British 2yo Racing - 2008 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - September 10th 
Races :-
  • 676: Doncaster 1:30, 7f Nursery (3)
  • 677: Doncaster 3:10, 6f Conditions (2)
  • 678: Kempton AW 6:50, 7f Maiden (5)

  •   September 10th Summary : 
    • Wednesday's meeting at Warwick has been adandoned.
    • The Cheltenham Festival towers over the NH season in a way that means that the good races prior to that event often get seen as 'trials' and not enjoyed for the race they are in themselves. In the same way the early Group races can be seen as just a set of good races to be enjoyed as the season plays out. But, in a very real sense with horses in their first season, the early test should be identifying the best horses of the crop and setting an order between them. You should be looking at the races for signs of real ability and where the juvenile Group 1 winners will come from and which are likely to go on to be the best 3yos.
    • The 2yo season now has 35 Group races scheduled which is up from just 26 in the late 1990s. A 35% increase in Group races is a large one and is clearly diluting the value of a Group win because it is now much easier to achieve. The population of 2yos tail away to a very small number at the top who are really top class. If you took the example of tennis as another example of how a 'population' will tend to come to a very sharp (i.e. lacking breadth in numbers) then you have Federer & now Nadal clearly better than everybody else. Behind them you have a set who probably don't reach to tenth place who are clear of anything else and can compete with the top two at times when they are at their peak and the top pair are a little below theirs. You are soon into a broader range of high class players but well behind the best and will regularly be put in their place.
    • With 35 races and big fields we aren't going to have a full set of 'Group Quality' horses throughout. With Group races starting when less than a 1,000 of the 2yos have even begun their careers (out of 3,000+ each year) that effect is enhanced. The majority of runners in Group races aren't up to that class and are handicappers of some sort. Many of those that win and place at 2yo in these events are not Group class in the fullness of time as the 3yo & 4yo seasons progress. Which means that when we are looking for the top few horses (Group 1 contenders for later this year and 3yo 'real things') we can discard the bulk of those who have run in Group races imcluding many that have run prominently. A Group Race winner isn't 'Top Class' by association as many pubications would have it. The rating figure they achieve will tell that. 
    • The table below lists the Group races run to date along with links to the results and the winning horses. The notes give a few clues about how the races are working out. 17 of the 35 Group races have been run with the Group 3 Acomb Stakes lost along with the York Ebor meeting although the Gimcrack and the Lowther were re-homed.
    Group Race
    Winner Notes
    Coventry Stakes (2)
    6f,  17th June
    Art Connoisseur   The winner went on to get beaten by 4.5 lengths by Mastercraftsmen in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes although just ahead of Bushranger. He looked well below his Ascot condition and wellbeing when 8th in the Gimcrack and is now out for the season. Aiden O'Brien has run a range of 3yo Group winners in the race in the last 10 years but Peter Tchaikovsky finished in midfield at 11/1 and his later runs have confirmed he is an ordinary one (like Listed winner Newton who did duty in 2003).
      As usual the race seemed to spread the field out into ability levels and the first five home looked the better types and some have gone on to better races. The second and third have both been beaten behind Bushranger (in Ireland & France) which links in with the Phoenix Stakes form. The fifth - Orizaba - ran below form having been working below his best prior to the race but came back to this form level to win the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. The fourth home - Himalya - ran best of Noseda runners at Ascot and the trainer closed his stable for a couple of weeks afterwards because he felt the horses were below form. He remains an interesting horse in this grade when he returns.
    Queen Mary (2)
    5f,  18th June
    Langs Lash   A big field but an ordinary set of precocious sprint fillies who produced an average renewal. The winner ran well under a penalty next time when setting the pace and just getting caught in the 6f Lowther Stakes (transferred to Newmarket). But, she cost £15,000 as a 2yo purchase and the fillies that beat her in the Lowther cost 9,000 & 10,000 guineas and look like 2yo sprinters without long term prospects. Not the Fleeting Spirit & Natagora types.
