Two maidens at Windsor on Monday evening and, as is often the case,
the 6f event has more quality and depth than that over 5f despite the shorter
event being a Class 4. The 5f maiden has attracted 11 runners and those
that have already run do not look a strong group. Unless Kayceebee,
and just possibly Black Salix, has more improvement than looked
likely on his debut here the best of them look to be Court Approval
& Red Rossini.
The first of those has run in two higher class races but apart from when
being to allowed to lead at a sedate pace at Ascot has never been competitive.
At Royal Ascot the started at 100/1 and finished behind the midfield in
a large field with all manner of types around him. Just behind him was
Dabbers Chief who went on to place in a 6f Listed race. That runner has
a peculiar attitude which includes a lot of immaturity and inability to
concentrate on being a racehorse. When he concentrates, which he did for
part of the Listed race he goes well but other times nothing happens. In
front of Court Approval included runners dropped to sellers and beaten
in nurseries subsequently. In short, he hasn't shown the form to win an
open maiden and one to oppose with the right material. Red Rossini fits
into the same category with a volunteer second in the gap between the solid
enough Klynch and some very limited athletes on debut and then never competitive
in an ordinary 5f Sandown race at 10/1.
So, a race to look through the newcomers to see what can reach and perhaps
better the below average standard that will be needed to win. The pair
that have enough of the right credentials are Art Correspondent
& the filly Zelos Girl. The first is trained by Gary Moore who
used not to take much interest in 2yo racing and had built up a strong,
dual-purpose, stable over the years. FTO wins were very rare and the quality
not that high. In 2006 he had just 3 juveniles run for him and no winner.
In 2007 things looked to be changing with the number of runners up and,
more notably, some expensive purchases. The four winners he had were the
first four runners of the year and all were bought at the breeze-up sales
and three owned by the art dealing Green family.
A similar story in 2008 with 4 runners to date and two bought at the breeze-up
sales (one debut winner and one placer on later runs). His last two runners
have won on debut although the second of those only had to beat Like For
Like which is a mission entirely possible. Art Correspondent (we won't
need any research to guess who owns him..) was bought at the breeze-up
sales for 55,000 guineas and has a pedigree which doesn't shout '5f' which
is a bit of a niggle. But the rest of the profile is sound and he should
go well enough FTO.
A more interesting contender at an each-way price is likely to be Zelos
Girl trained by Rae Guest. In the last 4 seasons Mr Guest has had a total
of 6 juvenile winners and two have won on debut (the useful fillies Guilia
at 50/1 & Rosa Grace at 16/1). In 2006 his two winners were his first
two runners of the year and both made third (14/1 & 50/1) on debut
prior to later wins. In 2004 his two winners were his second and fourth
runners of the year and finished 4th (66/1) and 5th (25/1) in slightly
tougher races than this is on profile. Which means that Zelos Girl is either
running because she's a competitive 2yo or because she's no good and wont
be a winner.
She has a mixed pedigree but the trainer has said in interview that she
seems to have inherited the speed for 5f from the sire and would have run
by May but for a hold-up in training with a cough. So she sounds like a
usable one and given the full preparation the trainer tends to give his
horses she clearly has a good profile to at least place in this group.
In summary, the two with 'form' don't look strong and Red Rossini isn't
a taking type physically although he's likely to be favourite. Court Approval
is small as well although more strongly built but the trainer is less sure
than the Hannon's at converting this type to a winner. A set-up for the
on-course guy to be really important in the choice with feedback on the
newcomers, especially Art Correspondent & Zelos Girl and probably worth
a bit each-way on the latter anyway.
Last week the runners went to the far rail on the easy ground and with
'Good to Soft' in the frame at present that is still a possibility. On
firmer going a high draw and the stands' rail a big advantage but on easier
ground with the field often spread out across the course the best horses
tend to get to the front anyway (as they did in the 6f maiden here last
16 runners in the 6f Maiden and Richard Hannon presumably tried
very hard to get the race divided into two parts because he has four in
the race, a quarter of the group. The 7 horses that have already run have
not shown the form to win an open maiden like this so you are really looking
for clues as to which might have the physical scope to step forward. Goldvil
received a positive in paddock review on debut, just medium frame but strongly
enough built and a fluent mover. He made a typically incompetent debut
by trainer Meehan's standards and looks most likely to best of the septet.
