What a pleasure to be back at Windsor. The course figures in the top five
each year by number of 2yos making their debuts and is used by a range
of major stables to introduce better types. The pre-parade ring at the
course is ideal for paddock watching and if you can't learn something there
you wont find a better spot. The actual parade ring is hopeless though,
one of those huge circles so you never see the horse side-on and they only
come by once every three minutes. It also has a lot of thick tree trunks
around the edge to minimise whatever view you do have.
The race on Monday is a good example of what you can get with the usual
Hannon, Channon & JS Moore representatives. They are supplemented by
a number of middle ranking yards who are likely to show a usable 2yo, at
least, this early at the course. Some of those yards can 'ready one' for
debut to add to the interest. After the garbage at Doncaster on Saturday
in the guise of a 'Class 4' this is a much better race and will
have a lot more longer term importance. To emphasis the point 8 of the
11 in this race are more highly rated on profile than the top one in the
Doncaster race (and Paddock Review had already identified him as a poor
Starting with the two runners who are on their third outings and placed
second last time - Riflessione & Raimond Ridge. It is
interesting to look at the Result
for last year's race where the first two home were precocious horses on
their second runs and got home better than the newcomers. With it's right
hand dog-leg across an intersection, a stands' rail bias on firmer ground
and bigger fields the course is a relatively technical challenge for a
newcomer. They have to have the ability and competence to get a usable
position and go what can be a stiff pace. It's difficult to make up lost
ground, especially on firmer going. If a horse can do it then it will be
Last year's race shows the winner as the experienced leader who got the
rail and never got caught. The second received a typically over-confident
Jamie Spencer hold-up ride and would have won if he had been kept closer
to the pace rather than being ridden as if he was a mature 100+ rater.
The third made up a lot of ground off a bad start and ought to have been
a good 2yo. He ran poorly on his only other outing so it will be interesting
to see what Red Expresso proves to be at 3yo. If you look at the result,
six of the first eight home won later, plus Red Expresso's curtailed season
and Higgy's Boy who was a 70+ rated placer who has won over the winter.
The last home won a seller. This year's race looks at least up to the same
level and nothing at all like the Doncaster race 2 days ago.
Riflessione & Raimond Ridge met at Folkestone with the
former pulling well clear of the Channon horse in the final furlong. He
had already had a run with a ok 5th in the Brocklesby having had the advantages
of track position and draw bias. We know that he finished with a mixture
of other physical types (the more limited Lagan Handout just in front and
the better Northern Tour closing onto him from behind). However, Stan Moore
doesn't go for strong debuts and the STO run is usually a better indication
of the ability. But, he as beaten by a newcomer there and was pulling away
from a limited front runner (Just The Lady who has been beaten in a moderate
race at Musselburgh since) later in the race. He comes out top on profile
but doesn't set a strong standard and is vulnerable to a better newcomer.
We now switch to deja vu mode with the Channon and Hannon
runners. The first ran Barraland on debut in the race in 2007 for the same
owners as Raimond Ridge. This combination of connections are geared up
to run limited 2yos a double figure number of times a season and get rid
of them if necessary. Raimond Ridge is already on his 3rd outing and we
shall probably be seeing a lot more of him in nurseries because he hasn't
looked a better type in two goes. He showed a bit of progress at the 2f
pole behind Riflessione but that petered out before the last furlong and
he was allowed to drift back. He ran better at Newcastle when he finished
2nd behind the Brocklesby 9th with the 3rd & 12th from that event just
behind him. As with Mr Moore what you see from a Channon 2yo STO is normally
a good indicator of what they are capable of unless they have abnormal
physical improvement to make (or an excuse). On what he's shown he looks
more a 70-75 nursery type like Barraland and also is a sitting target for
a better newcomer.
Richard Hannon tends to get debut winners at two main times, in early season
with his best 5-6f types and with his best 7f types when those races start.
He's only run two so far and both have suggested they are a little above
average at least. But, he has a range of 2yos to get going and he starts
them racing much earlier than the average. Which means unless he has a
very good set of 2yos this year we are going to start seeing some more
typical debuts rather than a string of debut wins. Last year he ran two
in the race with the dual winner Cracking given a 'try-out' ride by Hughes
by being asked to press the leader to see what pace he had. When he got
tired he was allowed to drift back with the jockey knowing what he had
for next time. Higgy's Boy was on his second go having finished in the
ruck on debut with no 'try-out' activity nor excuse and indicating he was
likely to be a placer.
