A difficult week to keep a handle on the racing what with heavy rain producing
odd results .This has been a really big factor this week and there's nothing
like a long dry spell and Good-Firm going for weeks to see understandable
form and results. Add to that draw biases, front runners' bias at Newmarket,
Royal Ascot form being exposed as over-rated in various ways and a number
of interesting newcomers winning at longer odds to make a week to test
the resolve. This preview will have some notes on the week added during
Sunday but let's consider the race at Haydock.
This is to be run on Heavy going with 'Soft' places. If the bulk of the
course is heavy then why bother adding the sop of it being a bit less wet
in areas? Anyway, more ground in which a surprise result caused by a runner
handling the ground well is more possible. Those that have run have not
achived a great deal and set a moderate standard for a newcomer to reach.
Captain Scooby was a relative short SP and a solid debut by his
trainer's standards when 3rd in a maiden at Beverley on debut. He was well
drawn in 8 and the field was not strong which probably contributed to that.
The horse just in front of him has been beaten twice since in ordinary
(i.e. mostly moderate) northern events. Those close behind have achived
little other than a minor win for Calley Ho who has since been beaten in
a claimer. So, a mixed story and he should improve his rating but not a
strong standard and perhaps not much above claimer level at best.
Secret City was third in a small field.maiden at York FTO and, as
is often the case, that was a thin race in quality terms for the venue
behind the useful front pair. He is probably best judged on his poor effort
STO when 17/2 on SP despite being in a low ability race at Yarmouth. Another
who doesn't appeal as anything other than a moderate level. What else in
those with previous form? Well Olympic Dream ran in the Brocklesby
for Richard Fahey but ran appallingly and was no better at 12/1 at Carlisle
when he finally reappeared. He ought to be better than he has shown but
without Paddock Review the call is to pass him over. Silent Hero
runs for a major stable but has shown nothing worthwhile to date. Hopelessly
inexperienced on debut he was adrift early. In a slow race at Newmarket
he finished well back and another where a great leap forward would be a
Of some interest would be Who Art Thou who is a relatively expensive
US purchase for his trainer. He started at 100/1 in a big field at Newbury
on debut and never figured but looked an OR70+ rater on paddock review
but notably young mentally. His trainer knows how good his 2yos are before
they run so that 100/1 SP is a niggle and perhaps he has a 'hole' in him.
But with a solid physical report and a solid jockey booked he's one to
really check for positives from the pre-race betting.
All of which means that the newcomers may well have more trouble handling
the going than the previous runners unless Who Art Thou is here to win.
There are three breeze up sales (i.e. the 2yo sales earlier this year)
graduates and the most expensive was Striker Torres who cost Reg
Bond (Monsieur Bond, Bond City and all that) 100,000 guineas and runs for
Bryan Smart. He was seen at the yearling sales and seen as just a usable
sprinter at the average maiden winner level. A good question would be why
the horse is making his debut so late? In recent seasons the best and most
precocious 2yos would already have run for the trainer and the best might
well have won on debut. He has shown the same pattern this year with three
debut winners by May 16th and lesser debuts of late.
He does introduce the odd better type into July but debut wins then are
rare. The filly Sirenuse who was a relatively short 3/1 on her July 1st
debut at Thirsk is supposed to be better than his Royal Ascot second Spin
Cycle. She led her field for 5f before fading in the last furlong and seems
likely to run over 5f next time and perhaps the hype will prove to be true.
She's by new sire Exceed And Excel who is building a solid record to add
a positive to her balance. Anyway, to expect Striker Torres to win here
FTO you would need to know why he hasn't run yet and want to see some real
positives in the market. Not just the he-cost-a-lot-and-is-trained-by-Smart
type positives (perhaps 3/1 & under in this group)
Toldeo Gold cost 51,000 as a 2yo but runs for a trainer who hadn't
had a debut winner for ages until a late season accident last year. He's
by the sire Needwood Balde who didn't do much at 2yo depsite being trained
by master precocious juvenile handler Bryan McMahon. He's had one seller
win to date from a lot of runs and the signs are his progeny will need
time to get going. So, positives for tracking but not for today. Which
leaves two other newcomers for trainer's who do get debut winners.
David Simcock is in his 5th season with a licence and when he started what
his horses did on debut was what they were. The preparation before debut
was through. The last two seasons suggest he's changed a little bit with
no debut win in 2007 although only 3 winners overall so perhaps the quality
was lacking. The best runner finished 2nd FTO at 20/1 to hint at him still
being a 'strong debut' type with the right material. He's a trainer who
has a lot of fizzy attitude types and sweating FTO and this often goes
along with the full preparation types.
This year he started with a 66/1 4th on debut and a 16/1 2nd. His last
newcomer won earlier this week in heavy going at Ripon to confirm tje view
that if the material is right the preparation will enable them to compete
to a high level on debut. Desert Phantom is a 50,000 2yo purchase
bythe good US sire Arch and overall the profile is for a good debut here.
James Given is another full preparer for debut and the inate ability is
usually apparent there. The SP usually bears little relation to the performance
expected. Real Dandy has a solid pedigree although the dam has not
produced a winner recently and he was retained at the sales. A difficult
one to judge before the paddock information and the market unlikely to
In summary, those with previous runs do not appeal unless Who Art Thou
has some positive vibes on the day. Striker Torres is unlikely to be value
because of the connections and Desert Phantom & perhaps Real Dandy
more each-way material in a tricky race on slop.
[Short notes on the last week's events to follow, time permitting]