    Norfolk Stakes (2)
    5f,  19th June
    South Central   A mixed field and the race probably over-rated given the performances of the 4th+ subsequently. The winner has been sold to race ain Hong Kong so we don't know how he would have developed. On the evidence of his trainer's previous horses who have run well at Ascot his form would have tailed off quickly. The runner-up has been unplaced in the Molecomb & the Gimcrack since.
      The third has since won the Richmond Stakes and the runner-up in that race - Gallagher - went on to divide Bushranger & Lord Shanakill (the Coventry 3rd) in the Prix Morny in France which looks to tie the various strands together.
    Albany Stakes (3)
    6f,  20th June
    Cuis Ghaire   An average set of closely matched fillies produced a bunch finish without any looking outstanding. The closeness (lacking real stars) of the 5-6f fillies' division has been confirmed by later races. The small filly Cuis Ghaire from Jim Bolger (a master at getting the best from small ones, Saoirse Abu etc, etc) won from Pennys Gift who went close in the Lowther behind stablemate Infamous Angel and just in front of Langs Lash. The two bigger Channon fillies were a close third staying on (Danidh Dubai & midfield in the Princess Margaret) and 11th (Please Sing, won an ordinary Cherry Hinto then unplaced in the Lowther).
      Two Group winners behind with Please Sing and African Skies (Princess Margaret) but they were both beaten next time to confirm the view of a closely matched group of fillies without a set of standout ones.
    Cherry Hinton (2)
    6f,  9th July
    Please Sing   Front runners had an advantage through the meeting and Art Princess set a moderate pace and Please Sing did well to stay on and beat her. However, the winner was unplaced in the Lowther and the second has been unplaced in a fillies' Listed race at Salisbury behind Serious Attitude and it seems likely that if there are higher class fillies in Britain for the Cheveley Park they may not have run in the early Group races. It would take one of the fillies to really show improved form to make a good Group 1 winner and not just the best of what turns up (which need not always be Group 1 level despite the race label). Channon does have a habit of improving fillies later and perhaps Please Sing & Danidh Dubai have more to show.
    July Stakes (2)
    6f,  10th July
    Classic Blade   Trainers rarely downplay races but Robert Cowell said of this field before he ran Prime Delivery that he wouldn't be taking on a real Group race field but this was a just a good Novice or Conditions race. The profile suggested he had a point.
      Aided by an aggressive frontrunning ride on a course favouring pacemakers Classic Blade never looked like getting caught after getting 3 lengths for free. Hughes on Prolific blamed himself for letting the leader get the soft lead and his horse proved better next time in the Richmond Stakes. A solid field with Sayif going on to finish third behind Orizaba & Lord Shanakill next time to suggest that the Coventry line and the 6-7f form that has followed is the best seam.
      The winner was midfield in the Morny Stakes next time nearly 13 lengths behind Bushranger and well behind Gallagher, Lord Shanakill & even Light The Fire of the British juveniles.
    Superlative Stakes (3)
    7f,  11th July
    Firth Of Fifth   Never make the same mistake twice. The day after Classic Blade's romp trainer Dascombe & jockey Kingscote pull off the same trick with the limited Firth Of Forth. Hughes again leaves his mount with too much to make up as Weald Park is second. The third made good ground against the pace bias and went on to win an ordinary Gimcrack dropped back to 6f and aided by his own pacemaking.
      The winner was put in his place at 10/1 in the Vintage Stakes next time and well being Orizaba and co. from the better form seam. 
    Princess Margaret (3)
    6f,  26th July
    African Skies   Another big field of ordinary fillies with little evidence they were real Group class. The first two have been beaten in their next race.
    Molecomb Stakes (3)
    5f,  29th July
    Finjaan   Race appeared to be run in a good time and be better than the general standard of Group races up to that point. Subsequent defeats for Bonnie Charlie (by a later ordinary Group 3 winner in Elnawin) & Thunderous Mood suggest the race a little over-rated.
