British 2yo Racing - 2008 Season
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Racing Review - April 20th 
Races :-
  • None until Monday 21st at Windsor

  •   April 20th Thoughts on Last Week : 
    • The 2yo racing over the last week has seen the introduction of a range of better horses and it is worth having a cantering review of the events. The better races have exposed the weakness of many of the early season races and will be touched on in the review. A number of trainers have not got going with the 2yos at all and will be covered at the end of this piece. Before starting please note that the coming week is a real let down after the improvement. Monday has a solid start with a couple of interesting maidens (which gave us Loch Jipp & Mount Pleasure in 2007) but then there is only a claimer on Wednesday & a seller on Thursday until Saturday the 26th.
    • The 5f maiden at Windsor last Monday look to have solid prospects of providing a set of 2yo winners on profile. The field in total was less taking than the profile but still with some interesting horses. Readers of the site will be used to the 'Paddock Review has a lot of the answers' approach but this was a race where it did not work so well. Try looking at these pictures of the Hannon pair of newcomers :-
    • You've got someone bleating on about size, build and readiness and the Traditional paddock people going on forwardness of coat and so on. If you have to mark the above two pictures as the 'comfortable winner' and the 'slow starting duffer' you ought to get it wrong. The bigger, shiny, one on the left with the lively attitude is Rich Red who finished 8th. You could mark him down on the day because the liveliness strayed into immaturity but he still scores ok and you expect a solid, promising, run. The smaller, lethargic one on the right is the comfortable winner Bonnie Charlie. You probably have to learn that his laid back demeanour is actually quiet professionalism. However, although relatively deep bodied and strong he isn't that neatly put together and the back half not quite matched to the front and not obviously as powerful. You can say the same about Rich Red if you can look past the shinyness and personality on the day.
    • To confuse the issue further here's a Picture of Rifflessione who came into the race with what looked solid enough, early season, form. He's another quite chunky chestnut although not especially 'tight' in his muscles and typical of his trainer's methods in that way. He's more a 'develop with racing' type and doesn't get them hard fit. He's brighter in attitude & coat than Bonnie Charlie so you rank him higher in that sense.
    • The other one that looks ready for the day is the David Evans' filly Miss Chamanda and she appears to have enough of the tools to do something about it. This is unsurprising in the sense that Evans and Stan Moore (Riflessione's trainer) are opposites. One buys whippets and greyhounds, feeds them just enough and gets them really fit early in the season. The other buys Labradors and let's them eat a bit. They don't look like the same thing at all when they arrive at the track. Miss Chamanda is a good height, although typically narrow through the body and the fittest in the group. Try looking at the muscle definition on her buttocks & loins in this Picture and remember this is her debut. She has two handlers and a lively attitude but hers' is more 'let me at them' because she knows what's coming than the 'first day at school' exuberance of Rich Red.
    • It is the first time you have seen Channon's Raimond Ridge and he made his debut (behind Riflessione) in a race that the trainer usually puts a good one into. He's clearly not that - Picture - and the smaller, narrow bodied end of Namid's progeny. He also not particularly forward in condition and his trainer is top of the list of underperformers with 2yos to date (see below). He scores moderately and provides a big clue that the Saxford Novice race at Newcastle was sub-standard and raises doubts over what Doughnut achieved when she beat Riflessione & him at Folkestone.
    • Smokey Storm & Sharav both cost enough at the sales, and from stables that get their 2yos ready enough FTO, to mean they need assessing as possible winners on the day and they are both a little disappointing. They are both only bordering on medium size and both a little narrow in the body. Neither is the more powerful sprinter type you hope for. Neither is particularly fit or knowing to add to the negative impression.
    • Put all of that together and let's look at the result. Bonnie Charlie is quite well backed as 4/1 second favourite and puts in a likeable performance with a comfortable win having attended the pace and then gone away from the others when asked. He rates highly as a debut performance and should go on to compete in Listed races at least. The doubts over his set-up will probably limit him but he clearly has to be taken seriously to mid season. Miss Chamanda also attends the pace and goes on with the winner later in the race but lacks his pace. A good performance on debut and she has some scope to improve. Riflessione is left behind in third and probably runs to his level and can improve with racing but now holds down the form of the Folkestone race and the 'Brocklesby 5th' tag.
