Some brief notes on the races follow. Before that a short detour to consider
how impressive three trainers appear to be. The first two aren't secrets
but a worth considering some general issues. B2yoR left Royal Ascot with
Jim Bolger held in higher regard than before. Either he's approaching being
a genius or he's up-to-something and there's absolutely no evidence
of the latter (unlike with top US trainers) so he must just be really be
very good at what he does. Over the last two-and-a-half seasons he has
won British juvenile Group races with Teofilio, New Approach, Finsceal
Beo and Cuis Ghaire won a sub-standard Albany Stakes last week. In that
period Abigail Pett, Modeeroch & Saoirse Abu have made the first four
in Group events.
The over-riding feeling in paddock review of those 2yos is "How does he
do it?", That group wouldn't stand out in top class as bigger and better
types and a nuber would count as below the average for the top class. But
they turn up and deliver performances and go on developing. New Approach
was a lightly made type and didn't stand out in the Dewhurst field and
beat a group that didn't include a really imposing type. On 2,000 Guineas
day he was in better condition (coat, fitness & calmness) than
Henrythenavigator but smaller and less powerful and you knew the O'Brien
colt was better if he was ready enough. Assuming normal development and
with HTN further forward at the Curragh it was no surprise to see New Approach
defeated and HTN at a longer price a giveaway.
But, at the Derby New Approach had changed and developed well in 5 weeks
and you could believe he might be big & good enough to win. Still nowhere
near as imposing as Casual Conquest but 'enough' if he handled things well.
Experience of watching the unexciting physical types Bolger has won Group
races with meant that you would take him more seriously. Cuis Ghaire didn't
excite in paddock review either although she is very strongly made within
what there is of her. The trainer said she found the 6f a bit quick and
would be better over 7f+ so, in the context of his recent fillies, it wouldn't
be a surprise to see her compete well into Group 1 and still be around
If you follow 2yo so closely as to miss the nuances of 3yo+ racing then
the full extent of Michael Stoute's skill & planning can excape you.
Having watched a gormless Patkai floundering about on debut at 2yo and
then having the minimum of nous to win a duff maiden STO you might wonder
if Stoute knew what he was doing. Consider that this group all took two
or three goes to win ordinary maidens last year - Colony, Conduit, Doctor
Fremantle, Dr Faustus - and Tartan Bearer just had one run when placed
in later season. From the 2yo view his performance with that group would
raise a "So What?" and the knowledge that a David Loder or an original-model
Henry Cecil would have got a lot more out of them (as might Jim Bolger).
Then you watch that lot develop through various routes as 3yos and brought
to their peaks at Epsom & Royal Ascot and the 'long game' he is playing
becomes much clearer, and remarkable how cleverly the devlopment is plotted
The third minor epiphany has over the last two weeks of racing has been
watching the recent debuts and older runners for Tom Dascombe. That he
is doing well has been generally noted and was covered in the 2007 performance
review article on this site. But, knowing he's doing well is one thing
but why is he doing it? There aren't that many ways that a trainer can
really differentiate himself from the others. Most can get horses fit enough
to race and the two main areas are probably 'Equine Recruitment' &
'Career Planning & Development'. If you have the right horses then,
as with humans and projects, the job becomes much easier and a lot of the
job will 'do itself'. But, you still need to know how to develop them to
get the best results.
Thiis season he has run 7 juveniles with the most expensive costing 17,000
guineas and 5 at under 10,000 or equivalent in Euros. That's real money
in most areas but it's bargain bin stuff when trying to buy (recruit) thoroughbreds.
Firth of Fifth cost 5,000 and won an auction race by 7 lengths over the
weekend (and trainer & jockey earn extra marks for getting from stall
1 across to the Magic Carpet on the stands rail at Lingfield's turf course
to do it). Classic Blade had already won well and cost €19,000. Old
Father Zieten looks a usuable little sprint in the OR65-73 range when he
returns after his break. The ludicrously cheap Shiva Adiva ran well STO
before failing 3TO (when she looked nervy and unwilling to race in the
preliminaries and interesting to see how she comes back from her break
- another test of his abilities). Wing Home was the best type in the Warwick
auction field when he placed on his debut, Campbeltown Trader was a remarkable
size (in muscularity terms) for an €11,000 purchase before placing
at Windsor on Monday and even the filly Haafhd Time looked a good size
and solid mover for the money before her unplaced debut at Newbury.
What hits you is that Mr Dascombe (plus whatever advisors he uses, if any)
know how to pick cheap ones out of the sales. This is at the root of his
success. The detail applied in the career planning and race placement support
this to produce the results. Yesterday (Thursday) he won a 3yo Listed fillies'
race with Clifton Dancer (an expensive 38,000gns but worth much more now)
and again trainer & jockey get good marks for reading the conditions
properly. With Warwick having firm going and a gale behind the runners
in the straight front runners just weren't stopping (2 course records were
broken on the straight course). Where was Clifton Dancer at halfway? Leading
and never stopped and the better fancied runners couldn't get to her. She
came from his 2007 crop of 2yos which also included 2yo Listed winner Max
One Two Three (€23,000 and a real underperformer this year because
her excitability at the course has tipped over into beserkery) & developing
winner Zaskar (5,000gns) plus dual 2yo winner Gross Prophet (£2,200).
Whoever is doing the buying they sould teach the Maktoum's buyers a bit.