      Worth noting Jargelle in third and the - Result - of the 5f Supersprint. That looks a much more solid race in retrospect with Jargelle running well here, Infamous Angel (2nd) & Pennys Gift (7th) fighting out the Lowther Stakes and the 3rd (Senor Mirasol) went on to be 3rd in the 5.5f Prix Robert Papin at Maisons Lafitte. He, and the filly Percolator who has won a various races up to Group level in France after her early season runs in Britain, were beaten by the Italian colt Lui Rei. He went to the Prix Morny next time and was in midfield behind Bushranger and short head back from Classic Blade.
    Vintage Stakes (2)
    7f,  30th July
    Orizaba   A solid looking Group event in the context of the season to date with Orizaba & Lord Shanakill upholding the Coventry seam and Orizaba looking in better form. The fourth has won at Listed & Group 3 level in France since. The fifth dropped back to 6f to win the Gimcrack and unplaced Ryehill Dreamer was runner-up in an Irish Group 2. On the other side the 6th Instalment has run moderately in hte Solario Stakes.
    Richmond Stakes (2)
    6f,  1st August
    Prolific   Prolific runs to better form and looked a solid race at the level. The second went on to run second in the Prix Morny behind Bushranger with Lord Shanakill, Light The Fire & Classic Blade well behind him to make that a possibility. However, the fourth was beaten further in the Gimcrack and Gallagher is probably improving with racing.
    Sweet Solera (3)
    7f,  9th August
    Rainbow View   A clear win for Rainbow View from handicappers but she has won comfortably by clear margins on both runs and clearly has the scope to prove a good winner at Group1-2 level.
    Gimcrack Stakes (2)
    6f,  22nd August
    Shaweel   Solid form dropped back to 6f after an 8th in the Coventry and then upped to 7f in Group races in between. Beat unproved maiden winners from the north and Art Connoisseur & Marine Boy ran well below form.
    Prestige Stakes (3)
    7f,  23rd August
    Fantasia   Typically, just a moderate pace and race time. The 'right' filly won in terms of scope for the future with the placed fillies representing the Princess Margaret form and looking proven to be below real Group level.
    Lowther Stakes (2)
    6f,  23rd August
    Infamous Angel   Ordinary form with precocious sprint fillies who would be vulnerable to better types in a good Cheveley Park Stakes.
    Solario Stakes  (3)
    7f,  30th August
    Sri Putra   Slowly run and only a little faster than the nursery on the day which was won by OR79 horse (Swift Chap) and would make the form worth mid OR80s. Which means the form is suspect and did not realy show what the horses are capable of. The Cheka may well be capable of much better form on softer ground and the winner deserves credit because he had been off with a minor ailment.
      Last year's race saw Raven's Pass win by seven lengths and demonstrate the sort of different ability level that real Group 1 horses have. The sort of difference and quality we haven't really seen this year in Britain.
    Sirenia Stakes  (3)
    6f,  6th Sept
    Elnawin   Often a weak Group 3 contested by horses who end up as good handicappers at 3yo. A close finish with Square Eddie presumably improving. The relative positions of Deposer, Klynch & Flashmans Papers (a typically in-and-out John Best 2yo) suggest a normal renewal and behind the best of the 6f Group form.
      In the third year of the Kempton AW the race produced a 2yo course record but in fast conditions due to heavy recent rain (the turf meetings on the day were all abandoned). Not the only course record to go during the week when the track had 4 meetings take place.
    • So, that's the first half of the Group races run. The table below lists the 2yo Group races still to be run. If we look back to 2007 where did the horses that won the four Group 1 races come from? The Fillies' Mile at Ascot had a first three who were all making their debuts in Britain. The Irish trained Listen won with the another Irish filly Saoirse Abu in third. The second was the French filly Proviso. Three British trained fillies were fourth to sixth and two had made the first 4 in the May Hill Stakes. None of that three have looked better than Listed Class at 3yo. So perhaps we haven't even seen the Group 1 horses in this country yet?
