Poor stuff at Catterick in a low quality auction race. Red Cell
was an early debut for Eoghan O'Neill but looked a poor type in paddock
review and ran moderately. He was well forward for that debut in fitness
terms and didn't appeal as a type to improve much for time and development.
A big part of a trainer's job is placing their horses in the right company
though and Mr O'Neill has found a low level contest for him after a break.
However, he has to give weight all round and Bahamian Babe showed at Southwell
what a nippy & usable cheap one will do to him receiving weight. No
obvious standout in the opposition and if at the sourse you would have
a close look at Transformation to see if he might be a John Weymes
debut winner. However, a race where a 'surprise' package would not
be much of a surprise because the quality required to win is likely to
be middling seller race range.
With that in mind the rest of this preview will be a review of the 5f maiden
at Newmarket on Sunday after the 1,000 Guineas. Only a small field but
a Paddock Review a good one and worth spending some time on them. The following
table gives the pre-race B2yoR profile ratings and the post race [Estimates]
for the actual performances.
|DESIRE TO EXCEL
|YOU AVIN A LAUGH
At the headline level the profile might seem a bad one with the winner
rating second bottom pre-race. That was based on the fact that it was an
owner bred and the siblings had not been good. Added to that Marcus Tregoning
has changed from being a notable FTO trainer a few years ago to having
his 2yos much less prepared. When B2yoR began in 2005 Tregoning debut runners
at major courses often featured at the top of the profiles but ran in the
3rd+ range depending upon ability. One clue that Finjaan might be
better than just a middling 'owner bred' type was the early debut. If he
was just middling then why run him in early May and why at Newmarket when
you could hide him away at a lesser course.
Putting Finjaan to one side for a moment the Profile stands up pretty well
for the other horses. The overall level is a bit lower because the pace
wasn't strong and the time just ordinary into a medium headwind. Heliodor
ran a bit flat and underperformed and his performance is made 'worse' because
he ran up the stands' rail which had been an advantage throughout the two
day meeting. Natagora's jockey had taken her across to that rail to set
the pace from a draw in the middle of the track to make the point. Jazacosta
underperformed but looked less of a 5f type than many of the field and
showed the most inexperience.
Let's go through the runners pretty much as they appeared in the pre-Parade
ring and see how the Paddock Review adjusted the 'Profile' thinking. To
begin with Ouqba who immediately answered a question that had been
niggling away. If Brenin Taran & Rayvin Mad are below average size
why did they look a solid size on TV pictures in the later stages of the
Newmarket Conditions race that Ouqba ran in? Why did Art Connoisseur look
big in context when you know he is just a medium size but strongly built?
Look at this Picture
of Ouqba and you should realise that most of that field weren't that big.
Your reaction to seeing him is probably that he's on the small side on
looks a ready 2yo lacking scope. A quality one within what there is of
him but the alarm bells are ringing, not deafeningly but there. The same
trainer ran the very expensive Laith for the same owner in this race in
2005 and he finished 4th just behind George Washington. He was another
small but well built one and struggled to win his maiden before finding
any higher level races too much for him. He's now struggling to compete
in bottom grade racing and not looking 'big' even in the context of those
Ouqba was the best prepared and most forward in terms of fitness and coat
condition of all the runners in the field. That, added to the fact he had
run before and shown a solid level of ability (although in a race
that is clearly nothing like the exalted rating the Racing Post gave it
afterwards) meant that you think he might just get away with winning today
but he doesn't look one to follow into higher grade. At 5/4 favourite he's
now looking skinny value on what you can see in front of you and time to
look for something better, and bigger.
Simon Callaghan has made a solid start since taking over from his dad and
is his first 2yo runner. He's taller than Ouqba but a bit narrow behind.
He's relatively mentally immature on the day, not forward in his coat and
looks to need to fill out and tighten up in the muscle department. A good
type but not ready enough today although, unlike Ouqba, with a good amount
of scope to develop as the season progresses. A 'Not Today' but a certain
maiden winner when he's 'there' and could develop further. Try comparing
him to the smaller and less powerful Elusive Ronnie (Picture),
another son of new sire One Cool Cat, who was Mr Callaghan's second juvenile
runner a day later at Kempton.
