British 2yo Racing - 2009 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - April 9th 
Races :-
  • Folkestone 1:40, 5f Maiden (6)

  •   April 9th Summary : 
    • [Thursday's race at Folkestone is the last 2yo race until a single event on Bank Holiday Monday - a seller at Warwick.] 
    • A Class 6 maiden at Folkestone and below Class 5 because the sire's represented have a Median value for all yearling sales below a qualifying level. In general an attempt to stop all maidens being farmed by big stables and owners and to give horses with less good pedigrees a chance. At this time of the year this is less of a problem with the big stable & major owner combinations mostly absent & still working on them in the garage. The qualification as a Median figure can mean that very expensive horses by sires who mostly produce moderate types can get in. The qualification here has done the job with Mr Hannon's Monsieur Chevalier (17,000gns) the most expensive by some margin from Safari Camp (€10,000).
    • The general prices of the runners here are at the cheap end of the market. The global financial downturn in 2008 affected the yearling sales markets both in terms of horses cleared (i.e. sold rather than retained or failing to reach a reserve) and in prices paid. But even with the general baseline down horses costing in the 1,000 to 5,000 guineas range, as many are in this race, are bargain basement purchases. A good number of the field are 'Mom & Pop' owner breds from, mostly, low quality mares who have visited sires who are unfashionable and cheap to get too. 
    • Mick Channon's Hunting Lion whom he stands at his own Stud would be a good example and both the Channon rep Musiara and Bill Turner's Lady Lion are by him. He is an interesting sire in that he has built a solid record with early 5f 2yos and a few of better class from very limited opportunities. Having Channon & Bill Turner handle Carleton, Rileyskeepinfaith & Gone Hunting has helped with that early 5f & 2yo winner record. Gone Hunting & Mary Mason have been the only winners from the sire (who has managed and above average 11 & 20% strike rate in the last 2 years) that Channon has not trained for debut.
    • A big field for an early race at the course and the stands' rail draw bias ought to be a factor. In dry weather periods, with firmer going, this can have a big effect to the point of making your favourite method of weighing up a race subservient to the getting on the rails strip. Study form, dosage indices, rate all the horses in the paddock or whatever the draw bias can reduce those effects to background noise. In open maidens the draw will typically have less effect than in handicaps with more closely matched runners. A horse capable of running to 80 on the day will beat a 55 horses whichever the stall they occupy. But with the fully bias in effect a 65 horse who gets a fast break and the rail is going to present a difficult challenge to an 80 horse running towards centre track. Something to think about when looking back on peculiar results.
    • In handicaps with closely matched runners the draw can be much more important and the bigger the field the more the 'friction' and the impact. If you watch a lot of racing on the all-weather you can find yourself musing about how races would play out if runners were seeded, like with greyhounds. Not for 'Rail & Wide' runners as is dogwise but for Run Styles. Take a 13 runner full field for a 6f race at Wolverhampton and have the pacemakers & pressers seeded to the inside draws, the trackers & midfield horses in the middle draws and the  hold-up horses out wide. All the horses can then slot most easily into their preferred race positions.
    • There is a good argument, if you understand the dynamics, that this would make the races much to predictable and reduce the number of closing wins. Try watching the 'turbulence' (or plain mayhem) in such a full field when the three frantic pacemakers are drawn 11-13 with the others a mix of types inside. As the three pressers try to cross in front of the field to the bend the effort required and the early pace will tell you which f the three types is going to win before the race is 2f old. Remove that mixing and turbulence and the races become easier to solve, in general terms, and you could argue seeding would never happen because it would simplify things so much. How about reverse seeding, pace & pressers widest, but put stalls at an angle with the widest draws closer to the finish. Just an idea, good to get out of the, your, box now and again. Knowing what the turbulence in a mixed race is going to be in advance can cut down the list of possibles greatly but how can you do that? A story for another time.
    • Which brings us to Folkestone and the draw has been very helpful in being able to shortlist horses and discount other. The first pass shortlist of possibles for the win on profile would be Lady Lion (draw 5), Monsieur Chevalier (1), Safari Camp (7), Musiara (2) & Diamond Laura (9) with Diamond Affair (6) a little way back in the gap between the front five on profile and the set who would be surprise winners against the usual trends and would need to be useful to win FTO for their trainers. Which means they make up the bulk of the lower drawn runners. With the horses in stalls 3-4 (Little Perc & Rufus Roughcut) unappealing on profile and likely not to be pressing forward the leaders on profile have a good chance of a clean race between them and the friction generated between them without a lot of external disruption. Granted Diamond Laura is drawn reasonably wide but she is a David Evans 2yo so if she is any good she will be close to first out of the stalls given the well drilled nature of his 2yos. If she doesn't get out quickly and cross towards the rail she probably isn't very good anyway. She has a perfectly usable minor 2yo pedigree and the market will not tell you much about how good, or otherwise, she is.