    • The Cheveley Park Stakes was won by the French trained Natagora from Fleeting Spirit who represented one of the best two 'seams' of British form. That pair where clear (Federer & Nadal style) and have proved that they were different with Group wins at 3yo. The Middle Park was won by Dark Angel without him having to better the form he had already shown in beating the same group of British colts. To confirm the view of that as a very soft (as in sub-standard) Group 1 what have the placed horses - Strike The Deal, Tajdeef & Red Alert Day - done at 3yo to suggest that was a real 'Group 1'?
    • The Dewhurst Stakes was won by New Approach on his British debut from Fast Company who had comfortably won two races including a late season 7f Group 3. The third was Raven's Pass who had demonstrated his Group 1 credentials with a 7 length win at Group 3 level. The Racing Post Trophy was won by British trained Ibn Khaldun from City Leader who both won Group races after mid September to advertise themselves. The other good 3yos were spread all over that field with River Proud another who began his British Group race career with a place in the July Stakes as the sole representative of those early Group races to make his mark. Unplaced in that event we had the Irish trained Curtain Call (J Harrington then), Frozen Fire & King Of Rome to show that the better horses, in bulk, came from outside Britain.
    • So, perhaps that feeling that we haven't really seen a good Group1 contender so far in the British Group races is valid. Perhaps they are in Ireland & France or possibly hidden away with maiden and nursery form and have yet to go to Group racing. The way that Art Connoisseur was dealt with by Mastercraftsmen wouldn't discourage you from that view and perhaps Rip Van Winkle will provide more evidence if he comes to the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.. Looking at the likes of Langs Lash & Infamous Angel as physical types wouldn't discourage the view that something in the Natagora mould could appear and beat them by 3 lengths in the Cheveley Park. This doesn't mean that pair cannot win a Group 1 just that, like Donna Blini for example, they wouldn't be a good victress with longer term prospects.
    • Table following lists the 2yo Group races still to come. The links from the race names go to the 2007 results. The Group 1, championship, events are marked with an asterisk.
    Race Notes
    May Hill Stakes (2)
    8f, September 11th
      For fillies' only and the first test over 8f. Regular stepping stone to the Fillies' Mile. 8 Declarations for Thursday with Rainbow View as the obvious better type and a Jim Bolger runner with Aaroness. Latin Tinge, a very tall filly who ran much better than her immaturity would have suggested likely an interesting one in the unexposed types.
    Flying Childers (2)
    5f, September 12th
      With no 5f Group 1 race and the Cornwallis often run on softer ground this often is the mosy important 5f Group race of the year. 27 entries for Friday's race and the usual group of horses from the existing set of sprint 2yos. The, officially, highest rated colts are Bonnie Charlie (109) & Lord Shanakill (108) representing the Molecomb and the Coventry/Morny seams of faorm. The highest is Amour Propre (110) though who has done two fast times in small fields but hasn't actually run agaisnt higher class horses. Highest rated filly is Madam Trop Vite (104) who's win at Newbury did look like a real step forward on her previous efforts.
    Champagne Stakes (2)
    7f, September 13th
    19 entries for Saturday's race with Aiden O'Brien choosing from Rip Van Winkle, Westphalia & Drumbeat. Usual group of exisiting Group race reps like Shaweel & Weald Park and interesting newcomers to the grade like Zacinto, Playfellow & War Native.
    Firth Of Clyde Stakes (3)
    6f, Ayr, Mid-Late Sept
     Fillies' only.  Recent Listed upgrade and rarely of longer term significance.
