British 2yo Racing - 2009 Season
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Racing Preview - April 27th 
Races :-
  • Windsor 5:25, 5f Fillies' Auction (5)

  •   April 27th Summary : 
    • Going through the profile for the Windsor race showed it to be extremely similar to last year in terms of the trainers represented. Many of those handlers have used the equivalent event many times before to produce a field this year with lots of reference points to the type of 2yos they bring here. We are in early season with few races to date and few valid paths for previous runners to have come on from to this juncture. These factors have led to a very familiar looking race and having re-read last year's Preview B2yoR could almost redirect people to that Preview and the Result (the Preview gave the correct 1st, 2nd & 4th, ahem).
    • To make this preview a bit more interesting the similar structure to the race allows a chance to muse a little about physical types and the sort of fillies trainers bring to this race. The last two runnings have been won by fillies who had run in the females' Maiden race at the important Newmarket Craven meeting in mid-April. The following - Virtual Paddock - shows Affirmatively who won in 2007 and Beat Seven who won last year along with Azif who is in this year's field for Gay Kelleway (trainer of Beat Seven) who finished 5th at Newmarket. 
    • Now, whatever you think your Paddock Review abilities may be it must be close to impossible not to see Affirmatively as a narrow bodied filly, wound tight fit to the point of looking gaunt in early season, and underpowered. Then to take your abilities and see Beat Seven as a more imposing specimen. Affirmatively has never won since that day and was competing off OR50ish over the winter on the AW. Which is what 'failing to train on' presumably means. She had no scope to improve physically from 2-4yo and she has not been able to find a level she can compete at. She has not grown or filled out and has the same 'hat-rack' physique today. Beat Seven improved through her 2yo career to compete well in Listed and Group races and the trainer intends to run her in the 1,000 Guineas and says she has backed her at 100-1. She certainly stood out in the field last year for size and was clearly a 7f+ filly capable of winning early over 5f because she was plain too big & powerful for the nippy, limited, 5f early season types.
    • So what do you think of Miss Kelleway's rep this year with Azif? The paddock guy at Newmarket did not like her and it is easy to see why. She is very small and not particularly powerful. She is a washed out Chestnut colour which can also affect your Paddock response and see the horse as a bit less 'strong' than it actually is. Even with a smallish jockey aboard he looked like he was perched on a pony. On the plus side she has some length to her body and reaches out well and has a mature, let-me-at-them, attitude. She ran much better in the race that the reviewer expected and that either means you have to upgrade her expected performance level or be wary of the race. Today's run will be a good test of both.
    • It can often be useful to take a middle view on the basis that things are never as Good, or Bad, as they look. Azif is clearly a filly with limited development and is not going to be winning the Queen Mary or developing in the way a big lump like Beat Seven did. But, she is competing now as an early season, 5 furlong, filly and she makes the most of what she has. She showed a fast action and real sprinter's snap to her movement on debut. Having attended the pacemaking line of six she hung badly left towards the final furlong but didn't really fade late on as you would have expected. Once balanced she responded and was still going at it as hard as she could to the line. Not a physical type a paddock purist is going to back but respect for her as a 100% trier who takes after her dam rather than her failed sire. Her pace will probably mean she can get prominent wherever she likes and set a good target for the others.
    • The field also has three other fillies with previous outings and all have shown an ok level of form in the context of this race. Anjomarba has presumably shown us all she has after three runs for Bill Turner and her top level rating should not be good enough to win here and she has looked the small & ready type with no progress to make. She led last time after being third through halfway behind two tearaways previously so from a middle draw she should get involved at the front. But, some selection of the others will pull away in the last furlong.
    • On that second outing at Folkestone Anjomarba was just under a length clear of Diamond Laura at halfway and was beaten three lengths at the finish. David Evans has his 2yos well forward on debut so there probably is not a lot of improvement from Diamond Laura. But, she does not need to improve much to compete for the win in this group, if there isn't a high class newcomer, and a similar type to Azif probably. She is better drawn than Azif and showed at Folkestone a willingness to be held up and then finish the race off professionally. If Azif and Anjomarba and perhaps another bubbly enthusiast duel up front you could see her coming out best by tracking them and going on in the final furlong. She represents a better profile than the fillies the trainer has run in the race recently who have been non-winners although he did have a good debut third filly back in 2002.
    • The other STO filly only cost 1,000gns and runs for trainer Stan Moore with Glen Lass. Now, Mr Moore likes to get a bit of meat for his money and does not get horses hard fit the way Mr Evans would. The debuts are normally educational and the horses really do show some improvement to the STO run. Things get a bit flaky after that with the horses never looking particularly fit through a series of runs and finally winning, if they convert the early promise at all, in later season and often a high number of outings. 
