British 2yo Racing - 2008 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - April 30th 
Races :-
  • 43: Ascot 2:10, 5f Conditions (3)
  • 44: Great Leighs 5:50, 5f Maiden (5)
  • 45: Pontefract 2:20, 5f Maiden (4)

  • Race Virtual Paddocks FTO P&L Qualifiers
    • White Shift (PD Evans, Long Shot, Great Leighs). Trainer has got his typical early season success and the later debuts are usually lesser types. There is often the odd better type mixed in during May which can win a weaker race but White Shift does not have that profile and is in a tough race.
    • Go Nani Go (B Smart, March to May. Pontefract), gets regular debut winners in the first half of the season with the best and most natural of his 2yos. He tends to buy neat & ready, but powerful, types that can compete well FTO. This one is an expensive purchase for an important arab owner for whom he had a debut win with Helvellyn and that one went on to Coventry Stakes success. Making it's debut as his first runner of the season in a Class 4 maiden that does get targeted for better types by Northern trainers.
    • Cutting Comments  (M Dods, Long Shot, Pontefract). Trainer notable for getting runners mostly ready on debut and can win in middling Northern maidens. This one has just a moderate to average Sales Report. His first 2yo runner ran poorly and he has taken a 25 day break to run the next one suggesting it should be more primed. Ought to compete well but has found a tough pair at the top of the profile.

