After yesterday's meeting at Brighton Mark Prescott has now won a race
with 6 of the 7 juveniles that made up his first batch of 2yo runners.
Rapid Release won on his 4th outing in a four runner race at the track
beating the strongly punted Hannon favourite Wilbury Star. That race is
a bit of a puzzle with a slow time for the faster going although there
was a headwind for much of the race. The fact that the front pair of colts
only got rid of the limited Percys Chorismatic (admirable little enthusiast
that she is) late in the race and she was still too close to them at the
finish to believe it was a properly run race. It lloked more like a late
race 'sprint' and the neater, more balanced, Rapid Release more suited
to the course than Wilbury Star. The Hannon colt rolled over to the rails
down the camber after changing lead legs in the final furlong and didn't
look that comfortable. He probably needs a more galloping test and a proper
pace to show him to his best.
Let's think about this a little. Mr Prescott has identified the usable
early 2yos before they ran and batched them up. The debut run is for education
and the second outing will be at a suitable track and in a suitable level
of race for the runner to compete for the win. Those that got beaten STO
have run into better horses for the most part and then won 3TO or 4TO after
the trainer has adjusted his sights while keeping the horse sweet and in
form. Consider the comments on John Best's handling of the development
of his 2yos from a couple of days back in this context. We aren't talking
about a comparable level of control over the project. Of course, Mr Prescott
has been doing htis for years and earlier in the week the Spindrifter Stakes
was run at Pontefract named after a 13 time winner for the stable at 2yo.
At Brighton in the 6f maiden the one remaining maiden from that
opening batch - Night Of Fortune - tries to complete the set. The
Brighton maidens tend to be small fields and often moderate quality and
dropping a limited one to the course to get a win is a favourite trick
of a number of trainers. Prescott & Hannon would fit in that category
and Neville Callaghan was a leading operator of the ruse before he retired
last year. That's the set up we have here with Night Of Fortune not managing
a place in two goes and presumably down in this race in the hope of some
weaker opposition. For the most part he's run behind solid Northern 2yos
in his first two goes and should set a reasonable standard. He hasn't been
paddock reviewed so he's dificult to place on profile and could be different
class from the better pair of the three fillies he faces.
Hannon runs the limited filly Like For Like who has the positives
of being straightforward and reliable but is a limited physical speciment.
She has placed on every run but has got beaten by anything with a bit more
beef on then and who know enough to use it in each start. We know what
she can do and you wouldn't want to be betting on her because of her vulnerability.
In this context Wilbury Star's drop to the course yesterday was odd in
that he does appear to have more physical potential to compete at a higher
Mick Channon runs the filly Wohaida who fits into the same limited-so-drop-to-Brighton
category as the VP for the race shows. She's still better than arch trundler Imaginary
Diva but again a moderate type (sub OR70) and not one to go looking
to support unless you need to.
In summary an unattractive betting proposition unless you can see Night
Of Fortune at the track. If he's better than his form suggests he could
win easily from these limited fillies and even a short price might be value.
If he's a rabbit as well then its a bunfight between 4 limited individuals
that any of them could win on a tricky course.
Another Northern nursery at Musselburgh and a class 5 tag which
at this stage of the season allows horses up to around 90 run by the entries
we have seen. But, this race is an example of how race classes do not regularly
match with race quality. The only winner in the field - Just The Lady
- has won a seller and a claimer and runs off OR67. Remember that below
OR70 is a good working level for 'moderate' and OR62 a typical rating that
the BHA handicapper will give a seller winner. Win a claimer and it'll
go above that level most likely. The topweight is Cutting Comments
who runs for Michael Dods and his 2yos tend not to progress a great deal
with racing. OR76 doesn't look lenient on the balance of whta he's achieved.
Three of the horses are rated 61 or below to confirm the view of this as
a poor Class 5.
In form and reliable, although small and limited, Just The Lady sets a
low standard and something among the lower weights wouldn't have to improve
much. Tim Easterby's Wigan Pier looks better than an OR59 filly
on paddock review and has shown some progression with racing and makes
most appeal as a lower weight lurker.
