Three very interesting maidens for a Saturday after a rather empty week.
Leicester the shape of the profile seems to simplest to grasp. Peter
Chapple-Hyam has a very good record with his second time out (STO) runners
and a good profit with those runners in most areas whatever categories
you split them by. One area where the record has been only lightly tested
is with STO runs prior to June. Only two STO runs have produced one short
priced winner and a very small profit. But, a profit.
Since he came back to train in the UK from a lucrative, if not that successful,
spell in Hong Kong he has run only a few early 2yos. These have been a
mix of some precocious ones with limited ambitions but have often included
some of his best 2yos. The 14 juveniles to make their debuts in April and
May for him during 2004-7 are split as 10 who won during the season and
4 that did not. Those four non-winners included three that ran only once
(the 2007 example was Orientalist Art in 2007 who has shown himself to
be useful already in 2008) and the placer Silver Hotspur who is now proving
a solid type as a 4yo. Which means that his reputation as a good judge
of a 2yo looks sound to the point of being concreted in.
With a good group of 2yos in 2007 the first runner was Winker Watson (Group
2 winner), followed by three who won Listed races in the year - Polar Circle,
Declaration of War & Western Art. The previous year two serviceable
juveniles capable of rating in the low 70s (OR) were followed by Tariq
& Dutch Art running all over their maiden fields for debut successes.
The trainer has run two so far this year with Skid Solo running second
at odds-on while trying to look like Winker Watson and Rayvin Mad
finished 7th in a big field for a Newmarket conditions race. He started
at 11/2 and ran better than that finishing position suggests. He was reportedly
a ready 2yo type in appearance and assisted with the pacemaking as he ran
the far rail. The horses he worked with were already winners and they combined
to set too strong a pace. The first three past halfway were in 2nd to 4th
at the furlong marker and faded together uphill to finish together in 6th
to 8th. He set a solid debut rating even with the fade and should be at
his peak here in a weaker group. Which means he is going to set a very
stiff standard for a newcomer here.
The unusual horse in opposition is Jeremy Noseda's Waffle. As he
was developing towards his current status as 'larger' stable Mr Noseda
could whizz up a 2yo for debut to match just about anyone. The days of
following up a Brocklesby placer by producing an expensive horse (Distant
Mist) hard fit on March 31st to iron out a field of early, AW, rabbits
as he did in 2001 are presumably history. He hasn't had a runner before
May in the last two years and is notable for targetting starting his best
2yos out in late May and early June. The best of these can win FTO on ability
rather than priming and even the better ones can be heavy on the artlessness.
As with Chapple-Hyam his earliest runners each season will include his
very best mixed in with some more modest, but competitive at the 65-75
range at least, talents.
So, the question is why Waffle is starting out this early. Go back to the
2003-5 period and the last four horses he started out in April are a likeable
bunch. In 2003 he ran Peak To Creek to finish third in this Leicester race
when he was behind La Cucaracha (older Group 1 winner). He won 7 times
as a juvenile ending with a Group 3 success. In 2004 his only debut runner
before May was Blue Dakota who won the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes at Royal
Ascot. His last two April start-outs were in 2005 with the Group placed
Salut D'Amour and the, erhem..., useless Zafarilla.
Waffle's has a moderate pedigree with his dam being one of those 85ish
rated fillies who can get Listed placed at 2yo without being anything notable
in quality terms. She was the best of a moderate family and has produced
three previous foals which the sales catalogues try to sweep under the
carpet. Which makes it interesting he cost a very high €180,000 as
a yearling. With all that background you can easily convince yourself Waffle
could be pretty good and might push Rayvin Mad reasonably hard.