    • Smokey Storm & Sharav come in 4th & 5th behind a near four length gap confirming the view of them pre-race. They have average chances of finding an early race without being certainties to nail an open maiden. Raimond Ridge is a poor 6th and just plain not as good as the others. Maria Milena looked just a minor (60s) winner at best and them comes Rich Red who must be better than he showed here and 70+ rater with more experience. Noworneva looked a small, limited, type and Two And Eights a notably short but more heavily built one (and hence his yearling price in comparison to Noworneva) . Neither one to follow and will need to find a lower level and show more nous in Two And Eights case.
    • At Warwick on Tuesday the pair of races looked low quality with the possibilities of a better type in either race depending upon Kyllorien (BW Hills), Moss Likely (M Channon) & Premier Krug (perhaps another Miss Chamanda for David Evans). The weather is uniformly appalling with battleship grey sky and horizontal rain in a cold wind which isn't going to make the horses look any better and dulls your mood. The two races always threatened to be disappointing and they certainly didn't disappoint in that regard. 
    • Both races are run in slow times and the fillies' maiden is even slower than the seller although they were carrying more weight so a similar performance. To confirm the view of a pair of duff races trainer Alan Bailey wins both races with newcomers. He has a below average record with 2yos and has not had a debut winner since 1999 in 60 attempts. If either race had something worthwhile in he wouldn't have won them, his successes are actually a further clue to the poor quality.
    • In the seller you aren't expecting much and the one slightly pleasant surprise is Dancing Wave for Bill Turner. She actually has some build to work on and is a better type than stablemate Joli Haven who she made her debut with at the course. She finishes second, mugged in the final furlong by Bailey's Fuaigh Mor. She got softened up by getting into a duel for the lead with her stablemate Makaluna or else might have held on - well done everybody. She also got claimed by MC Chapman to add to the Turner negatives on the day. She ought to win something similar but a race to forget in quality terms. Notable that the three from the Bath seller couldn't compete for the win.
    • Mutter, mutter, when is it ever going to be warm again, etc. and here come the fillies for the maiden and they aren't going to warm you up either. See what your reaction is to these two for examples :-
    • Have you own opinion but the reaction on the day to Kyllorien who is on the left is "Oh my gawd, who is that mouse?".  Her position at the top of the profile with a prospective 30s debut evaporates. Very small and very mentally young. She drifts in the market, runs poorly and shows a trundler's action when she gets tired later in a slow race. Your respect for Barry Hills means you don't quite completely dismiss her future prospects for a win of some sort but if she succeeds it wont be with your money on her.
    • On the right is Channon's Moss Likely and we can take a short detour into trainer's physical types. If you put a typical Channon & Hannon 2yo purchase together they would be very different types. Hannon likes to buy bulldogs, but with pretty faces, and Channon is more in the David Evans camp. Because Channon has more money to spend he can buy bigger greyhounds that carry a bit more power but they rely on range and athleticism as much as brute force application. Moss Likely could be an Evans' inmate and actually looks similar to Leading Edge (another lightly built daughter of Clodovil) whom Channon ran in the same race last year. That one proved to be 60s nursery winner when she had 'come to herself' in condition in later season and this one seems the same. Favourite here but fading after setting the pace and running freely.
    • The winner was Bailey's Aspen Darling who the trainer said was 3-4 lengths better than the seller winner on homework and didn't have to show that to win here. Small, weak front, gawky neck. Ho hum. Two small types from trainers with negative records fill out the pacemakers and first four to confirm the negative view of the race.
    • A couple of points of interest behind. Premier Krug was given a peculiar ride after losing eight lengths with a slow break and unpressed pick-up. The jockey let her dawdle in behind until asking her to try to make up the gap to the moderate fillies in front in the last 1.5 furlongs. She made some sort of job of this and was a 'Moss Likely' size and shape so is better than she showed although the low quality tempers any great enthusiasm.