      April 30th Summary : 
    • It seems to have changed name but let's call the Class 3 Conditions event at Ascot the 'Garter Stakes'. For what ought to be a major early season target at a premier course the recent winners haven't been that strong. The 2004 winner Prince Charming came from an unusual source in John Gosden and ran well enough at Royal Ascot and won a Listed race in later season. Last year's race (Result) was contested by just useful types for the most part with the later Listed winner Fat Boy failing as favourite prior to a longish break from the track. Some of the renewals have been thinner than that and really were the peak of the season's performances for precocious types.
    • This year's field seems a good chance to consider the issue of 'Class Levels' again. When horses of different basic levels (say OR 65, 75, 85, 95, 105) meet in these level weight events, with penalties for winners, it is usually a good chance to see difference in class demonstrated. Handicaps do this at times but they are set up to bring together horses of similar abilities and with weight differentials according to their perceived ability. In this sort of race if you are a '75' horse running against a '95' horse at level weights there isn't anywhere to hide and the distances will tell the story. If you try to 'serve it up' to a horse of a better class, with a higher cruising speed, you will just end end making the finishing distances wider. Perhaps better to not wake-the-dragon at all and take your 2 length beating as it wins comfortably.
    • [The 2007 Preview for the race covers Conditions Races and SPs along with 'Class Ladders' in some detail. While there is always some form of 'self fulfilling prophecy' at work with ratings the Class Ladder Figures and end of season ratings (B2yoR estimates) for the runners were :- Fat Boy (83-80); Battlecruiser (Debut, 80-17, sold 3,000gns season end); Mount Pleasure (76-73); Kersaint (74-62); Major Eazy (72-72); Littlemisssunshine (68-70); Thunder Bay (66-64); Sauze D'Oulx (61-61). Other than Kersaint & Battlecruiser, who had not been paddock reviewed before Ascot, the Class profile ratings held up well enough to be in the right order and at the right levels.].
    • Issues such as ground suitability, style of race, fitness & condition can bring horses together but wont make a 75er better than a 95er although it may well make the better horse look like it's struggling to win. Leaving aside the newcomers in the Ascot race if you were to line up the 5 who have run before in class order you would have Sun Ship & Skid Solo in the same sort of area with Baycat a bit lower down. Grand Honour & First Of Forth would be lower in the below 60 (B2yoR figures) zone. In this instance the position on the class ladder actually follows the sales prices with Baycat at 21,000gns intermediate in purchase price to the pair either side of him.
    • In essence, looking for the winner of the race isn't much more difficult than that. We should be looking for the best athlete(s) and then checking that they can run to that level today. Baycat was the fittest of the three when he met Sun Ship and Skid Solo at Newbury and outstayed them on sticky ground. He has less scope to improve than that pair and has to give them four pounds. The going conditions may well be the same at Ascot with heavy rain in the south but one of those behind him at Newbury should beat him.
    • Preference on the day is just for Sun Ship who was less ready than Skid Solo at Newbury and has more scope to improve. Richard Hannon has a solid record in the race and has normally run close to his best precocious early winning colt. He has only had one male winner to date with Bonnie Charlie and if he's as good as the vibes suggest he will probably go to the Windsor Conditions race in mid May. If he turns up in the Lily Agnes at Chester it would be a bad sign qualitywise. Which means that Sun Ship and possibly Icesolator (ran in the Newmarket Conditions race in April) are the best of his early colts.
    • Skid Solo lacks the strong build of Winker Watson (debuted in the equivalent Newbury race in 2007) and this type of race looks more his level and he should compete strongly for the win but at limited value odds. First Of Forth hasn't put a full race together yet and ran well enough behind two useful types last time at Kempton to suggest he can win but this type of race looks above his physical level. He should be staying on well at the finish but lacking the overall class. Grand Honour is well built but very small and has struggled for pace in two AW races around bends. Switching to turf on a straight course isn't going to help his lack of pace and he has looked a strong finisher in his grade who will be up to winning nurseries at 7f around OR70-74 later int he year. But that isn't the sort of class that should matter here. 
    • The newcomers are an interesting group but should find the runners with experience too tough at these weights. Hannon runs a second string with Red Rossini who was an expensive purchase given his sire Rossini's overall record. Likely to be a good type and a solid future winner but a 4th+ finish here.
    • Brian Meehan doesn't often start 2yos in conditions races and is 0-6 for wins in the last 4 years. However, they have usually been solid winners at least and a certain Red Rocks was one of them when ninth in a Newbury conditions race first go. Light The Fire is an expensive son of Invincible Spirit out of an American sprint dam. He ought to be a solid winner in the Deadshot Keen/Major Eazy mould if he is here but wouldn't win FTO unless real high class.
    • Mark Johnston ran a Sheikh Mohammed homebred in the race last year called Battlecruiser which was on it's debut. It looked big and usable enough to suggest it might be alright but ran a shocker. Several more runs of the same negative promise saw him sold off at season's end for 3,000gns by which time he looked half the size he did at Ascot in May. What was all that about? More of the same here with a 16,000gns purchase in Pride Of Kings. He was bred by Floors Stud for whom Johnston trained Attraction and this one is vaguely related to her (in the sense that we are all related to Shakespeare at some genetic level). 
    • Now, he has been passed on to Jaber Abdullah who has long had a privileged position with Mick Channon and often gets useful fillies passed on to him who were bought cheaply. Look no further back than 2007 when Group winning fillies Nahoodh & Nijoom Dubai both cost 19,000gns and raced for him with Channon. Does he have the same position with Johnston? The sales report on Pride Of Kings was very, that's very, negative about his chances at 2yo and you have to stick with that unless he has entirely metamorphosed over the winter. As we saw from the 2007 escapade a Johnston debut in this race for a major, that's major, arab owner doesn't mean much so a very mixed story.
    • In summary, the runners from the Newbury event look higher class than the AW pair and the best of the unpenalised pair should prevail. Interest for the future in two of the newcomers and let's hope, for the sales reporters' sake, Pride Of Kings is a duff one.