West Leake ran here a week ago and was the tallest in the field
although more lightly made, a little narrow through the body and a bit
underpowered behind. His sheer size means that he ought to be able to rate
into the OR70s but he seems more likely to be here fore a 'development
run' than a STO win attempt.
But, the race features a range of interesting debut runners and the likelihood
is that one of them will be good enough to win. Retro is the best
of the Hannon set on profile and has a middle draw. He looked a natural
2yo at the yearling sales and the report B2yoR got suggested that if this
thing couldn't win at 2yo we might need to seek alternative employment.
So, lots of positives although the trainer only gets debut wins with high
class horses for the most part (especially if owned by the Queen, which
this one is not) although this one probably just reaches that category.
We then have a set of newcomers all with usable 2yo pedigrees and costing
solid amount at the sales with
Olynard (solid profile and trainer Beckett a plus and Sanders on
Lochan Mor (Spencer her is probably a real positive on his likely
Nasri (missed last week's race here and runs for important owners
but would need to be Group level to win off a Meehan prep),
Tagula Night (trainer gets regular debut wins each year as his father-in-law
did when he had the licence & this one looked another usable 2yo at
the sales although less taking than Retro
along with Come On Toby (expensive for his sire and pedigree and
trainer gets odd FTO wins although not in form at present), & Rocoppelia
(cost $150k and a good sprint 2yo pedigree although trainer gets rare FTO
wins and usually earlier in the year with the precocious types in the yard.)
In summary, a difficult race to put your finger on t he winner with the
doubts about the going & draw allied to a strong cast of wannabes.
Another race where info from the paddock will be invaluable to filter the
contenders on the day from the ones to follow and the future opposables.
At Wolverhampton the top two on profile appear to be in a different
class to the rest of the field. Both have been talked up as better class
2yos by their trainers. Blown It was seen as being the best of Jamie
Osborne's early 2yos and better than Mount Pleasant & Cee Bargara from
the 2007 team. The stable has been behind schedule this year and the 2yos
not competing strongly when they have been seen at all. Blown It finally
got to the track late but ran well to keep on into second at Salisbury.
There was a 50/2 third in that race and subsequent events have shown that
he bloody well needed to finish second because the rest of the field were
mostly pretty limited. That run when a little underdone convinced the trainer
to at least try him at Royal Ascot and he ran in midfield getting a B2yoR
estimate of 46 which might be a little high but is still well clear of
what most of the others will ever be capable of. If he's fit and in form
he should be able to win this unless Defector is as good as William Muir
The trainer is supposed to have said that Defector reminds him of Averti
in quality terms who was probably the best 2yo he has trained. At times
a remark can be blown up to mean more than the trainer meant or the nuances
get lost which hedged the comment. Andrew Balding made the same point last
week that an owner had said to him that they had heard that Swindler was
the best 2yo he had trained. He hadn't actually said that although he confirmed
that he held that horse in high regard. Either way, Mr Muir isn't a Mark
Prescott when it comes to knowing how good your horses are from their home
work and he can get too misty eyed at times. Not quite in the George Margarson
class but a long way from the Prescott 'School of Realism'.
He made a solid debut at Windsor but with the moderate runners too close
behind to suggest it was a high class run. The VP picture shows a well
prepared horse for that debut but he isn't that neatly put together (not
in proportion front to back for example, head & neck a bit too
large, etc). He ought to be able to push Blown It but it would be a surprise
if he could beat that runner if he runs to the form he has shown and, hopefully,
a bit better.
A couple of other points of interest in the race. Reg Hollinshead runs
Weet In Nerja on debut and his runners often show their best form
FTO & STO. So far this year his three debuts have 3rd, 2nd & 4th
FTO at longer odds with the first two beaten less than a length and one
touched off in a photo at 20/1. In a race where something has to make the
frame at longer odds Weet In Nerja is an obvious candidate. Abhainn
is another possibility if he has finally settled down. Bryn Palling is
another ready-for-debut trainer that gets a lot of fizzy attitude types
as part of the deal. Along with being by Hawk Wing Abhainn has looked like
his brain is being fried on both runs to date and has pressed the pace
and faded. That was after he had unseated the jockey at periodic intervals
among the mayhem. Along with Mr Cowell's Spanish Baron he is the
other possible for a longer price runner to make the frame.