    • While we are thinking about trainers' types lets consider Alan Jarvis. He's not a 'build' guy and prefers taller, rangier types and can live with them being a bit light-framed (try looking at Wise Dennis to get a handle on this). His filly here was Right Price and she was the best physical type in the group. The link goes to her picture and she's the polar opposite of the very slightly chunky but short Kyllorien. Taller, mature but narrow bodied although ok athleticism. 
    • You could almost think about betting on her until you think about the trainer's inability to get them mentally straight for debut. In the same way that trainer's buy physical types they produce them with characteristic attitudes on debut. Hannon turns out happy, relaxed sheep for the most part and this contributes to his below average FTO record (ok, we know his first three runners won in 2008 but that is a clue to think about why that happened rather than him changing his methods). 
    • Jarvis turns out wilful, prancing nuisances on many occasions and Right Price plays that role well. She is worth following but she's going to be too wilful and stupid today. She loses 8 lengths at the start and never gets into it having had a long battle with the stalls handlers to even go in. The trainer doesn't have a smooth record of converting these better types into winners unfortunately but she's on the 'Track' list. To make the point further about trainers Mr Jarvis had two other debuts during the week with Free To Choose causing an incident in the parade ring at Newmarket and being mounted on the walk to the course on the way to giving trouble at the start. At Kempton his Fasalee dragged two handlers around the pre-parade ring on the way to blowing the start and general minor mayhem. Keep the picture of Right Price in your mind and try looking at this one of - Picture- of Fasalee at Kempton. He's a colt so he's a bit bigger and stronger but the same taller, narrow bodied physical set-up. The same wilful prancing. We really are going around the same neighbourhood each year with the locals doing the same thing with different 'toys', but still the 'same' ones nonetheless.
    • At Nottingham Calypso Girl is another to confirm the view that racing centre field from a low draw in the Brocklesby was a big disadvantage when looking much more professional in a solid win. Paul Cole's Shampagne runs well to push her all the way and the pair are well clear of Eileen Eeve who confirms just how weak the Doncaster race she ran in FTO was. Marygate has also been blown away in her second go since finishing just behind Eileen Eeve there. The race is notable for another moderate show from a Kevin Ryan runner with Amorachy.
    • The conditions race at Newmarket on Wednesday had an unusually large field and plenty of depth on profile. The race had an interesting shape with the solid pace being set on the far rails by previous winners Bad Beat & Asaint Needs Brass along with ready newcomer Rayvin Mad for Peter Chapple-Hyam. They set too stiff a pace for themselves and the three of them finished in midfield after filling 2nd-4th going into the final, uphill, furlong. As they collapsed the finishers then had to find a way through or around them which led to a messy final furlong and some runners not able to show what they could do.
    • Before getting to that let us consider the winner Art Connoisseur who had a perfect path through the race. He sat in centre field and held up just over 3 lengths off a taxing pace. That may not sound a lot but that's 0.6 of second slower. If you spread that over the first three furlongs he is only averaging, say, 11.8s furlongs to the leaders 11.6. That can be enough, depending upon cruising speed, efficiency, fitness, etc. of the individual to break up the pacemakers and allow the tracker to make a perfect jump to the lead. Which is what Art Connoisseur did here to show some quickening ability to go past the leaders. But, his effort was not just beating up on faders because he went past the leaders before they had folded and showed a real change of pace.
    • It was a good performance and a comfortable win but not that high class in actuality. It's a race you have to be careful about over-rating because while the likes of Servoca, Ouqba & probably Icesolator are likely to improve to prove better class they didn't perform to that level here. Set your rating at that standard and you'll drag the ordinary ones, and worse, in the field up to performance ratings they cannot achieve. Michael Bell said afterwards that Art Connoisseur would have one more run before Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes (5f). That will be in one of the Ascot Conditions race (Garter Stakes on April 30th), the Listed National Stakes (Sandown, May 30th) or the mid-May Windsor Conditions race. Asked to compare him to his other better 5f 2yos with Hoh Mike & Nevisian Lad he put him in the same category.
    • Those sat further off the pace and with less clear runs through then made up the places to midfield. Barry Hills has a good record in introducing high class runners at the Craven Meeting and all three runners here showed promise. Servoca sat closest to the pace and had that advantage. He took some time to get going as the pace increased and finished well later in the race on the uphill part. Ouqba was probably the most promising after getting through to 3rd despite getting blocked at least twice as he switched from the rails to try to get past the fading pacemakers folding in front of him.
