprise to see him dropped to a claimer along the way.
    • April Pride looked just a usable winner on profile and not the better type that the trainer usually has debut winners with. Her pedigree didn't say 5f and lots of 'good judges' passed her by for a piffling £25,000 five weeks ago at the 2yo breeze-up sales. The word in the morning was that the Hannon's likes her and thought she would be a winner but she drifted int he market as FTO winner Doughnut had done last week. The Paddock Report that came back had her second top rated and noted she was a typical Hannon 'shape & size' buy. If he likes the set-up of a horse he can live with any pedigree because he isn't tied to running a 'Falbrav' over 7f+ or whatever.
    • Close to medium size, compact shape and a deep barrel in front. A lively, bouncy mover and physically ready. A better prospect than Imperial Skylight for the day if you stood them next to each other, for example. Jockey Hughes gave another example of how good he can be in doing just enough to keep an inexperienced type involved and get them home and she just got home. After Doughnut's win Hannon junior was talking about the Supersprint and the like while that talk-up was absent here. She looked a 75-85 type and not a longer term sprint prospect but one the stable will find a second win for at the right level.
    • While we're thinking about physical types that trainer's buy (and produce & amplify by their feeding & training regimes) Kingswinford was classic David Evans as well. He buys at a lower level than Hannon and good 'build' & barrel chests normally adds to the cost (quite what happened with April Pride is a questions - perhaps she made a mess of the breeze part). Evans has small, narrow types often and in getting them fit makes them look even more greyhound like. A lot of them prove to be moderate but some will have the combination of good movement and enough build to make them usable or better.
    • The trainer won the race with Vhujon the previous year and he was that bit bigger, more well-built, rangy and forward in condition. Kingswinford looked too much on the narrow side to be better than a ready, early 2yo. The way the race went seemed to confirm that. Both lead after a furlong but the jockey on Vhujon couldn't resist letting him go off in top gear while Kingswinford was held onto in a narrow lead off an average pace. He then got outpaced and outfinished by two more well built rivals and it isn't really much more complicated than that. Perhaps around a 70 rater.
    • The preview for the race noted that trainer L. Williamson didn't have a record with 2yos and missed the point that her first runner of the season had managed to finish third, albeit an uncompetitive one in a weak race behind the front two. Her Musical Bridge was backed from 33/1 to 8/1 and the support proved well judged despite the narrow defeat. On paddock review he scored well enough for build and was one of the fittest in the group. On the downside he was one of the shorter runners and he slouched around the ring (where there were a lot of jig-joggers) not looking that athletic. But, the jockey was fully on-board with what was required and had him attending the pace early and he went on inside the final furlong. He was 'mugged' by April Pride in that she challenged him late and he did respond having already seen off the rest of the pace in Kingswinford & Lagan Handout. A solid effort and some improvement left.
    • Lagan Handout presented a sort of middling response to the proposition in the race preview. He wasn't as bad as he might have been, he's build is ok but he's a stodgy little fat bloke to some extent and lacking in range. He had everything go his way in the race but get left behind by the front rank when the pace went up and faded inside the final furlong, unlike Imperial Skylight who plugged on. 60s fare and confirmation that you need to sort through the Brocklesby to find the solid nuggets amidst the lesser types.
    • Dazzling Dust's dam was a lengthy, low slung type (the link from her name on his page goes to a picture). Her lad's entirely different. Probably the tallest in the field but leggy and on a long side on view like a table where the legs are that bit too long. Shallow bodied in context and not the compact barrel of April Pride if you compared them. Physically quite fit and forward but mentally young and didn't concentrate in pre-race. Another one left behind as the race quickened and a worry that his leggy set-up might limit him despite his strength. Ought to rate 70+.
    • Proper Tool runs for a non-FTO trainer and showed glimpses of response during the race but was too lacking in overall readiness to get involved. Paddock review showed a below average size horse, but neatly put together and with enough build and range to be competitive at his level. Ought to be a competitive 60s rater at least.
    • Percy's Corismatic cost £500 to retain at the Ascot sales (third tier in Britain) and presumably the minimum bid for that sale. She looks what you would expect and although neat enough is just too small and light to compete against these bigger horses. The lass leading her probably isn't 5 foot and the horse's withers are well below the top of her head which makes her borderline pony size. Struggled to go the pace at any stage in the race but a positive in that she never gave in and plugged on into the eased runners late on. She probably did a time close to the winner of the later seller but flat out all the way and carried by better horses compared to a more leisurely pace in the other event.