At Newmarket there is a big field fillies' maiden over 6f. During the next
three months we will see a raft of July Course maidens and it is worth
reiterating the point that these will vary hugely in quality through
the season. It isn't enough just to say of some horse that finished 6th
in a 'Newmarket Maiden' that it should win with normal improvement when
it tuens up at Leicester (or other smaller track) STO. If it was in a tough
maiden FTO that may well be true. If it was in one of the empty versions
it will be wrong. The worst are probably those where a big field spread
across the course and a slow pace mix the abilities up so that garbage
finishes with the later winners (that really messes those up who only work
off the printed page or computer screen adn never look at the horses).
Last year's edition of this fillies' race was quite good and the later
winners got to the front half of the race - Result.
The winner placed at Group level and the Stoute trained runner-up won a
Group 3 as a maiden. The 6th won a Listed race. For a comparison look at
the Result of
this 7f fillies' maiden at the course which featured all the same fashionable
trainers, jockeys, etc. Following the fillies from that event as they toured
the country looking for a win proved very expensive for anyone taken in
by the "Newmarket maiden form so must be some good..." line. The second
took 4 goes to win and and the 5th 3 before getting stuffed in nurseries.
Following the 3rd, 5th & 7th was a nightmare ride. Anyway, enough of
the caveats, you should get the message to try to glean whether a Newmarket
maiden is any good at all. They aren't all 'Average at least (i.e OR75
for the winner) or better". They can be very thin and range down below
There are some interesting runners in the field including Resort
for Michael Stoute. Stoute doesn't target debut wins and they usually come
along with the better types after mid-season. His two debut runners this
year to date have been uncompetitive and haven't recorded a positive rating.
Go back to 2007 and his first 10 debuts between May 29th to July 28th managed
just two places although most started at 6/1 or less. However, 9 of that
10 won during the year with the later starters usually winning STO or 3TO
and the earlier runners needing more runs to get going. A few will be moderate
and limited 2yo types but there will be the odd better one and Visit was
one such in the equivalent race last year.
Resort has a similar background being a well related filly for a major
owner breeder. She's either running here, and now, because she's small
and limited or because she's got some real ability. On balance she ought
to be the better type but a place would rate a good effort (as with Visit
in 2007) off a less than testing Stoute 2yo preparation.
James Fanshawe is different from Stoute and his debut runners are usually
competent enough to compete well FTO. To quote the trainers' article :-
"[Fanshawe] hadn't had a winner in the period 2003-6 who had not made
the first six places on debut and 9 of the 13 had made the first three
with 5 FTO wins. As noted in the previews during the year here is a trainer
who doesn't like wasting runs - Mr. Botti could perhaps look to Mr. Fanshawe
for some hints on being careful but still actually running them.
In a good year in 2007 he had six individual winners with two winning
on debut, three others were placed and the other finished 6th. The 'Market'
does appear to know what to expect from his runners and his full
home preparation presumably helps this. He had 12 debuts that were 10/1
or less which included all six season winners and five placed and ten made
the first six places.
Conversely, 13 debuts were at 11/1 or longer and none of them were winners
during the season. None of that 13 managed to place FTO and the best were
two fifths by horses who then placed at shorter SPs in maidens STO (i.e.
the debut indicated a good trainer could find them a weak race to place
in later but not win). Overall, an interesting trainer to judge the ability
of his 2yos from the circumstances of their debut. The SP and the B2yoR
[Estimate] they achieve seem to be good indicators".
Stylish Dream has a good pedigree and ought to be a better early
runner rather than the rabbit out early. Jamie Spencer riding would suggest
The runner with the best form is Izzi Mill who exceeded profile
expectations on her Nottingham debut by some way at 40/1. THis might well
suggest that the rating given to that race was too high and the defeat
of the winner (Uramazin) yesterday would support that view. She comes out
top on profile but hasn't been paddock reviewed and more a test of the
level of rating than thinking she'll win well. Miss Fritton failed
over 5f on debut as favourite and the trainer doesn't normally send duff
ones to the course and has a good record of getting failures back on track.
She got a solid paddock report and ought to run much better her.
In summary, and interesting race to watch for potential and to try to assess
the real quality on show but not an easy betting riddle on profile.
The Chester 7f Fillies' Auction looks a thin race with nothing having
a strong profile. Mark Tompkins doesn't have a strong record with 2yos
recently and has a 6% strike rate most years (10% is around average). He
tends to have a number of 'early' runners who show up well enough FTO but
then don't progress to STO and take to win if they ever do at 2yo. Most
of his wins come in later season (August or later) and he tends to be a
stable to follow once it comes into form later on.
His filly here - Cornish Rose - may well be favourite despite only
a 5th on debut and being ridden by a 7lb apprentice. She finished 5th in
a Newmarket maiden run in a slow time that didn't put the real distance
between the runners in ability terms. In the context of the discussion
above if some pundit starts going on about how she was 5th FTO at Newmarket
and not far behind Honest Quality (winner since) then they need to do a
bit more work. On balance she's one to oppose with anything with some substance.
That's difficult because those with runs don't have strong profiles and
newcomers don't win here in normal circumstances (a weak race like this
would count as not usual). Meydan Groove would be opposable if she runs.
Which means that the most likely chance of a 'surprise winner' comes from
the Muir debut runner Rosy Mantle (well drawn if she can use it)
or Karl Burke's Lady Salama.
The second of those made her debut at York and finshed unplaced at 22/1.
The previous day Keeptheboatafloat hadn't done similarly at 33/1 in another
maiden race. He improved STO to win so it is believeable that she could
improve to win here and is one of the few in the field where the trainer
hasn't resorted to an apprentice already. However, a thin race in quality
terms but one where Cornish Rose ought to be opposed if she's 2/1 or less.