At Ripon the fillies' auction race looks very low quality and a
easy opportunity for Sweet Applause to confirm that her 8th at Royal
Ascot was 'real' form. She had shown little in two prior runs but finished
among some solid B2yoR 35-45 types. Trainer Alan Jarvis is another, like
John Best, whom B2yoR is wary about trusting to develop horse's careers
smoothly but this looks such a soft race that she ought to be good enough.
The one possible for an upset weems to be Robert Cowell's Kutanga.
The trainer seems to prepare his horses thoroughly for debut and he had
a 25/1 FTO winner in 2007 (Regal Step who has never shown the same form
since) from 3 runners and has had a debut winner at Thirsk last week (at
8/1) with his second runner of the season. A 40% strike rate with his last
5 debut runs makes him the sort of trainer you might want to track in future.
The Windsor 6f maiden has an interesting recent history and a good
set of runners who might well include a couple of better types. In 2006
the race saw the debut runner Sakhee's Secret finish third and last year
Brian Meehan had an unusual debut winner with Sharp Nephew who won a Listed
race later int he season. Last season Mr Meehan had a slow start to the
year and got three debut wins in July with better class types (Sharp Nephew,
City Leader & Queen Scarlet). He is even further behind schedule at
present with just 16 runners to date and only one has made a place FTO.
The batch of debuts last week with expensive horses were poor but a better
debut could still compete for thew win.
He runs two here with Nasri running for the same owners as Sharp
Nephew (i.e. the Authorised owners) and Impressionist Art running
for a combination of the Greens and the Sangsters (bred by the latter family
who own the Manton Estate which Meehan rents to train from, etc..). So
both important owners and you would think at least one would be above average.
Two irregular jockeys riding for the stable doesn't suggest either is expected
to show a lot FTO but they can surprise even the trainer.
Richard Hannon has around a 45% winner to runner ratio over the season
(that's how many horses out of the total that manage a win of some
sort and not his strike rate by wins to runs). If you track it month by
month there is a drop off of the percentage through the season. This is
partly because the competitive 2yos are started out as early as possible
by the stable and also because the later in the season you start the less
chance you may have to find a winnable opportunity. By July you would expect
him to debut about 20-25 horses through the month and around half of those
to be winners of some sort. He has run a total of four in this race in
the last two years and one has been a winner at 2yo.
He runs three here with the filly Ruasgreyasme looking the first
string with Hughes aboard and difficult to pick between Celtic Commitment
(Pat Dobbs and returns after missing an early April debut at Folkestone)
& Daily Double (Ryan Moore who has an agreement to ride the
surplus Hannon 2yos when his Stoute retainer allows). On typical form a
couple of these would be season winners and Ruasgreyasme has been mentioned
as a better type earlier int he season.
Barry Hills used to use this race to start out later 2yo winenrs and often
used to run more than one in the race. He is also behind schedule this
year and his earliest debut runners have not proved to be up to his usual
standard and a number have failed to win (unusually). He had his first
debut winner of th eyear with the filly Faraway Flower recently and (like
Karl Burke) did not produce any pre-Royal Ascot debut wins with good types.
He runs West Leake who on profile looks to be a solid 2yo type who
ought to win during the season but would need to be better tan an average
maiden winner to be successful here.
Added to those newcomers for major stables with solid credentials you have
Desert Icon who appeared to run a good debut at Newmarket and is
a test of the strength of that form today. Extra depth with the Candy newcomer
Cawdor who is probably a usable 2yo at some level and even the French-Davis
runner Green Onions appeals as having prospects to run well FTO.
In summary an interesting race to assess for future relevance but not one
to have strong views on prior to the paddock review. With a high draw an
advantage it is good to see many of those higher in the profile drawn amongst
the higher numbers (West Leake, Daily Double & Green Onions have lower
draws). Instinct says that Desert Icon will place but come up a little
short given that the profile suggests there may well be a couple of better
types in the field who can beat him on raw ability assuming he's just an
average type. Ruasgreyasme seems likely to place and compete for the win.
The better of the Meehan pair might also figur ebut his recent debut record
is a negative. [A report back from the race will be in Tuesday's Preview.]