Some interest behind in which of the others can show enough to be minor
winners although you wouldn't expect them to compete for the win today
(although worth noting the useless Soul Provider was a strong finishing
4th just behind Peak To Creek back in 2003 and these maidens often don't
spread abilities out fully). Golden Missile has a much stronger
pedigree than Waffle but only cost $25,000 when bought as a yearling in
the US and that had declined to £15,000 when he was sold at the Kempton
2yo breeze-up sale in March (i.e. a loss to the 'pinhooker' trying to make
a buy-to-sell profit). Give Waffle his pedigree and he probably would have
cost even more assuming the price in Ireland was for his physical appearance.
Anyway, Golden Missile seems likely to be the 'fun 2yo' end of things rather
than a better 2yo for his reliable trainer.
Johnmanderville's trainer Karl Burke brings his 2yos along as a
group to peak from later May onwards and has only had one win prior to
that in the last three years. This one looked a solid size and build on
debut when he blew the break and then got into the group well enough aided
by an ordinary race pace. As soon as the pace quickened he was left behind
but the slow start is some excuse. This seems more likely to be a development
run and should be a solid improvement from his first go. What level of
rating he shows here would be a good indicator as to what he can reach
into May when at his peak.
Tom Dascombe runs Classic Blade who just about has a 5f pedigree
and the trainer seems to be targetting some early runners this year. The
only one to actually run so far missed the break too badly to provide a
FTO win even in a weak race. This is a stronger one so another to assess.
Mick Quinlan's filly Simple Rhythm was bred by the family and has
a limited quality pedigree and a 5lb apprentice. She seems more likely
to be the limited type getting going early rather than the better type
of debut for the handler.
In summary, a really interesting race at the front between Rayvin
Mad and Waffle providing the second of those doesn't show too much inexperience.
Hopefully he's another better type of early debut for the trainer and one
The Ripon race is a fillies' auction race. This means that they
carry different weights depending upon how much they cost at the sales
and with an upper limit on the amount. The top weight is Mousy Mousy
who looks the Tim Easterby second string on jockeys and she cost 22,000gns.
A sizeable sum for most of us but barely reaching lower-to-average level
in the current sales market. The bottom weights get 8lbs from her and cost
between 2,000 to 3,800gns which is the bargain basement and off-cuts section.
Remember that the minimum bid at most sales is in the 500-800gns range
to deter any 'meat market' traders buying live 'carcasses' to transport
for the european market.
The consideration of how much these weight allowances affect the results
is a research project in it's own right. In general the effect of weight
differences is treated differently by various sections of the racing followers.
At one extreme you have the 'Linear effect' handicappers where 1lb extra
equals the same change in expressed performance no matter what. At the
other end you have the I-dont-factor-weight-into-the-calculations-at-all
This tends to look a lot like the responses to the problems of non-linear
equations that turn up in various areas like trying to model how friction
effects work. At one end you can assume the effect is close to linear in
the limited range you are working in (the handicapper approach) or to assume
the effect is so small you can ignore it (..the 'imagine the billiard ball
is rolling on smooth granite so that friction can be ignored' approach,
or perhaps the old one about '...let's assume a spherical horse').
The B2yoR view is that the effect is non-linear with steeper curved areas
in the graph mixed in with flatter areas which equate to 'Class Levels'.
Choose a steeper curved part of the graph and the 'Linear Effect' approach
fits quite well. Choose a flat area and the 'ignore it' approach fits well
enough. Try and apply either across the whole range and they wouldn't work.
The BIG but is that handicaps gather together horses in relatively small
ability ranges so that in the limited ranges either model can be bodged
to give sensible answers.
The important point to note is the existence of 'Class Levels' and what
happens if you try to step a horse out of it's comfortable competition
level. If we take this fillies' race as an example if the 2,000gns filly
is a rabbit and she's receiving 8lbs from a filly who belongs in the next
higher class the weight won't bring them together. It brings together athletes
in the same range on the Class 'Plateaus' but you need much bigger allowances
to jump between them. At the root of this is how the horse's performance
breaks down under race pace pressure in the three main 'drive' areas. This
linear and hence the Class levels.
