Three races this Saturday and the Maiden at Goodwood will only have
a small field. Three colts have been declared along with the filly Dream
City who ran at Lingfield yesterday as Marcus Tregoning's first runner
of the year. She finished in midfield and seems unlikely to run again.
The favourite for the race should be Richard Hannon's Icesolator
who finished 9th in the Conditions race at the Newmarket Craven meeting
in mid-April. That race appeared to feature a number of promising 2yos
and has been rated very highly in some publications. As is often the case
the level of form behind the comfortable winner was not that high and picking
out the better types with long term futures from the ordinary, and readier,
ones requires more than just looking at positions.
To make the point the horse that got from 12th, and last, at halfway at
Newmarket to 4th and still closing in was the cheaply retained Brenin
He went to Brighton last weekend in a typical attempt to ensure a win.
If you went to Brighton, and stood in the ever present rain this year,
you wouldn't have found him to be the imposing specimen you might have
expected from the 'eyecatching Newmarket 4th' tag. A little below medium
size, somewhat narrow and underpowered and a usable early 2yo but not with
long term prospects to be a better type.
He was beaten by Smokey Storm (picture)
who had finished a similar sort of fourth in what was a tough Windsor maiden
FTO and similar form to Brenin Taran's effort. If you didn't know anything
about the background at Brighton and just looked at the two of them together
they are the same type, you might just have preferred Smokey Storm who
is a bit bigger and with more depth in front. The 'Newmarket' aura (an
echo of Race Standardisation) prevailed of course and Brenin Taran started
6/5f favourite but got caught by Smokey Storm. They were five lengths clear
which suggests the form might be useful but the 3rd had blown himself up
by running too freely and the others look limited (aside from the 5th Old
Father Zieten who looked a usable little bull type sprinter but was too
lacking in nous to keep up early in the race).
The 6th from the Newmarket race in Rayvin Mad was beaten by newcomer Waffle
at Leicester the day before Brighton and looked too much on the small side
to be a real better type. The well beaten 10th was thumped again at Southwell
yesterday. That doesn't suggest the Newmarket race was worth rating OR
100 for the winner with the placed and midfield horses rating in the 80s
& 70s. The number of 2yo maidens and conditions races with a lot of
newcomers which reach that level in the whole season will be very, very,
small. To believe it happened on April 16th, even at Newmarket, is tremendously
implausible. Perhaps Rayvin Mad & Brenin Taran have been unlucky and
ran into ogres. But, if the race was worth OR75-85 for the midfield in,
many with notes for them being worth more than the raw result, you should
be expecting the bulk of them to go and win ordinary maidens 'for fun'
next time with 5-7lbs worth of improvement from debut. They haven't and
perhaps we are falling into another ever present trap, that of believing
races make horses rather than horses making races (discuss...).
With which what to make of Icesolator. He got trapped on the rail behind
the folding pacemakers and never got the chance to show us his 'eyecatching
finish' if he has one. While the others were making ground up the centre
past the faders (always a good way to make a 'finish' look better than
it is because humans look at things relatively and the 'fading' seen as
positive finishing efforts) Icesolator was carried back to 9th. He got
a 'BTR' note (Better Than Result) to indicate he had a real excuse or had
shown some abnormal ability in the grade. In his case it was the obvious
'blocked out' excuse.
In short, we don't know how good he is but we do know the quality of that
race in real performance terms (i.e. not what the best of the bunch
can achieve over a season) wasn't what the headlines would have you think.
If the Hannon's chose to send him there for a race they have usually run
previous winners in we should think he's a bit better than ordinary maiden
class and should set a good standard here. The form of the Newmarket race
gets a further test on Sunday when Ouqba, who really did look promising
in the way he made ground through the faders to 3rd runs in the
tough looking Newmarket maiden. He finished close to Brenin Taran but looks
a much stronger profile than that one for future development.