Hannon has run 90 of his juveniles at Windsor on debut
in 2002-7 for 8 wins and a large loss to level stakes. 3 of the 8 wins
have been in April but with known better types. He has used this race for
a variety of abilities and the quality of the pair today - Bonnie Charlie
& Rich Red - a good indicator of how much depth he has with
his early runners. In 2005 he started the useful pair of Green Park (2nd
at 12/1) and Green Pride (6th at 4/1 after a tour of the course). By comparison
in 2006 he ran the poor runner Chip Leader as the sole rep.
On profile they both look likely winners with Bonnie Charlie the likely
better one. He's a relatively expensive purchase by the sire Intikhab who
has been a good source of better 5f types and out of a mare who won at
2yo over 5f at average levels. In a field with this experience and strength
he's an unlikely winner unless he's very good and that ought to be obvious
from the market. Hughes working to get him involved at some point to test
him for his next run would be a good sign.
Rich Red is by the sire Redback and, as with Millman and Makbul,
it's 'the rules' that Hannon will buy most of the worthwhile sales offerings
for his old inmate. This one cost £28,000 at the Kempton breeze-up
in early March and a tad more than his Bath winner April Pride. He has
to show us an ordinary one at some point, unless he's got a stack of good
ones in 2008, so you suspect more of a midfield finish.
The field then presents a likeable set of newcomers with
solid profiles from trainers who will typically start a usable 2yo in their
earliest runners. Willie Jarvis has a mixed record with 2yos and bit below
average overall. But, his earliest runners will include most of the competent
2yos. He won a similar race to this at the course in 2002 with a newcomer
and in 2004 ran something called Fair Along in the equivalent race, what
ever became of him? His only runner before July in 2005 finished 2nd at
14/1 FTO and in 2006 the two early starters were placed including Oi Vay
Joe in this race. Last year he had one runner before the end of April with
Just Sort It who won at 25/1.
Given all of that you have to believe that Smokey Storm is an average
2yo winner during the season and also that he'll be mostly ready to show
what he can do here. He's by the new sire One Cool Cat who's two runners
to date have both managed to place. No surprise overall if he manages to
get in amongst the pair with experience and perhaps win if he has a bit
Eve Johnson-Houghton was assistant to her father before she took
over the licence in 2007. The old man used to get regular debut winners
when he had a better one. In her first year she only had one winner and
that one was the first one to run. It finished a strong second on debut
having been supported. She runs the much more expensive Sharav who
cost 40,000gns at the sales for the Hillen family to retain (07 winner
Hobson only cost 5,000gns). There's plenty in the pedigree to support the
view he's a solid 2yo and another who will probably be at a highish level
within his ability range to start.
That would be an interesting race in itself but there are
other solid newcomers. David Evans runs the filly Miss Chamanda
who at €20,000 is at the top of his typical price range. He's had
two debt winners already so we know she will compete if she's good enough.
On profile in this quality of race it is more likely to be a 'Kingswinford'
outcome than a 'Shes A Shaw Thing' but no surprise to see her make the
first four at long odds.
And there's more. Mark Wallace's selectiveness with his early
2yos was covered in the preview of April 4th when he had his only two runners
so far. One of those was reasonably supported at 11/4 and managed to win
first time. The other drifted to 6/1 in a similar quality race and finished
an inexperienced 4th of 4. Maria Milena's profile isn't strong enough
to believe she can beat this field but you presume she will be a winner
of some sort during the season given this earlier start. She's unlikely
to be the poor seller type given the sales price she was retained for although
her previous sibling won his nursery off only OR55.
Both Noworneva & Billy Beetroot look discountable and
especially in this strongish group. They seem more likely to be on development
runs before dropping to lesser races. Two And Eights runs for new
trainer G. Blake so is difficult to place on profile but has a usable 2yo
pedigree at a little below average levels.
In summary, what a pleasure to be back at Windsor. A similar race
to the 2007 set-up with two runners with placed form taking on a set of
solid newcomers. The first and second in 2007 were both on STO and both
got ORs into the high 80s later in the season to give an idea of the standard
they set. The pair on 3TO today seem a little below that level and the
newcomers a stronger group overall assisted by being from a set of more
ready-enough-on-debut trainers. Smokey Storm & Sharav appeal most as
the value from those on debut if the Riflessione's standard is to be bettered.