Or, you could sidestep all that and sidle up to a bloke in the betting
shop and ask whether they think 8lbs is enough for Caranbola to
beat the topweight. This isn't a handicap so the horses haven't been gathered
together in an arranged quality band. But, the price the topweight can
cost is limited to attempt to keep out better types that you couldn't assign
enough of a weight differential to that would bring the different physical
types together. Even so, the received wisdom with auction races is that
the topweights will be the better types and be able to overcome any weight
disparities given a level playing field. Well, Mousy Mousy has had a typical
Tim Easterby debut preparation and Caranbola managed to run his best early
filly close off level weights )ignoring the apprentice's 3lb) so they are
on different playing fields. Caranbola sets a solid standard off bottom
weight to judge the others by.
Woteva ran in another auction race on debut where the draw (stalls
10 & 11 where the first pair home typically) and competence meant that
the higher weights didn't figure. More tilted playing fields. That looked
similar form to Caranbola's and she has to give that filly 4lbs and it
looks a tight choice between them.
Kevin Ryan had a filly on STO well beaten in the race last year and runs
a similar type with Fasliyanne. She's a small, neat, early 2yo without
longer term prospects and this is presumably her level despite the Newmarket
debut. She wouldn't be a class above the others but is likely to be a lowish
value price given her connections and 'major course form'.
The really interesting runners in Willie Haggas' The Magic Of Rio.
The Leicester notes cover how the early debut for Waffle might indicate
a better type. Mr Haggas is an even later starter with his 2yos than Noseda
normally. Until this year he had a total of 3 runs before June in
2002-7. He has already run one filly in 2008 with Danehill Destiny a taking
winner of the Newmarket maiden that Fasliyanne ran in.
Like both Noseda & Chapple-Hyam the earliest debuts for Haggas include
a mix of ready & usable types along with the best he has. His earliest
runner in 2003 was Majestic Missile (2yo Group winner), 2005 Sharplaw Star
(Queen Mary placer) & 2006 Conquest (Group 2 winner) and Group winner
Enticing was the third out. None of those started before mid June. On that
basis we can assume Danehill Destiny is Queen Mary bound. So, why is The
Magic Of Rio out this early? If she's any good she could win this first
go but it seems more likely she's a precocious 75-82 type in the longer
term like his first runners last year.
The others don't really appeal as possible winners with the pair with experience
of Dispol Mulofky not good enough and lacking scope to progress and Meg
Jicaro likely not to be quick enough and staying on at the finish again.
The others seem unlikely to be ready/good enough FTO with the possible
exception of Fashion Icon. She has positives in that trainer
David Barron does get FTO winners and is by a sire who made a very good
start to his career in 2007. If she is running this early she ought to
be a usable 2yo by the trainer's methods and he likes to put his horses
in the right grade to compete. But his FTO strike rate is very variable
(0-18% range in recent years) and you don't know what you are going to
get with his first runners until they start. On balance one to check closely
for promise rather than a winner on the day.
In summary, Fasliyanne made a typical debut for the trainer to be
an average winner without being overpowering in this grade and may well
be poor value. Caranbola seemed to make a solid debut and tests the Anglezarke
form and her trainer is in better form this year and appeals as an alternative
depending on the prices. Given the background fascinating to see why The
Magic Of Rio is here, hopefully not just because she's a duff runaround.
The Ripon auction maiden has produced a solid set of recent winners with
all of those successful since 2001 fitted a profile of OR80s raters. Because
of their early starts they can often find a second race to win but then
find Listed+ events too taxing. You could point to Bow Bridge's Listed
race win in 2005 as being a win above that level but that doesn't really
work. She won the first edition of the 'Marygate Stakes' in May for fillies
which hasn't proved up to Listed class and she struggled in weak versions
of better races later. She beat Gamble In Gold & Ooh Aah Camara for
her Listed win who both competed off OR85-89 ratings as 3yos to give a
further clue to the quality of filies that can be Listed types and Queen
Mary placers in many years.