    • Looking at her - Picture - from her Newbury debut against colts (with the fillies' race removed from the card this year) you can see she isn't a rabbit despite the sales price. She looked a moderate mover behind at the walk but this did not seem to hamper her too much in the race. In a big field on GS going she was notably professional and 3rd at halfway less than 2 lengths off the winner. She faded going to the final furlong and finished 6th but you can make a good case that she was on the 'Changeover Point' with that placing. Meaning that the horses in front of her were the solid ones with open maiden winner futures and those behind were a mixed bag of types. 
    • Anything that was behind her is going to need an excuse for the performance to win at open race level. One horse in the ruck was Little Perisher who almost won at Brighton yesterday in a low level race. He was ahead of Safari Camp who wasn't that far behind Anjomarba & Diamond Laura at Folkestone. Put all of that together and Glen Lass ought to compete strongly here. One niggle is that her movement behind really will limit her on this faster surface. Runners of this type for the trainer tend to place without winning before going on their quest around the country to get a '1' before their name. Go back through his reps and Lois Darlin (2008) did not win until a 3yo, Miss Versatile placed at 20/1 but a non-winner at 2yo, Hilites was 4th and won on her 9th & 10th goes while Oh So Rosie was 6th and finally won two races in August. As a general pointer look for the stable to come into form in later season to profitable use.
    • Before going onto the newcomers a brief word about the draw at Windsor. For many years a high draw in fields like this was a big advantage and the firmer the going the bigger it was. The first four from this sort of race all having double figures stalls and the winners going clear on the concrete strip near the stands' rail a regular occurrence. In the last two seasons the racecourse have been dividing the straight course in two and effectively railing the stands' rail out so the horses are running in the centre of the track. If there really is a Magic Carpet next to the rail then this means rail runners cannot reach it at some meetings. They will still have the advantage of running less distance on the right-hand dogleg of the straight though.
    • The last two winners have both been drawn low but both were STO runners who got a good break and crossed over to the stands' rail early or just off it. If you look as last year's result (link at top of page) you will see that the best three fillies (OR100+ for the winner across the year, OR88 for the second and OR81 for the 3rd) got to the front regardless of the draw. Class tells if it is present (see Eternal Instinct as the OR88+ winner FTO at Haydock on Saturday). Looking at the 4th+ range last year shows the draw having an effect amongst the more closely matched moderate ones. The 4-7th were non-winners at longer SPs from higher draws while the, mostly moderate, later winners from lower draws formed a midfield ruck. 
    • The race here last week was a full 1 runner affair but the first four were drawn in stalls 1-4 and against the usual bias. The rail was well out so perhaps there is a Magic Carpet effect and railing out lessens the bias a lot. There were other effects going on though with a pace forcing group forming up on the rail which fell apart in later race. This allowed the runners with clear passages in mid track to come through. Two of the first 4 crossed over close to the rail for some portion of the race. The first three home were probably most of the 'Class' of that race as well aside from the bottled up Thomas Baines.
    • The four fillies with experience are spread across the draw but all have shown early pace and you would expect all of them to be able to get close to the rail. No surprise if they made up the first 4 places at halfway and you would expect them to be 4 of the first 5-6 at that point. Between them they should produce enough pressure to get rid of the garbage and incompetents before the intersection. The Class fillies, doing it on size, will be in touch with them in 4-6th and there might be a souped-up natural hidden somewhere to get involved. The pace will stall later in the race and how well the experienced fillies keep on will sort the order out between them. The game is then to see what can plug on into them having been able to keep close enough and travel ok with the pace. [The paddock guy probably has a recurring nightmare where Azif's little legs never stop rattling away like she is in a battery advert. There she is powering past the line two lengths to the good and onward right round the loop and the jockey cannot pull her up......]
    • So, what about the newcomers? Only a couple on profile seem likely to compete for the win. Paul D'Arcy has a set pattern with his 2yos and each year he seems to identify the best of his early fillies and he winds them up for debut. If they are good they can win and place FTO and if they fail to compete then they he probably has not got anything worthwhile at all. The following - PW D'Arcy VP - shows his last two runners in this race along with his equivalent filly in 2007 who won on her early April debut at Warwick (Kylayne) as his first runner of the year. As you can see his record with debut fillies in this race is a win in 2002 and a second last season to Beat Seven. Which means that Lady Pattern as his first runner of 2009 has to be taken seriously. If he has a usable early filly she is probably it and she will be ready for the dance tonight.