    • Without having seen Brenin Taran it is possible to think he holds the form down given his poor sales price and so-so pedigree. He looked big enough in the group but made as much ground up as any from a slow start and last place at halfway. He had a smooth run through to do it thanks to the jockey angling to the centre early but you have to believe he's an OR80+ rater if you think the form standard shown here was strong.
    • Asaint Needs Brass probably sets a good marker for the form and improved on his Kempton effort although again fading late on. He did it off a stiffer pace here and was giving a lot of weight all round. He can still rate a B2yoR figure of 50+ with development and finishing a race off completely. Icesolator is an interesting one because his 9th place doesn't tell the whole story. He was on the rail when the pacemakers stalled back into him and never switched towards the centre to find the run through. His jockey, and the horse, spent the last 1.5 furlongs looking at a gap between the rails and fader Rayvin Mad and deciding it was too small to get through.
    • More low quality fare at Beverley on the same day with two divisions of the auction, again on slow ground and with a lot of incompetence on show. The rail proved an advantage but setting the pace a disadvantage with both front-runners fading badly. The second division looked garbage and run in a slower time. The limited Soul Sista didn't have to run to her Folkestone debut to win comfortably from what looks a poor group. The first division looks better although still probably moderate to approaching average at best. Tim Easterby's Favourite Girl showed some promise in getting to a remote third after disappearing stage left from the stalls before hanging back to the rails. The trainers debut runners are typically poor and any sign of ability a good sign so she ought to be much better STO. The race was also notable for the defeat of Another Luke from the 'Brocklesby-Saxford-Raimond Ridge' form line.
    • Thursday's racing proved an antidote to the lacklustre events at Warwick. At Ripon Tim Easterby won the 'Romantic Myth' maiden for the third time in a row with the newcomer Anglesarke who is presumably his best early filly and will run in the Hilary Needler at the end of May. That race saw Mel Brittain have a solid second on debut with Caranbola who is the second runner for new sire Lucky Story after Art Connoisseur. The trainer has had a better 2008 already than the dreadful 2007 performance and, in hindsight, the good showings of his runners on debut makes Saturday's 25/1 win by Lisburn much less of a surprise.
    • At Newmarket the 5f Maiden Fillies' race left a more positive feeling about the group than in 2007. The winner with Danehill Destiny was fully rugged in the preliminaries and a shorter model in the group. When the rug was finally removed the strength of her build was revealed and she got marked up. Even so her performance in the race was a surprise. The race was run at a crawl until the limited Dr Wintringham pulled to the lead but the pace was still slovenly. Which is why the limited filly hung on so long in front as a '2f Sprint' developed to end the race. With that kind of shape to the race it ought to be difficult to make ground but Danehill Destiny came from being held up in last to sweep past on the outside for a clear win (interesting to know whether the centre track conferred any advantage). It took her a bit of time to get going but she is clearly well above average on the manner of her performance.
    • Barry Hills ran two in the race in 2007 with the smaller, chunkier, natural 5f one winning while the bigger, lengthier, lighter framed chestnut one finished third. The winner never ran again but the third proved up to winning a Listed race in later season. This year he ran a similar combination with the smaller, chunkier one (Misdaqeya) running an undistinguished race and the taller, lighter, chestnut one (Art Princess) a solid second with a centre field run. Try comparing these four :-
    • Top row is Mookhlesa and Spinning Lucy & bottom row is Misdaqeya and Art Princess. A big point to note is how much more forward in their coats and fitness the 2007 runners look in a year which had a warm and dry spring. Barry Hills debut runners have been running below standard this year and the lack of readiness, shine & fitness probably has a bearing and related to the cold, wet spring. Given the choice B2yoR would take Misdaqeya over Mooklesa and Spinning Lucy over Art Princess. The Hamdan filly was too backward to run well here and isn't one the give up on. Art Princess was a surprise and perhaps raises doubts over the strength of the form. She's clearly up to maiden winning standard though.