Which brings us to Haydock which could be a stronger field than Ripon in
theory because the top level limit on purchase price is removed and home
breds can also run. Last year the race was won in taking style by newcomer
Janina who cost Hamdan Al Maktoum 110,000gns. The first six home included
Jennifers Joy who cost €150,000, Socceroo at 40,000gns and Edie
Superstar at $260,000 and none of them would have been able to get into
the Ripon race. But it wasn't a strong race for all that (Result)
with only Janina going on to win at higher level and the other 15 fillies'
struggled to add in three open maiden wins. Janina won the suspect Marygate
Stakes before stepping up to 6f and finding the shape of the race against
her at Royal Ascot in the Albany Stakes. Interesting to see whether she's
better than that OR85-90 range as a 3yo. She ought to be on looks.
A smaller field at Haydock this year and a cheaper one overall with the
top three on profile in the 45,000 to 65,000gns range. Maggie Lou
is a homebred who is probably racing for a partnership before being retained
by her breeders for her stud career. She has a solid enough pedigree but
the stable's main jockey is at Ripon so perhaps she isn't an above average
debut type. That would make her a placed runner today off a typical debut.
The two runners with form fared differently FTO. Cecilia's Lass
was the 'Class' of her group as a 28,000gns purchase in the second race
of the season at Warwick. But, like the trainer's first ever 2yo runner
in the Brocklesby she never got involved. Both have had breaks suggesting
the trainer thought he went too far with the 'leaving something to work
on' bit. But, she showed so little in a weak race, with the set ground
as a possible excuse, to expect her to compete for the win.
Camelot Communion ran only 5 days ago at Pontefract in a race which
was just a jog around the Park and not a proper race. She might
well have worked harder at home aside from finding the steep section into
the straight not quite to her liking. She made up 1.5 lengths of the 2
length start donated to the leader in the home straight and a solid enough
effort but a poor rating because of the slow race time. The trainer has
run eight 2yos back within 7 days of debut in the last 4 years with no
wins, 3 places and 5 unplaced which is a bit of a worry. So, she sits at
the top of the profile but with an ordinary profile rating and one she
didn't run close to FTO.
There isn't a 'Janina' in the rest of the field on profile and the best
of them don't run for trainers who get FTO winners much at this time of
the year. Tim Easterby runs Wigan Pier & if she is a normal
debut she'll be out the back looking as at home as a fins on the deck of
a boat. The stable's main jockey is again at Ripon and rides the lower
weighted of the fillies in the Auction race. She rates higher than normal
in the profile because she is an expensive purchase for the trainer (his
typical range is 20-25,000gns and she cost 65,000) and he can get odd strong
Aahaygirl at €70,000 is at the expensive end of her trainer's
purchase price range as well. He does get 2yo debut winners but usually
in a group staring from after mid-May. If she is here because she's especially
precocious as well as good this is a winnable race for her but the trainer's
debuts at this stage of the year usually run out of puff in the last furlong.
The others below Maggie Lou are cheaper purchases and could have got into
the Ripon event. On 'Class' terms only Bahamian Ceilidh looks competitive
if the better profiles include a good type. She's another example of a
trainer going back to a 'family' he knows and she's the third foal from
the dam to end up with Rod Millman. The first was a very good 2yo in Cop
Hill Lad and the other a pretty limited filly. Mr Millman seems to have
stopped the debut win attempts after the remarkable 2005 start so an educational
intro seems more likely.
In summary, not a race to have strong views about. Camelot Communion
has a '2' next to her name and may well be ok material but she didn't actually
achieve a lot FTO and her trainer doesn't have a great record of converting
off short breaks to STO. A stronger debut performance could easily see
her turned over as favourite but she has got a little lucky there because
there doesn't seem to be a Janina. Wigan Pier is at least as likely to
be a blowout as a winner so you'd need 10/1+ to be inerested. Aahaygirl
& Maggie Lou provide the most solid debut types to upset and on pure
'time of the season' grounds you would go for Maggie Lou.