    Mill Reef Stakes (2)
    6f, Newbury, Mid-Late Sept
      Occasionally has a moderate field but has a solid record of producing 3yo sprinters (Firebreak & Galeota) & milers (Zafeen & Excellent Art) from the winners
    Royal Lodge Stakes  (2)
    8f, Ascot, Late Sept
      Colts & Geldings only. Run on the same day as the fillies 8f championship race but effectively a second division race with the Racing Post Trophy as the males 8f championship. That event is run so late and often on heavy ground that this race ought to get solid fields. Recent record is not that strong though. 
    Fillies' Mile  (1) *
    8f, Ascot, Late Sept
       Fillies' only. The Championship for the females over 8f. Good recent record with winners since the millennium inclduing Gossamer, Soviet Song, Nannina & Simply Perfect.
    Somerville Tattersalls Stakes (3)
    7f, Newmarket, Early Oct.
      Recently upgraded. Milk It Mick (Dewhurst & US Grade 1), Aussie Rules & Where Or When are recent winners have gone on to Group 1 successes 
    Middle Park Stakes(1) *
    6f, Newmarket, Early Oct.
      Colts championship over 6f. 
    Cheveley Park Stakes (1) *
    6f, Newmarket, Early Oct.
      Fillies' championship over 6f. 
    Oh So Sharp Stakes (3)
    7f, Newmarket, Early Oct.
      Fillies' only. 
    Cornwallis Stakes (3)
    5f, Ascot, Mid Oct
     Captain Gerrard's win last year broke a run of three relatively moderate winners following on from Majestic Missile.
    Autumn Stakes  (3)
    8f, Ascot, Mid Oct.
      Recently Upgraded.
    Dewhurst Stakes  (1) *
    7f, Newmarket, Mid-Late Oct
      Record of winners has impoved in the last five years with the four to have raced again winning at Group or Grade 1 level at 3yo or older. The last three winners include the Derby winners New Approach & Sir Percy.
    Rockfel Stakes  (2)
    7f, Newmarket, Mid-Late Oct.
      Fillies' Only with no Group 1 confined to females. With the general increase in number of Group events and the way those we have are promoted to higher Groups this might go to Group 1. Another race where the recent winners would help a Group 1 claim with Maid's Causeway, Speciosa & Finsceal Beo winning between 2004-6 beofre Kitty Matchem won last year to return to the ordinary winner type of the previous priod.
    Racing Post Trophy (1) *
    8f, Doncaster, Late Oct.
      8f Championship but run late in the season and often on very soft going. Aiden O'Brien targets the race and even when he doesn;t win it those that do run often do well at 3yo as the three reps in 2007 can attest. Last four winners made up of two small 'no shows' at 3yo and two Derby winners in Authorised & Motivator.
    Horris Hill Stakes (3)
    7f, Newbury, Late Oct.
      Hmm, when you see it at the bottom of a table like this you wonder how this fits into the Group race 'Pattern'. Looks more of an historical Group 3 than one that is required. The last 10 winners have been mostly anonymous as older horses to add weight to the 'legacy' view.

    Race Virtual Paddocks FTO P&L Qualifiers
    • Royal Society (Kempton, M Johnston, 7f Debuts). Another 7f debut winner at Leicester yesterday for the same owner with the, very big, Parthenon who looks an interesting horse for the future.
    • Queen Of Burlesque  (Kempton, BJ Meehan, September+ debuts)
    • Probably helped by the heavy conditions on most of the turf courses currently the Kempton 7f maiden looks a relatively strong group on profile. Royal Society is an owmer bred for the Maktoum family who is related to older Group winner No Excuse Needed and a range of less able athletes so could be 'anything' before we see him. Queen Of Burlesque is a cheapish breeze-up purchase who was bought cheaply in the US as a yearling.
    • The race also has a 400,000gns yearling - Mafaaz - who has a moderate pedigree so ought to be a fine physical type. Noordhoek Kid cost 150,000gns despite being by an ordinary mare who produced a claimer winner with her first foal and would fall into the same bracket. Added to that pair are a Cheveley Park owner bred for Michael Stoute (Evasive) and an expensive purchase for owner Rob Lloyd (Hit The Switch) who has moved his horses to Richard Fahey's yard (apparently) following problems with planning permission for extending his purpose built training facility. Mr Fahey has had all of his debut runners well forward this year but has presumably not been involved with much of the preparatory training here.