The next one to be seen is Paul Cole's Desire To Excel. The trainer
has been turning out horses looking shinier and fitter than practically
any other trainer since the start of the turf season and many of his 2yos
can show some spark and life. This one isn't like this and is much more
laid back and lacking the shine (Picture).
However, he's a classic compact, very deep bodied and powerful 'barrel'
of a sprinter and moves well with it. Try looking at this Picture
of useful 2yo Red Alert Day from 2007 to see a similar model. He is apparently
pretty lazy at home and that's partly why he doesn't look as tuned and
polished as many a Cole runner. A solid run in third and easy to believe
he's a better type who will probably end up in 6f Group races in later
It's often a good idea for Paddock Reviewers not to read 'Stable
Tours' and the like because the activity depends upon the person having
confidence in their own opinion. As soon as you start trying to factor
in external viewpoints problems start to creep in. In the Hannon 'Stable
Tour' recently he said that Heliodor was likely to be his 'Coventry'
horse and the fact he ran in this maiden suggested he was highly ranked.
He's a classic Hannon, deep chested, 'build' 2yo (Picture).
A similar idea to Desire To Excel. His attitude on the day could be classed
as laid-back or a bit sloppy and immature depending upon your call. The
Hannon 2yos tend to be more at the 'sheep' end but even so Heliodor didn't
look to be at the top of his physical cycle on the day. As covered above
he ran an 'ok' but flat race and you have to think he's better than he
So, you seen some of the others and Ouqba is still hanging on to his tenuous
position as the best combination of type and readiness for today
although you suspect that Cool Art, Desire To Excel and probably Heliodor
will all be rated more highly by season's end. And then, hello, who's that.
After all that laid backness and lack of shine see what your reaction to
this one pushing itself into view might have been (Picture).
A bit wild and on his toes but the tallest of the group and with a let-me-at-them
attitude. A bit light through the body but very powerful in both the front
and hindquarters. He's got a somewhat upright and gwaky neck that is not
unusual in his sire's offspring (Royal Applause) and hasn't stopped Third
Set (for example) from getting pretty near to the top. You look at him
some more and try to convince yourself he has enough power through the
body to be as good as he looks. This Picture
shows him when he'd settled down a bit and wasn't up on his toes and dispels
any lack of strength questions.
The Profile has to be mentally updated with the thought that a mistake
has been made. Tregoning really wouldn't be running a Hamdan owner bred
this early at Newmarket because he was average. As one Paddock Reviewer
said having seen him - "..if this thing knows enough to keep in the
race he's going to be all sorts of trouble for [the much smaller] Ouqba
in the final furlong..". At 5/4 for Ouqba and 10/1 for Finjaan the
disparity in SP is too much given the interplay between raw ability and
Finjaan wins well and the trainer gave the impression afterwards that he
hadn't done much with him but wanted to run him because of the ability
he had shown. Hamdan's retained jockey was on Ouqba for his father and
another example of how difficult his job is to choose between the Hamdan
runners. Anyway, a horse to take very seriously because he did seem to
win comfortably on raw ability and can improve a lot for increased mental
maturity. He has the physical scope to improve and compete at Group level
The other two in the field were Amanda Perrett's Jazacosta and the
3,000gns purchase You Avin A Laugh for Chris Dwyer. Having the second
of those in the pre-parade ring with the other 6 was really useful. In
Paddock Review you try to judge the horses against an absolute scale but,
as humans we find it easier to judge relative quantities. Try thinking
about that old school experiment putting one hand into hot water and the
other into ice water and then removing both and puttin gthem both into
a bowl of tepid water - the feeling your brain reports is all relative.
You Avin A Laugh (Picture)
just looks out of place and different against the other six. Like an 11
year old boy in with a lot of 18 year old rugby players. But, you can think
back to places like Bath and picture You Avin A Laugh in the seller field
and not looking out of place. Put him next to Finjaan and anyone ought
to be able to right down 3-5 major differences between the two without
resorting to horsey jargon once.
was another likeable type but the least mentally with it on the day. He's
a different idea to the barrel chested ones in the field being taller and
a bit rangier. Probably not a 5f type and better at 6-7f. But another good
type in a good field and ought to rate OR90+ later in the year.
To round this piece off try now looking at the picture of Red Cell in the
Catterick Virtual Paddock below. Where does he fit in the spectrum of You
Avin A Laught through Ouqba to Finjaan?