    • Richard Hannon has run two in 5 of the last 7 seasons and a single rep in the other 2. Those 12 fillies have managed one win (by Gamble In Gold at 7/1 in 2005) and two 3rds overall. The SPs have typically been in the 6-8/1 range and not really giving a lot away. They have been a wide range of abilities across the season and 5 of the 12 ended the year as maidens. His one debut winner was the best early sprint filly he had that year and ran in 5f Listed races later in line with a FTO indicating a higher class one for the stable. She seems an exception and you characterise many of his recent runners as being 7-8f fillies needing development. His last three fillies to start here in 2007-8 have shown their best form in later season over at least 6f and preferably 7-8f. Looking at this - Hannon VP - of his reps from 2006-8 they are not typical of the shorter, deep fronted sprint types he has a lot of other than perhaps Baltic Belle. She had a go at Group 3 level over 6f but was still running in maidens over 8f at season end and not a sprinter as such.
    • He runs two again this year with Kings Of Leo the first string over Sixpenny Moon. The first of those is better drawn and has a more believable sprint pedigree as well. The latter looks more of a development project. Now, Kings Of Leo will have to be the higher class sprint type to win this first try with a solid bunch of experience in the field. Her sire Compton Place has provided a couple of Group winning 2yos for Hannon but her dam was a slow maiden for Mark Prescott. But she was reasonably well related including to a good Italian juvenile by Compton Place.
    • Trainer Johnny Portman has run a filly on debut in each of the year's 2006-8 and the - JG Portman VP - and as the VP shows a they have all been small and reedy types. The two that have made 4ths in the last two year's have never managed to win. Unlike Mr D'Arcy you can discern a physical type amongst the three fillies in the pictures here. This year he runs Existentialist who has to give weight away being expensive by the field's standards at £19,000. She appears to have a very likeable juvenile pedigree being by Exceed And Excel (debut winner with a bigger filly at Haydock) out of a dam who has produced three winning sprint 2yos plus the high class older sprinter Ratio. That sounds like a better profile than the three little 'uns in the VP. Well drawn she may have a chance to compete well.
    • Nothing else appeals as a likely FTO winner on profile but a few things to note. Walter Swinburn has a surprise 2nd in the race her last week and this was an unusually good debut this early by his standards. Either Monsieur Joe in useful (possible) or perhaps he is a little more forward with his 2yos in 2009. Ice Cool Lady has just an average pedigree for the job and you would want to see a shorter SP incontext (say 10/1ish) to think this might be a better one. Peter Winkworth was the star of the FTO P&L tracking last year and runs Dongola here drawn on the rail. He had the 7th last year in the same race and looking at his record the wins do not seem to start until later May and into June in 2007-8. This one's pedigree and overall profile seems thin to be a good debut for him. Paul Cole does get debut winners but usually with well prepared higher class runners from mid-May onwards. He had the 8th last year with a filly up to winning a seller later and Little Brazilien is well related but cheaply retained at the sales for owner Christopher Wright (Island Records, Stratford Place Stud, etc). On profile another lower grade needing a kick-off point.
    • A surprise if any of the others were hiding strong claims for the day but worth mentioning Lord Fo...., err Hughie Morrison's Six Diamonds because it is such an early start for him. This is a cheap one by Exceed And Excel whose siblings include an ok 2yo sprinter. Mr Morrison doesn't really like 2yo racing and debuts are definitely to be taken easily. Debut wins are very rare and places rare. To give an idea of how rare, and how indicative FTO places for the trainer are of better ability, he has a couple of surprise 3rd places in 6f maidens at Windsor in recent years. There were by Pastoral Pursuits (25/1) and Sakhee's Secret (10/1). They both seem to have made a good career for themselves and his only recent debut winner was Group winner Stimulation. Six Diamonds is going to have to be the next Attraction to figure here.
    • In summary, a solid group of four with experience off bottom weight, who can all get prominent, should put a nice shape to the race. Of these a stalking run by Diamond Laura looks a good idea and Glen Lass a reasonable each way approach if she handles faster going. Azif a test of the Newmarket form. Of the newcomers Lady Pattern is clearly of interest and the best her trainer has in all likelihood. Kings Of Leo will have to be Listed class to win FTO and the market may not be much help in nailing that down. On profile Existentialist looks better than the fillies the trainer has had finish 4-8th range in the last three years (how does she look in review compared to the VP?).

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