    • Mambo Light cost a lot of money and contributed to the positive feeling about the fillies as a group and ran well enough in the sprint. Ought to be better than a placer like Tarkamara. The fourth was a very pleasant surprise with Beat Seven. A 10,000gns purchase with a non-2yo trainer isn't going to get you excited on profile but she's a fine lump of a girl - Picture - and showed enough athleticism in the race to suggest she can shift enough as well. The trainer's record is an issue but she ought to be up to winning an average maiden at least.
    • With River Rye in 5th you then get to the ordinary ones which you have doubts over. She had the run of the race and typically faded off a typical Hannon debut. Wouldn't be on the 'certainty to convert' STO in a maiden depending on the strength. Kevin Ryan's Fasliyanne received market support and the trainer seemed a little miffed post race that she hadn't done better. He's another trainer struggling to get his 2yos running well. She's a typical smaller, compact, neatly made and ready sprinter who ought to be seen at her best early on. If she can't beat some of the bigger fillies in the race now through precociousness she isn't going to beat them later. Misdaqeya is covered above and ought to be much better than she showed once she 'blooms'. 
    • Channon's Danidh Dubai also got a positive Paddock Review and it was a surprise to see her so unfancied at 20/1. She fell off the back of the group as soon as the later race sprint started and looked an awkward mover or ride, or possibly both. As with a number of Channon's runners (all ages) during the week she showed bouts of wilfulness and energy mixed with more down sections and this is unusual for the stable's horses. You could easily get the feeling the horses aren't quite 'right' at the moment. Anyway, on physical type grounds she has the strength and size to be an OR80+ rater at least so another to track for how she develops in condition to STO.
    • The Kempton Auction race proved to be an equally fascinating event with the first two likely to be above average. The talk beforehand was that Jamie Osborne's The Dial House was useful and they were expecting a solid debut (he doesn't get FTO winners very often remember). On Paddock Review he looked like a Cee Bargara type from 2007. Shorter height but a strong build, barrel chest and the length to add some range to his power despite his lack of height. Try picking out which of these two he is :-
    • There's a bit of a clue with 'JO' on one of the rugs but both horses are shorter but strongly built types with some length. If you compare The Dial House on the left to the lightweights Osborne has run to date you can see the difference. If you looked at him in this race against the smaller lightweights in the field like joint favourite Firth Of Forth & pony sized Smalljohn (both from the poor Gone Hunting early race at Lingfield) the reasons why he ought to be plain better are quite comfortably seen. But, he was immature on the day and needing the run to 'sharpen' him. So, who's that on the right? That's the winner Mullionmileanhour who gave weight all around. Set next to The Dial House he's even more strongly built and added a mental maturity for the day the other didn't have. Anyway, they both had too much power for the others and railed well enough to add to the disparity in expressed performance.
    • Two likeable individuals who should compete well at higher level and the winner a certain 95+ rater.
    • Nothing much else to note in the field other than to reiterate how early runners with form like Amosite & Missy Que got blown away by a better 2yo and make the point about being careful to not over-rate early season form. Various excuses for those beaten but you'd be very wary about giving them credit for it unless they are racing against each other rather than anything better than they are. Smalljohn again hung on the turn into the straight (left rather than right so he has a repertoire..), Multi Tasker did best of those 3 who duelled for the lead, Missy Que was hung wide throughout, Amosite got hampered by Smalljohn and so on. Firth Of Forth lacked pace when the better horses made their effort in the straight but finished strongly having lost ground at the start again. The view of him as a 70ish type still stands.
    • Also worth noting the Fasalee point again here. He's the opposite end of the physical set-up to the strong, bull sprinter like the winner and also too stupid and wound up to show what he can do.
    • Friday brought a small field for the Newbury 5f maiden which revealed Winker Watson as a better type in 2007. It was a mixed group behind him and the only positive on a poor Paddock Review day last year that Nacho Libre has proved the second best colt behind him as expected. In the 'Here we go again' file trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam has run two colts on debut in this race for the owner group of 'The Comic Strip Heroes' and hence the horse names. Both started favourite with Johnny Alpha second in 2005 and he didn't run again. Winker Watson won comfortably in 2007 to start off a Group race winning 2yo career. His runner here was Skid Solo who started as odds-on favourite and below he's on the right with Winker Watson on the left.
