Profile Ratings and brief notes for the first three races in the list above
today. With the increase in the amount of racing at this time of the season
and the upgrading of races to Group class over the last few seasons a range
of races end up being, not other words for it, poor quality. A subject
to return to in tomorrow's Preview, time permitting with only one race,
but some pertinent points in today's covered races. For example, at headline
level an excellent effort by Ton Dascombe in making the most of the opportunities
with two Group 2 successes but does anyone really believe Firth Of Forth
is real Group class? That's now, let alone in the longer term.
The Ascot card starts with a 7f Novice race which has a mixed history and
can often be fairly empty of talent. The Chesham Stakes at Royal
Ascot is an early 7f event in the year and has Listed Status (unlike the
Superlative Stakes that Firth Of Forth won which has gone from Listed level
to Group 2 in under 5 years for no obvious reason). Because it's a race
at the Royal Meeting it is very hard when rating it to put that to one
side and just rate it as a good maiden race. This year's race looked typical
quality and Free Age a good winner who can progress further. He was rated
'only' B2yoR 68 but even that looks high given the performances of Flying
Lady (beaten in an ordinary fillies' auction race) & Bad Beat (4th
off OR86 in an okish nursery at Newmarket yesterday). Both received ratings
at the time which meant they should nave won those events and the Chesham
rating has been downgraded.
Markyg is small and unconvincing as a Listed level performer but
stayed on to 3rd in the Chesham and goes back to Ascot for the novice race.
The rating of 57 he got for the Royal run 'felt' too high at the time but
handicappers want to believe the higher class races are of some real quality.
Anyway, if he can run to that level or higher he could win this well so
let's see how he goes. Pegasus Lad is a bigger model although narrower
through the body and lighter behind. He led the Chesham for a long way
before folding and can probably run to a similar level to Markyg with a
sound run. To further check the value of the Chesham form the 4th (Tudor
Key) runs in the 7f maiden at Salisbury.
Fisher Hill looked a good, bigger type, when making his debut at
Kempton but looked too immature and not aware enough to show his best on
a tight track. On physical grounds he ought to be able to compete with
the Chesham pair. In a Novice race with no previous winner and the Chesham
form likely to be over-valued one of the newcomers could win comfortably
if they are solidly above average. Sixties Singer missed his intedned
debut at Sandwon because of the firm ground and is re-routed here. The
trainer does get debut wins at this time of the season and he has the profile
to compete strongly FTO if he reach into the higher 40s level. Richard
Hannon tends to run average maiden winner quality, at least, at Ascot on
debut especially as the sole runner in the race. His debuts can be variable
at this time of the year and debut wins rare so Rio Del Oro would
need to be better class and ready to show it to win here.
In summary, a race to test the quality of the Chesham Stakes further and
probably the best call to look amongst the alternatives if that Royal Meeting
tinge pushes the representatives of that race to lower prices.
The Ascot Nursery is a Class 3 with 4 of the field with official
ratings between 86-81. Klynch (OR86) down to Talking Hands
(OR81) all look at the top of their rating potential on the ratings they
have and therefore just an averagely competitive nursery. Klynch is another
runner who got his best rating of B52 for his Royal Ascot run which was
10 points in advance of his previous best when a comfortable winner at
Kempton. He didn't run to anything like that level at Beverley although
he was drawn 1 on that draw blighted track. Perhaps the biggest message
here is to understand how variable the form of Listed & Group races
can be and to be wary of supporting runners from those race in 'lesser'
events, unless, you can be sure the initial race was high quality
Richard Hannon runs three and on jockeys Roly Boy is first string.
He's another example of the same Listed+ race to 'class drop' struggler.
He looked promising visually when steaming down the outside late at Epsom
to finish 4th in the Listed Woodcote Stakes. The quality of that race wouldn't
be a particularly strong Novice event in whole season view terms. Dropped
back to a moderate Kempton maiden he just beat and underdone Andrew Balding
newcomer (a negative in Paddock Review physically) and the limited Duke
Of Aquitaine (thumped off OR77 with a 7lb claimer riding yesterday). He
runs off OR85 and without that hint of 'Listed 4th' wafting around him
wouldn't be worth that on what he has achieved. We saw what Rio Royale
could do in peak condition at Folkestone and OR83 looks too high for a
smaller type with limited scope to develop. Talking Hands probably
has a little more scope and drops back to 6f which looked too short for
him 2 runs ago but then he petered out late over 7f when winning last time.
Ridgeway Silver got a good ride to make the most of helpful
front-running conditions (i.e. a Pace Bias) last time and hasn't been paddocked
reviewed but ought to come up a little short off OR67 (Seller class including
his penalty for winning LTO). The other two Hannon runners are both interesting
in that thye both have looked like they could run to a little higher level
than the ORs they run off here. Heliodor started the season as apparently
one of the better early Hannon 2yos at home and possibly a high class one.
He ran well on debut when beaten by a solid filly FTO witn Flashmans Papers
and Klynch behind him. He then ran in an important 5f maiden at Newmarket
(in retrospect the (still a) maiden Party In The Park ran for the trainer
in that race in 2007) and drifted a little in the market before a limp
effort. At Newbury for his 3rd run he looked to have gone backwards physically
and another refusenik of racing out of the Newmarket race to add to Desire
To Excel perhaps? Whatever, if you had been told he would be running as
a maiden off OR75 4TO after his debut effort you would have been very surprised.
If he has come back physically to better shape he could win this averagely
competitive event. One to really check for positives form the 'Market'.
Rich Red ought to be able to compete in ordinary maidens off OR64
on physical grounds but has also failed to move forward from debut. FTO
he looked an exuberant young lad who was too stupid to run well but usable
at his level and ran that way. On his second run at Folkestone he had gone
backwards in attitude terms and the exuberance was gone and instead we
had a slouching, not interested, teenager. He ran badly finishing with
the tiny, the fat and the seller runners. Third go and he was out to 33/1
and the message presumably was out that he was there to learn. He was bustled
along to attend the pace and then faded in the final 2 furlongs. At least
he looked like a racehorse at some point. So, his form isn't even worth
OR64 but the BHA handicapper isn't going to take chances so upper seller
level for a horse with his profile and connections is where he gets put.
He ought to be able to wina nursery off that mark (probably at a lesser
track and not this one) so one to watch for development and maturity.
At Chester the quality of available-horses-spread-too-thinly-for-the-amount-of-racing
theme continues. The Class 4 nursery their last night was 'fought out'
by 4 runners and with the topweight raunning badly was contested by two
fillies off OR65 & OR61 who had won a single, poor, seller between
them previously. This was a good selling race and not a 'Class 4' nursery.
A big field for the 5f auction race on the card and the very limited Like
For Like comes out top on profile. She's small and lightly made and
another OR60s type and has failed to hold off anything with more oomph
in the final furlong in all of her races (eased last time after the bit
slipped but the same outgunning was already in progress).
She runs from stall 8 here so has a job on to get to a rail position and
will have to use up some of her limted power to do it. Having been beaten
4 times and as favourite more than once you can't support her. But, when
you look for obvious alternatives they aren't easy to spot. Presumably
one of the well drawn set of Titus Andronicus (two moderate runs
and has to give 7-12lbs to everything else), Red Baron Dancer (two
solid runs at moderate level in a Seller and a low quality Southwell maiden)
& even perhaps Dark Velvet will provide an alternative winner.
If Like For Like wins by a clear margin then we shouldn't expect anything
from the stragglers.