    • Bill Turner has made a slow start to the season in terms of runners overall and impact. Each year he has between 1-2 juveniles that can win outside seller & claimer level and they will be among the first runners and win or place FTO. He has said his 2yos are behind schedule this year but this may well be code for "I don't have anything I think is above claimer level...". Could It Be Magic ran ok in 6th in the Brocklesby and may be up to an open win on that performance early. Lady Lion was supposed to run in the Kempton race on the same day but sat down in the stalls and was withdrawn. She did not looked tuned up and was 25/1 but in paddock review terms she was a usable early sort like he mother who won STO for the trainer after a place to a Hannon useful one on debut. Given a bit of time to tighten up, a good draw, first string on jockeys, sire fine for the job etc. she looks a good each-way punt in this event. If the trainer is going to have a good debut it will be sooner rather than later.
    • Hannon runs the expensive, in context, Monsieur Chevalier and he has a prime draw if he has enough wit to use it. The trainer has run four to date with one place to show for it FTO. The placed runner has placed since and looked ordinary and Black Daddy has packed it in mentally again (probably what R. Hannon junior was expecting) on his only other STO outing. A pair of debuts by fillies have never been threatening. On one hand this means he may not be well forward with his 2yos. Another reading would be that he hasn't shown us a good, natural, one yet. This race is set up for Monsieur Chevalier to win or place if he is ok and the Market will be a help. Late support as the horses go to the start would be a positive.
    • So, easy then, just need to know what is going to finish third to Lady Lion & Mr Chevalier. Safari Camp is a early runner for Peter Winkworth who was the star of the FTO P&L tracking last year. He doesn't actually get a lot of debut wins but the SPs are always long and perhaps the Market will have caught up to reality a bit in 2009. In general his runners are well prepared for the FTO run and you can judge their overall ability on what they show. The early runners are a mix of competitive 2yos and duff ones. On pedigree this one has an ok chance to be an earlyish sprint 2yo so just need to know how big he is to fill in the detail of how he will compete FTO.
    • Channon's Musiara is also well drawn and by Hunting Lion. He doesn't have his debut runners that well forward so she would need to be a bit better than an OR72 type to win first go. She is also likely to be less value than some of the first 5 on profile. Diamond Laura is dealt with above and should break well and get involved but may well be a small OR50s type who faded somewhere inside the last 2f 
    • Quick mentions of some of the others. Mick Quinlan is another trainer in the Winkworth mould in that he gets regular debut wins and often at longer SPs. Diamond affair is well enough drawn but her overall profile is thin to believe she would be up to winning this. Little Perc is well drawn and trained by Gary Moore & ridden by his champion jockey son so is going to be shorter in the market than his profile warrants. Mr Moore rarely has 2yo runners before May and didn't use to get debut wins until the odd ones with the expensive 2yos for the art dealer Green family. He hasn't run a horse that was a winner as a 2yo before June in the last 5 years. This one is an owner bred out of a stout, moderate, dam and the first runner for new sire Pearl Of Love. On balance more likely to be a small one getting going early for the breeder than a surprise natural.
    • Four trainers with runners are good examples of the interplay between ability & readiness and the impact on debut wins. Stewart Williams (Rufus Roughcut), Johnny Portman (Whip Up), John Jenkins (Papageno) & George Margarson (Our Georgie Girl) are not ready-on-debut trainers and nearly all of their debuts can be safely ignored. But each one has managed a debut winner in recent seasons but it has required a horse capable of rating above OR90 at some stage in it's career to achieve it. With some of them there are clues as to the odd better ones but with others you are on your own in looking at the horses before the race. Mr Williams gives clues via the market in that both his recent debut wins have been supported and started at shorter SPs than his typical 20/1+ range in open maidens. Hogmaneigh & Aldermoor (dual winner last year) have been the high class horses needed to make it happen.
    • With George Margarson the clue to the better debuts is often that they are owned by businessman John Guest. His earliest runners each season, this is early compared to his typical May kick-off, are either useful types or useless. This one not likely to be in the first category. John Jenkins gets 2yo winners when he has an ok type but they tend to be development projects in the Stan Moore manner and breaking maidens on the 5th or 6th go the ticket. His one debut winner was Spitfire who was OR90+ and won three races at 2yo and did ok in Listed events. Papageno is a half brother to Spitfire and the mare has produced five solid winners, mostly Jenkins trained. Drawn in 14 he probably wouldn't win if he were Spitfire's equal but a horse to check for the future.

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