    • Similar height and frame but Winker Watson is more powerful and heavily built. Comparing Skid Solo to the more heavily built runners in the field like Hannon's Sun Ship or Barry Hills' Dabbers Chief showed that he's lacking a little in that department for a top class type. But, a solid type who ought to win his maiden comfortably enough.
    • The race itself was again run at a slow pace with a late race sprint. The ground at Newbury on both days of the meeting was soft and many horses didn't handle it at all well. Many races produced extended finishing distances with ability to handle the ground and fitness major advantages. In that context the 33/1 winner had some positives because Baycat was the fittest in the group by some margin. He was also a solid medium size and build and neatly made. Somewhat narrow in the body and put against Skid Solo would be a little bit smaller in any dimension but still big enough to compete with a preparation advantage. Compared to a bull like Sun Ship he's lightly made.
    • In summary, the winner was the fittest and handled the ground best to wear down two who are probably his superiors late on. Skid Solo and Sun Ship both ran well and ought to be 80+ and maiden winners and perhaps somewhat better.
    • Entrancer is a notably compact and heavy build but a bits-and-pieces conformation. Left behind as the sprint started and not particularly ready for the day. Probable 70-75 type and need time to win on typical trainer methods. Dabbers Chief was another Barry Hills clueless merchant in a season where he has had more than normal. Bungled the break, got back into the group as they jogged along but then blown away as the sprint started. Ought to be 80+ on physical set-up.
    • Klynch was Brian Meehan's first 2yo runner of the season and his debut runners can be variable although the better ones usually show some ability and place and occasionally win this early in the year. He tends to run his better ones at Newmarket and used to start his best early sprinters at the Craven Meeting. With the colts' maiden at the meeting history he would have had to run Klynch in the conditions race at that course and clearly didn't think he was up to it. He has run newcomers in that race in recent years with Major Eazy & Deadshot Keen (both for the Comic Strip Heroes owners) both making the first 4 on the way to being dual winners during the season. 
    • He ran the seller winner Rough Rock in the race last year behind Winker Watson and on physical grounds Klynch looked better than that and more a 75+ sprinter. But he was too inexperienced to run well and gave trouble loading into the stalls and didn't appear to handle the ground after blowing the start. He may run again quickly having been declared to run at Windsor two days later unless that was a mistake.
    • At Thirsk Michael Bell's Bahamian Babe continued the handler's 100% start to the season by winning the Novice race. She only scrambled home in the end but is value for more than the winning distance. She had the rail advantage but got into a battle for the lead with Saxford & Marygate who had both run before. She saw those two off well enough for both of that pair to disintegrate and finish well back and went clear towards the final furlong. Unsurprisingly she got tired in the final furlong and hung left allowing the outpaced Gone Hunting to close on her but she went through the race like much the best horse.
    • To finish this piece it is worth reiterating how poorly a number of trainers who would have shown us a winner or two and some solid debuts by now have one. Top of the list would be Mick Channon who would have managed a couple of wins and a string of promising places by now in most years. Four places to date (3 of those runners unplaced next time out) and difficult to name a runner who is certain to win soon. He clearly has some better kit to bring out but a slow start. Barry Hills normally shows us usable 2yos early on and then some better ones at the Craven Meeting. The results at Newmarket were up to standard with 3 in the first 5 places in the Conditions race and a 2nd place in the fillies' event. But, away from that meeting Mr Melodious, Dabbers Chief & Kyllorien have fared poorly and Misdaqeya looked well short of readiness at Newmarket.
    • Finally to Kevin Ryan for whom early season runners tend to be usable 2yos who make the first 2-5 places first time and the better ones win. Amorachy, Dougie Peel & Majuba have all been unable to compete because of lack of nous and readiness and Count Almaviva was beaten on debut at odds-on. Fasliyanne seemed to run well enough at Newmarket but in a slow-quick race that didn't spread them out. He ought to be producing some debut winners soon but seems a couple of weeks behind schedule and possibly hasn't shown us a really better one yet.

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