Icesolator is opposed by two colts as newcomers and they are a a solid
pair. Raiph Beckett's Finnegan McCool is covered in the FTO P&L
box and is ridden by James Doyle with Sanders at Newmarket. A solid debut
expected but an 'as advertised' Icesolator should be too strong.
Amanda Perrett, Guy Harwood's daughter to fill in some background for those
that need it, built up an improved record with 2yos from 1999 to 2003 as
the stable got going under her name. It's been backwards since then and
the three years 2005-7 have seen less winners and below average strike
rates. Quite why this should be B2yoR doesn't have an answer but they aren't
a particularly important force in 2yo terms given they figured in 12th
by number of 2yo runners in 2006 for example. They are well funded and
also supported by important owner bred sources, most notably Khalid Abdulla
who was an long time supplier of useful horses to her father (Dancing Brave
and all that).
It's interesting to note that 31 yearling purchases in the range 40,000
to 100,000 guineas that have run for them in 2005-7 have produced just
two winners as juveniles. Perhaps they aren't looking for 2yo success and
training more with 3yo development in mind now they (they, since Mr Perrett
is presumably heavily involved in the overall training) have a solid position
in the training ranks. Equally, the eight horses bought for under 20,000
guineas in the same 3 years have produced just one winner. You would think
they would be more targeted at 2yo careers. However, years of Mr Abdulla
owner breds and people tipping things that cost telephone numbers into
your yard doesn't necessarily prepare you to compete in the sub-20,000
bracket at the sales with a lot of people for whom that is their 'top end'
and they have to make work.
Whatever, each year the earliest runners will include some good 2yo types
and the earliest can compete quite strongly on ability and precociousness.
The stable has a below average FTO win percentage overall. The first two
runners in 2006 were Jo'burg (cost 215,000gns) who won a maiden 3TO after
finishing 5th in the Coventry and Prince Of Elegance who won a maiden STO
and then ran in Listed races. In 2007 the first two runners were Coasting,
who won a maiden STO before a 15th in the Coventry and a later season Nursery
success, followed by Kings General's promising second behind a later Listed
winner. He did not run again but easy to believe he was up to winning a
So, Rio Royale ought to be a solid 2yo and up to winning a maiden
STO and having a go in something better along the way. If he's a bit better
he might put the hurry up on Icesolator remembering that we have convinced
ourselves his Newmarket effort was middling and we need to some extra clues
(like Paddock Review) to support a stronger view. As an aside the Perrett
older horses have been a bit on the tubby side as a group so far in 2008
and wouldn't suggest Rio Royale is going to be primed for the day. But
a good STO profile nonetheless.
The Thirsk Novice race is an odd do. Seven runners of which five
have won their only start supported by an expensive newcomer for Bryan
Smart who won with his first 2yo runner of the season yesterday (Go Nani
Go looked a good type in an above average race for Musselburgh). This should
really be something, shouldn't it? Err, well it doesn't really look that
warming in profile. To take the winners - Fuagh Mor won a rotten
seller at Warwick and needed the filly Dancing Wave to overstress herself
pacemaking to even do that. Polish Pride seems to be the Mel Brittain
second string and won a poor Musslburgh race first up. B2yoR's view of
the Doncaster Class 4 race that Dispol Kylie was that it would be
garbage before it was even run. Nothing has happened to change that view
with the placed horses well beaten since. Dispol Kylie only has to be OR65+
class to look useful in winning that race so hasn't proved much with her
Which leaves Kate The Great and the Brittain first string Lisburn
as the prospects for a bit better (i.e. something much above seller quality
in the 'all season' viewpoint). Kate The Great did well to get up to win
after running centre track in the straight at Lingfield. Her trainer doesn't
prime runners for debut and she should show solid improvement to the second
run. On the downside the level of form was low with a seller class filly
close up in third. She just beat fellow newcomer Raggle Taggle at Lingfield
and that one finished behind Lisburn at Nottingham. However, Raggle Taggle
got into several scrapes in that race and was closing down Lisburn quite
quickly when switched to the rail late on.