    • While we're thinking about physical types and trainer's preferences Milton Bradley likes some meat on them if he can afford it. He often cannot so the ones he buys with some build will be peculiar shapes and set-ups in many instances. Sharp Discovery would fit that model and if you compare him to the filly Percy's Corismatic there's a lot more of him. But he's another fat, dumpy, one and not neat to look at. He wasn't fit or knowing enough here to make things worse. Mind you, when you are dealing with a trainer whose won a single race with 41 x 2yo horses in 6 years you kind of stop worrying what they look like. They aren't going to win anyway, to a very good approximation.
    • Which brings us to the pleasant surprise in the group with Saunton Sands. Now, when you get a horse bred by the trainer and he has very few 2yo runners and even rarer winners you don't expect much. You suspect you are going to see a rabbit like Percy's C. or a bits-and-pieces stodgy mover like Sharp D. or some other combinations of disappointments. The piece below that headline says the dam never won in 4 seasons (she ended her 5yo season on January 1st to add some meaningless 'to be fair') and has produced a half brother who didn't achieve a worthwhile rating in three runs in two seasons. At which point the expectation levels don't shift the needle at all.
    • But the horse is much better than that and in a brief summary if this thing can't win at 2yo it's the trainer who's cocked it up and not the paddock reviewer. He came into the pre-parade in a full rug and was jig-jogging away. He has four white socks which can make any horse look more athletic than they are but you satisfy yourself he can actually move ok and it's isn't just go-faster-stripes. He's close to the tallest in the field and is more heavily built than most and more so than Dazzling Dust and is deeper bodied. The picture shows him unrugged and when he had settled down and carrying his head down and doesn't show him to his best. You might well say he looks a little stodgy although his overall shape, balance & maturity is fine. For comparison the lass leading him is probably close to 5' 8'' and much taller than the girl with Percy's Corismatic.
    • It's at this point you hope he doesn't finish a promising third or reveal his promise more widely. He starts at 33/1 and you hope for a run well buried away that looks dreadful in the form book so he's be at least that next time. His trainer's lack of preparation helps and he runs a un-noticed race. Slow out of the stalls he shows some promise in getting to the front of the outpaced group at halfway before being allowed to drift back and be eased later on. The jockey gives him a quiet and educational ride. When he got a bit tired he showed a more reaching, galloping stride, rather than a quick-snap sprinter and this along with his strong build suggest he might need time and a 6f+.
    • If you go back and look at his pedigree you can convince yourself it is a bit more usable than it looks. His dam cost 20,000 guineas although by a middling (at best) stallion so presumably she had some positives. She made her debut on March 31st at 2yo and almost made the first three in some minor races. Her first foal was by the poor sire Zaha and this one is by Best Of The Bests who would rate a better bet. He had a good enough start with his first 2yos in 2006 and four different 5f winners. 2007 was less good but he wouldn't be a real negative.
    • To make the point try looking at these pictures 2yos by Best Of The Bests and compare them to Saunton Sands. Here's a small and no good one - Princess Zada = well he must be better than her. This one is Langham House who would have a similar profile - an owner bred for a trainer who doesn't have much of a record with 2yos. Well, more like him, a bigger type but less well built and not as neatly put together as Saunton Sands. He managed 4th places in 7-8f maidens at minor courses and got an OR70 and you would think Saunton Sands could do better. The best 2yo by the sire so far is probably Resplendent Alpha who was a very strongly built, bull, of a shorter juvenile. He won a couple of races and finished on an OR86 rating. Well, he's a bigger frame and perhaps as strong although we don't know if the parts add up to a whole that can shift itself adequately.
    • Anyway, definitely one to track and see how he develops because he's much better than his pedigree, trainer and 9th on debut at 33/1 make him sound.

    ~ DONC 2:30 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    1 COME ON BUCKERS [20] - 2 17 1 17 21
    8 MARYGATE [14] +5 1 16
    2 MONSIEUR JOURDAIN [13] - 1 22
    6 DISPOL KYLIE [12] +5 1 23
    3 MOON WARRIOR [11] - 1
    4 ADOZEN DREAMS [8] +5 1
    7 EILEAN EEVE [6] +5 1 12
    5 COMMON DIVA [3] +5 1 12

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    ~ WTON 8:20 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    3 SUB PRIME [34] - 2 31 1 31 39
    2 GRAND HONOUR [30] - 2 27 1 27 23
    1 DOTTY'S BROTHER [22] - 2 16 1 16 25
    4 DEDANTE [12] +5 2 14 1 14 13
    5 KUWINDA [8] +5 1 35

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