    • The only two runners with experience have placed on their runs with the filly Never Lose making the frame in moderate company. Sayyaaf was third in the faster division on the day of a Sandown 7f maiden. The maidens at that course can be variable in quality and are often run at a moderate pace which bunches the runners up at the finish and fails to demonstrate their relative ability fully. 
    • On the plus side for him he was behind two runners who had already shown at least OR70s form in maidens. He was also notably immature mentally on the day and ran surprisingly well in that context. His attitude never became a strong negative and he was always listening to his handler. He also managed the rare feat of being 'colty' right through to going down to post (picture) and was wearing his owner's second colours that day (behind the Gosden trained Ithbaat who steamed into 4th late and looked an above average horse in review).
    • He has the first colours in this race and with a solid draw and, hopefully, a more professional attitude should set a stiff standard for the newcomers including the Gosden/Hamdan rep with Mafaaz.

    ~ DONC 1:30 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    15 COOK'S ENDEAVOUR [50] - 4 40 3 13 31
    7 HIGH ALERT [44] -5 4 36 2 30 40
    5 INHERITOR [43] -6 5 40 4 28 24
    6 NEEDWOOD LAD [43] -6 4 43 2 28 20
    17 BRIGHT ENOUGH [42] +7 6 14 3 9 25
    9 FOL LIAM [42] -5 4 42 3 29
    10 FULL OF NATURE [42] -3 5 40 2 34 31
    1 LUCKY REDBACK [42] -11 6 41 3 23 28
    4 SATWA LAIRD [40] -7 3 35 2 25 32
    8 BEAUTIFUL BREEZE [38] -5 4 31 2 18 32
    16 ADVERTISE [37] +1 3 23 2 23 33
    11 GO GO GREEN [37] -2 5 33 1 33 23
    12 BLAZING BUCK [36] -2 4 27 2 8 19
    14 AMETHYST DAWN [35] -1 4 26 2 14 18
    3 BALLANTRAE [35] -7 3 31 1 31 33
    2 COME AND GO [35] -10 5 33 3 5 39
    13 MISTER DEE BEE [34] -2 4 23 3 9 38

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    ~ DONC 3:10 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    1 BONNIE CHARLIE [60] - 4 76 2 46 28
    7 FARAWAY FLOWER [54] +5 3 45 1 45 38
    6 CARANBOLA [49] +5 9 49 5 26
    4 INVINCIBLE HEART [48] +2 3 38 2 23 29
    3 FITZ FLYER [47] +2 4 44 3 44
    2 PARISIAN ART [47] - 3 40 1 40 40
    5 TAGULA BREEZE [33] +2 7 34 3 -2

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    ~ KTNA 6:50 ~ Today's Race Best Run FTO Run
    Name [PRF] WCor Run Class Level Best [Est] Best Run FTO [EST] Ave % FTO
    10 SAYYAAF [41] - 2 35 1 35 38
    6 MAFAAZ [34] - 1 43
    8 ROYAL SOCIETY [34] - 1 32
    3 EVASIVE [31] - 1 42
    4 HIT THE SWITCH [30] - 1 20
    13 NEVER LOSE [28] +5 3 19 2 10 30
    1 DR VALENTINE [26] - 1 22
    2 DUKE'S EMERALD [22] - 1 35
    7 NOORDHOEK KID [21] - 1 26
    14 QUEEN OF BURLESQUE [20] +5 1 34
    11 SEEK THE FAIR LAND [20] - 1 15
    9 SATURN WAY [12] - 1 29
    5 LEND A LIGHT [5] - 1
    12 WINTERBROOK KING [0] - 1 25

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