Happy Forever (Windsor, M Botti, All Debuts)
Dancing Delta (Windsor, WR Muir, 5-6f Debuts)
Southoffrance (Windsor, WGM Turner, Long Shot)
All three qualifiers are at Windsor and represent different approaches
to the 2yo season and getting juveniles ready for debut. Bill (WGM) Turner
enjoys being the underdog so much that he has never pressed on to a higher
level of competitiveness and quite possibly likes the excuses of "cheap
horses, what do you expect..." & "..any win is a good one when you
are competing against the big stables..".
This mentality leads him to get his 2yos ready for the first 2 weeks of
the season by which time they will already have taken part in paired trials
and be well drilled. This early batch of 2yos will include the usable ones
and the best of them will win on debut. The rest of the season after early
April is usually a string of poor debuts from poor horses. He also looks
to win sellers & claimers later in the season and you get the impression
he knows "that's his place".
This season has been typical with 9 debuts by April 9th including a debut
win in the first race of the season. The six debuts since than haven't
recorded a positive rating. Southoffrance doesn't have a 5f pedigree but
he starts most of his horses at that disatnace anyway.
Willie Muir has a wider range of horses from cheaper runrarounds through
to very expensive ones. He chooses a few obvious 2yos to run early and
he has his 2yos competent for debut without them being wound up (throughout
the season). The three he ran early this year include two that have now
won (3TO & 4TO). The other (Entrancer) is probably the best of the
three and had placed but has run too freely and this has hampered his development.
So, he's showing a typical year and his string should be at a higher average
level of preparedness for debut. The better ones can win FTO and tend to
be at the longer odds that make it profitable to follow him over a long
period although the number of debut winners is low. He introduced the solid
looking Defector (half brother to Stubbs Art) at the course last week with
some stuff about "..the best 2yo I've had since Averti..." stuff. He tends
to be a bit too gushing about his 2yos and Big Robert (2yo debut winner
and also ran in various major races as an older horse) was the next Nijinsky
in the hype in his year, for example. The tiny, but speedy early, Enodoc
was talked up last year and ran in Listed and Group races - he's currently
unsuccessfully touring the gaffs as a 3yo while running off OR70ish, you
get the idea.
We are now into the period when we should be looking for him to fluke his
50/1 winner with a good one but Dancing Delta doesn't really look like
that on profile. Retained for just £1,000 at the sales and a full
sister to a placed runner in 2007 who cost £2,000.
Marco Botti is very sparing with his 2yo runners and they they are at a
high level, within their overall ability, on debut. In his first two seasons
with a smaller set of 2yos the earliest debuts have been the solid ones
and compete to win FTO. He has more 2yos now and we should see more runners
and presumably less of a 'tail' of garbage and more competitive ones.
So far he has run two cheaper fillies who have made the first 4 on debut.
His first runner with Solo Attempt was too wound up on debut in the preliminaries
but still managed to finsih second. She won STO after being mounted in
a closed box so presumably she is still 'tricky' but manageable. His other
runner Kitty Allen is a lesser physical type than Solo Attempt and 4th
on debut (which she achieved) was as much as she could have hoped for even
at her best. She has been well beaten since.
We haven't seen a real better one from him yet but when he does produce
one it ought to go close to winning FTO. Happy Forever is out of a superstar
mare who won Grade 1s of 5 seasons in New Zealand and then the US. She
hasn't produced anything worthwhile yet but this one cost a highish 85,000gns
as a 2yo at the breeze-ups. If you add the preparation she had for the
2yo sale to what Mr Botti has done since you would assume she's going to
show most of what she's capable of here.
The Windsor event looks winable for a good debut runner. Like For
Like is a smaller, skinny, model and we've seen what she can do even when
in good condition. She's been beaten as favourite behind Solo Attempt and
her last place at the course was moderate. Willie Haggas has said that
Jargelle is a small filly and usable without being a star and her debut
would confirm that. So she'll set an ok standard without being frightening
after a reasonable debut. Boho Chic was behind Jargelle FTO and comes from
a low class family that Mr Beckett always gets to peak STO so whe should
be closer her.
Gosden's Anjuna ran better than her finishing position would suggest at
Leicester FTO. She was drawn in the outside stall in centre course and
went wide at the break (horse's often do this because they think they are
going back behind the stalls for more loading practice). She then ran free
for 2-3 furlongs and pressed the winner until the stiff part of the climb.
She then looked immature and got intimidated by other fillies rolling around
and into her and the jockey eased her. She ought to be much better her
and is presumably better than Like For Like and perhaps than Jargelle.
In summary, a good race set-up for Happy Forever to win if she's a bit
above average despite the low draw (the stands' rail is a big advantage
at the course on firmer going). Anjuna should improve notably and Like
For Like (paddock reviewed) likely to be poor value and Jargelle (not pr'vd)
just an average chance. Anjuna probably better value than either of those
two given her debut run 'reads' so poorly in form terms. And we should
see a good step forward from Boho Chic to see what level she can reach.