    • The Pontefract Class 4 maiden actually has a stronger roll call of winners and participants than the Garter Stakes and it is regularly targeted by northern trainers to introduce better types. The 2000 winner Atmospheric was successful in the Listed Woodcote stakes and next year Lord Merlin went on to place in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. In 2002 the giant Sanbenito won with Windsor Castle winner Revenue in second and older Group 3 winner Naahy in third. 2003 saw the Norfolk Stakes victor break his maiden second go. Things have got a bit more variable since but in 2005 Strike The Band went on to place in both the Norfolk Stakes and the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and in 2007 Cee Bargara went on to be 6th in the Coventry Stakes. 
    • A race to take seriously in profile and this year's race seems to come down to just three contenders and a long tail of lesser types who wont be going anywhere near Royal Ascot. Art Princess didn't particularly impress in paddock review before her Newmarket debut and was notably immature and lary. Her lengthier, slightly narrow set-up didn't suggest she was a real 5f type either. In that context she appeared to run quite well in getting from 7th to 2nd with a clear centre course run in a race with a slow early pace and a 2f sprint at the end. The actual form level is not strong and as much was demonstrated when the 6th (Fasliyanne) got ironed out in an ordinary Ripon auction at the weekend. On the positive side the 4th Beat Seven saw off a similarly limited group of fillies in an auction race on Monday. A further test of the form and while setting a reasonable standard you suspect a better colt might have too much strength & speed for her late on.
    • Which brings us nicely to the other runner who has the profile to end up much closer to Royal Ascot. Go Nani Go is Bryan Smart's first 2yo runner of the season. He produced his best returns with juveniles in 2007 and has looked a trainer to take very seriously when he has the right material. The debut runners are good in the first half of the season as well and his best record is with runners at the 5-6f sprint distances. His runner's pedigree is good for 5f and the owner an important one for the stable. All the right boxes ticked for this being a good debut for a better type and targeted at this important maiden.
    • Michael Dods debut runner Cutting Comments is the other with the profile to be at  least an average winner and he should be ready to compete today. Probable each-way value depending upon the price but this is stronger than the typical average maiden that he gets debut wins in.
    • In summary, a race lacking depth but with real interest at the top and two who may well be Ascot material. B2yoR wasn't quite convinced by Art Princess at Newmarket and that form may be over-rated. In that context it is easy to convince yourself that Go Nani Go could well be value if he is a longer price than the filly. Perhaps he'll come with a reputation that pushes him to favourite anyway.
    • The first ever 2yo race at Great Leighs is more typical fare but it will be interesting to see if The Dial House can convert his debut promise to an easy win. He ran behind what looked to be one of the best 2yos seen so far at Kempton on his initial run but was a comfortable second best and a solid debut by the trainer standards. The trainer's STO runners have not gone well in early season and he hasn't had a winner yet (Mount Pleasure & Cee Bargara won the same day's Ascot & Pontefract races in 2007 for his 4th & 5th successes). But, this one looked better quality than the earlier rabbits and should win this.
    • Further interest because new trainer Simon Callaghan has his first 2yo runner with Mr Kipling. He's Neville Callaghan's son which means he has some shoulders to stand on. While Tom Dascombe is trying to get wins out of 5,000gns purchases like Firth Of Forth early in his career for example the younger Callaghan starts with a filly for the Sangsters & Greens (art dealers) in partnership. Mrs Kipling cost 55,000gns and has just an ordinary pedigree so the price was, hopefully, more to do with her substance that that of her 'catalogue page'. Which would be useful since she has to do the running and carrying.
    • The father only got debut wins with his very best 2yos to a good approximation and his only two since 2003 were with Excellent Art in 2006 and Gaspar Van Wittel (probably his best 2yo in 2007 running for one of the Greens). We can perhaps assume the same for the son and this is likely to be a solid filly who should place but find The Dial House too tough.
    • Trainer Ed Dunlop has his first 2yo runner of the year with the owner bred Barbee and he does get debut winners but usually after mid season. She is likely to be a moderate to average type out early to compete for the win in easier company but shouldn't be up to winning this.
    • =================================================================
    • Raiph Beckett must think this training palaver is an easy game. You are pretty good at what you do anyway and they make it easier for you. You have a type you buy at the sales which you know you can get wins with and the better versions of it you can get to rate into the OR80s. Think Concertmaster & Asaint Needs Brass. You wander along to the 2yo breeze up sales in March at Kempton and there is another one and you manage to buy it for £15,000 which is nothing. Someone else has kept, fed and vetted the thing for 6 months longer that if you bought it as a yearling. Plus, they have had to break it for riding and do the initial build-up training.
    • So, you get your £15,000 bargain home and get it out of the box and try it out to see what's wrong with it. The answer is nothing and you have another usable 2yo of the type & colour you like to impress an owner with. It gets called Missile Dodger (picture) and you enter it at Leicester but take it out because Noseda and Chapple-Hyam have some useful kit in opposition. Instead run it at Bath 4 days later and let it run away from an ordinary group and stand around in the winners' enclosure looking pretty pleased with yourself. And, Why Not? Where were all the experts when you were buying this one for £15k?
    ~ ASCT 2:10 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    8 SUN SHIP [56] - 2 35 1 35 29
    7 SKID SOLO [55] - 2 38 1 38 51
    1 BAYCAT [50] -4 2 40 1 40 21
    4 LIGHT THE FIRE [42] - 1 28
    3 FIRTH OF FIFTH [40] - 3 32 2 26
    2 GRAND HONOUR [38] -4 3 29 2 27 23
    6 RED ROSSINI [36] - 1 29
    5 PRIDE OF KINGS [16] - 1 32

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    ~ GLGH 5:50 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    2 THE DIAL HOUSE [48] - 2 38 1 38 39
    5 MRS KIPLING [40] +5 1
    4 BARBEE [28] +5 1 21
    1 LONSDALE LAD [24] - 1 21
    7 WHITE SHIFT [21] +5 1 21
    6 READY TO PRIME [16] +5 1 13
    3 TWO AND EIGHTS [14] - 2 -16 1 -16

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    ~ PFCT 2:20 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    10 ART PRINCESS [48] - 2 38 1 38 39
    4 GO NANI GO [46] -5 1 29
    1 CUTTING COMMENTS [38] -5 1 31
    6 MYMATEERIC [32] -5 1
    5 MULLGLEN [26] -5 1 22
    2 EL PORTET [24] -5 1 34
    8 TITO GOBBI [24] -5 1 33
    11 EILEAN EEVE [21] - 3 16 1 16 12
    9 TOBY TYLER [21] -5 1 23
    12 SANDIES SISTER [18] - 1 16
    7 RIOS BOY [17] -5 1 22
    3 FITZOLINI [6] -5 1

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