A fascinating 7f maiden at Brighton at the meeting transferred from
sub-aqua Chepstow (the clue is in the sponsor's name..). The course is
usually a venue for below average 2yos or ordinary ones from bigger stables
looking for a soft option. But this race featues a couple of bigger guys
with longer term prospects amongst the more regular customers. However,
both are taller and leggier models and it is always a worry how they will
cope with this undulating course. On the plus side the uphill finish allows
the better types to start getting back losses on the earlier downhill sections,
providing they handle the camber from the stands side down to the far rail
on the final stretch.
Mark Johnston is not one of those trainers who avoids this track because
of the technical nature and he also has a good record at Epsom (8 winners
from 24 in 2002-7, 19 made the first 3) with the 2yos he sends there including
those on debut. His record at this track is 3 winners from 10 runners in
the period 200-7 and he has two runners at the course today with Liberation
on STO in the 7f race and Alcalde a newcomer in the 8f event. Liberation
ran in what looked a very interesting Sandown 7f maiden on debut and is
the first one to appear from the race. It was run in an ordinary time thanks
to a moderate pace but on paddock review they looked a solid group and
couple looked well above average. You would be a disappointed if that race
didn't produce at least 4 maiden winners by season end (a low-side estimate).
was one of those that looked to be well above average and one to follow.
He spent most of his time in the preliminaries looking, and acting, daft
Rearing, pulling away from his handler, gawping at anything and everything
while planting himself. Not nasty, just a young horse trying to take the
new experience in. By the time he went to post he had settled down but
didn't look like he knew what was coming (Picture).
The opposite of a natural professional at the game. Given all that he ran
well enough getting lost in midfield as the more aware made the pace and
then making godd ground against the pace late to get through to third and
still going forward. He was entered for the 7f Conditions race at Doncaster
but turns up here instead which is an interesting choice. Anyway, provided
he handles the course you would like to see him clear of most of the others.
When Ascendant made his debut at Kempton the preview raised the
question of what sort of Prescott newcomer he might be. A case could be
made on profile that he was the start of the '3yo handicapper' set-ups
who would have three quick runs while anonymous in the ruck to be able
to start their 3yo season on a handicap mark like 58. The overall circumstances
suggest that he might be one with 2yo prospects who will be allowed to
show his ability this season. He started at 14/1 over 6f and the first
half of the race certainly looked like a set-up as he lost ground through
the pick-up, got a bit unbalanced on the bend and was well behind. His
natural size and ability then seemed to show through and he pulled through
to a closing fifth against a decent group of horses (not rabbits) in the
The fact that only one Prescott debut has come along since also suggests
he wasn't the start of the 3yo set-ups. He is dropped to a winnable race
at a more suitable distance STO which would fit with the trainer trying
to target a win with a 2yo prospect. The trainer has continued his good
record at Brighton this year with the previous four runs (by three season
winners) yielding two wins and two places. He will presumably try to compete
for the win rather tahn bumbling about and seeing him take on another substantial
bruiser like Liberation around this track should be worth seeing.
The rest of the field look more typical kit with second strings (probably
a kind assessment in some cases) for major stables like Appraisal, Barood,
Medlock & Zarushka. Probably not enough in those to beat both of the
principals if they handle the track. An interesting runner is Adios
Juan who drops to Brighton after two runs in Newmaket maidens. Both
were run in moderate times that are typical for these big field maidens
so it can be difficult to judge the real ability. But, both races appear
to be producing winners and the win of Mishrif at Folkestone on Monday
was the 3rd win for a horse who was in front of his 7th on debut. The fourth
from that race - Invincible Heart - ran at Doncaster yesterday.
The VP for the 8f maiden at Sandown includes two runners who finished
at the back in the Liberation race at Sandown. Classic Vintage &
Gtaab are both different types to Liberation who is taller, rangy
and looks to move athletically. This pair are shorter 'fat blokes' and
look less athletic. They were both clearly not ready for the day and both
went onto the list to oppose until they prove they can move efficiently.
Now, because they are quite powerful they can score well in 'Power' terms
and Classic Vintage cost $350,000 as a yearling which was no doubt a good
deal to do with his bulk. But, if that power isn;t used efficiently you
have a moderate racehorse.
Classic Vintage was another suspect efficiency 'big lad' to add to a number
the trainer (Amanda Perrett) has had this year. Try looking at this pair
- Dubai Crest (Pic,
120,000gns and beaten off OR68 last time), Blue Dynasty (Pic,
$170,000 and moderate form in 3 maiden runs). Both look big enough in review
to be better than 65-75 strugglers and checking the athleticism becomes
an important point.
This point about bulk and the ability to shift it was going to be written
last week when Roger Charlton's Old Street (Pic)
ran in the Brighton maiden that My Kingdom (Pic)
won at 40/1. If you look at the two pictures you should be able to tell
that Old Street looks stolid and scoring low in fluent movement terms on
the way he presents. My Kingdom actually holds himself quite well but looks
too buzzy to do well. In a massive bit of 'after timing' the point would
then be that just in those terms My Kingdom could improve at Brighton (where
the trainer had a 50/1 winner in 2006) while Old Street couldn't move well
enough to improve. As it turned out My Kingdom had been gelded during his
time off and with a new, tractable, attitude his movement positive could
Mr Charlton, like Perrett, has a number of these heavy disappointers this
year. Try Blue Bogey (Pic,
38,000 & beaten off OR59) & Strike Command (Pic,
80,000). He also has some that can move themselves and Souter Point
looked a bit suspect in movement terms but holding his head down didn't
help and he steamed through to finish ahead of Liberation at Sandwon so
has proved he can shift himself well enough. If you look long enough at
his picture and this one - Pic
- of Broad Cairn (another debut second for a shorter, fat lad for the stable)
and compare them to the likes of Old Street & Dubai Crest the slight
difference in body length, neatness & the way they hold themselves
give clues as to which will be usable and which will be unable to use their
full strength to make progress, efficiently, up the track.
The Sandown 8f VP is completed by a couple of different but common types.
Andean Margin was pictured at Great Leighs where he looked very
well prepared to show his best. Very fit and high in wellbeing terms. He
ran poorly but from bad draw in 14 of 14. He is a classic, neatly made
but narrow bodied and a little underpowered but ought to be usable because
he looks to move ok. He doesn't have much scope to improve physically but
ought to be better than he has shown. Khan Tengri cost 190,000gns
but is the tall, rangy type as opposed to the heavy ones like Classic Vintage.
He is owned by the man who has a similar, willowy one, by Montjeu (who
gets a lot of that type, see Macarthur & co.) called Askar Tau making
a good job as a staying 3yo at 12f. Khan Tengri is another who gets called
"more of a 3yo.." and "anything he does at 2yo is a bonus..."
because he looks like a 12f+ stayer in the making. He ran well over 8f
at the course last time and would have been closer to On Our Way but for
fading late on. But, that was another moderate pace race and On Our Way
was pulling away at the end and the filly in second has been beaten at
Khan Tengri sets a good standard but something might be nippier at 2yo.
An interesting contender is King Of Wands who, to tie a couple of
preview thread together, was just behind Adios Juan in that Newmarket maiden
which has produced winners and ought to be at his peak for this run.