The Smart newcomer Spin Cycle is covered in the FTO P&L box
below and because B2yoR respects the Sales Reporters' views (he's done
a lot of good work for B2yoR over the years and Pride Of Kings saved his
job by flunking the Ascot test in midweek) will have to put him down as
an unlikely winner here. With a little trepidation because this is a pretty
weak Novice, and a remarkably ordinary (that might be overselling it) for
one with five winners in it.
In summary, oh dear, not what it might have been at all. Kate The
Great a bit lower than Lisburn on profile but would be value for a bet
if at a longer price than that one. Here's hoping Spin Cycle is no Go Nani
The other runner in the Thirsk race is a cheaper newcomer (Lunar Romance)
for Tim Pitt who made a big impression while employed for Football agent
Willie McKay. Playing by 'Football Rules' though and the first sign of
a cold run and you're out. He's now renting space at Tim Fitzgerald's yard
and trying to build his own stables up. He didn't have a 2yo debut winner
while with Mr McKay but has a close thing with Fast Freddie in March 2006
and McKay's Not My Choice was fourth in the Brocklesby having led the field
to the last furlong. So worth noting how that runner goes although he should
find even those 5 winners too knowing.
At Doncaster Mr Pitt runs the more very slightly mor expensive Jethro
Bodine (never miss it) who has a good pedigree to be a nippy early
runabout. Assuming Mr Pitt is looking to make an impression with his first
two runners (later in the season than his first week runners in 2006-7)
we should perhaps assume a forward showing. Lack of bulk and ability is
likely to be more of a stopper than lack of readiness.
The other better looking newcomer in the field is Go Go Green who
has a terrific pedigree to be a solid 2yo. However, he cost 41,000gns as
a yearling which adds a positive but then you wonder why he was left unsold
at £31,000 as a 2yo (possibly not at a breeze-up sale). But, cheaper
2yos have won on debut this week with Missile Dodger (£15,000) and
Langs Lash (also £15,000) to raise questions over whether watching
horses 'breeze' before you buy them just gives people more opportunity
to get it wrong. And, who is he trained by? Stuart Parr who has replaced
Pitt at McKay's kingdom. Watch out for the losing run Mr Parr or it's 'by
Mutual Consents', all round.
Mr Parr has only run one 2yo with Doncaster Rover showing real promise
with a Brocklesby second so we know the trainer can prime them first go.
That one has presumably got some form of minor injury or we ought to have
seen him again by now.
Those two oppose a Kevin Ryan STO runner in Majuba. Mr Ryan used
to be a trainer you could spot later winners from how they debuted. The
early runners this year have been much more variable and he seemed to be
behind schedule and lacked an early win. He's had two debut winners in
the last week (Senor Mirasol won at Southwell yesterday) to get him back
on track. But, the three STO runner to date haven't really impressed including
Count Almaviva's runner-up spot in a weak race behind Polish Pride.
This one started in an ordinary Novice race which featured a good pace
up front. He lost 3-4 lengths with a wobbly start and but got himself back
into the race after halfway. Shortlived effort though and he faded before
the final furlong. The Market doesn't tell you much with these early debuts
and they all tend to start 3/1 to 7/1 range. Without having seen him he's
difficult to weigh up but would seem a sitting target for a better newcomer
and Go Go Green might be good enough to fit that profile.
A minor side issue in the race is to see how ghastly the debut effort of
Kilkenny Kat might be. Tim Easterby used to be a solid 2yo trainer
and while not a real 'FTO' primer they knew what they were doing enough
to look after themselves and the better ones could compete. His record
overall has declined in recent seasons to below average in most areas and
especially so given that figures in the Top 10 of juvenile trainers by
number of runners. His 12 debut runners to date have included nine
that have recorded a negative rating. Seven have lost ground at the start
or had their inexperience noted int he Run Notes, or both. Others have
run too freely or have faded badly and been eased. My word, what sort of
a natural must Anglezarke be to win her debut outing from a solid contender
given all that?