VP - For Folkestone (Desert Auction, Pullyourfingerout
& Tom Folan).
VP - Redcar Seller (Ginger Ted, Out The
Ring & Strange Fiction) plus Oondiri in the Auction Race
Pointless Punditry. While watching the VTs through amongst the general
burble came this gem from Ascot. Uber luvvie Mike Cattermole to John Best
(well, he learnt his trade as P-2-P guy didn't he..., as an acquaintance
of B2yoR always used to say at the mention of his name). "Well, this
race always throws up an Ascot 2yo.... two years ago it was won by Winker
Watson who went on to Royal Ascot to win the Coventry or the Norfolk, I
can't remember, which one was it John?", .... "the Coventry wasn't
it?" wavers Mr Best. Oh, my gawd. Winker Watson never ran in the race
and won the Norfolk not the Coventry. Apart from that you were spot on
guys. You are just filling space...... More great stuff from John McCririck
at Windsor on Monday with his thoughts on Monsieur Chevalier's debut &
how it related to Diamond Laura's propects, "..that Folkestone
race was red-hot, there was a backed runner & Mr Chevalier....".
Err no, it wasn't John but keep talking. The Director abhors silence so
say something. Diamond Laura ran well but was chinned in a low quality
race at Windsor. The others from the Folkestone race she ran in FTO = 4th
entered in a seller today, 5th beaten at Brighton, 7th won a claimer..
etc. Trying to reduce what was going on in that Folkestone race in a phrase
like 'Red Hot' is ludicrous.
Now, someone like Cattermole is self employed and has about 15 jobs split
between C4, ATR, different racecourses, columns and so on. How much time
as he travels around the country does he spend thinking about what is really
happening and doing some original thinking and analysis. How can he when
he is also trying to be an expert on every horse in training in
both codes over every distance. It is impossible. No wonder he has such
a gossamer grasp of the actualite. Just drop back on crutches like class
dropping, always come on for a run and the like.
Mr Best isn't the best person to have as an analyst either because he has
two full-time jobs already and doesn't follow racing fully. You are better
off with an anorak. He isn't even that useful for the 'horses & training'
bit. A later race for older horses & Laa Rayb seems to have sweated
up badly and looks very "wet", technically speaking. Mr Best says
"Not sure whether he has been sponged off under the rug but a worry
as he is sweating up". Cobblers, John. With the greatest respect, of
The curmudgeonly Mark Johnston likes to be his own man and try new things.
For the last couple of seasons he has washed down the majority of his runners
in the pre-parade ring on sunny days and then put 'cooler' rugs on them
(i.e. the rugs full of holes like a net). For the people employed to look
at horses on the course to mark them for fitness, coat quality, etc. this
is a real problem. But, it has nothing to do with sweating per se.
It is Mr Johnston, with his Vet's background, trying a different approach
to pre-race preparation. Rather than sitting there punditising about why
Laa Rayb is sweating try asking Mr Johnston, or his more approachable wife,
or one of the Scots lads he employs to lead the horses up (why are so many
of them Scottish? Baffling, isn't it) what the thinking is here. Rather
than doing the two-blokes-in-a-pub routine trying to remember whether Yeats
won the Derby or the Supersprint?, Or both? Or neither..... and anyway,
which Yeats are we talking about, the writer? Please stop.
Hang on though, another bit of failing to think through the implications
from Cattermole. Here we are, he says, small fields for all the high class
races and then we have a 20+ field for the 0-85 handicap. What are you
thinking, like that is a surprise? That is as daft as asking why there
are only two men 6' 4'' in the room while most of them are 5' 8'' to 5'
10''. There aren't lots of horses high class horses Mike, there are a lot
more average ones... which is why they are average.
A more average day of races after some better better class events on the
previous days. With many more 5' 8'' and belows than 6' 4'' superstars
but they cannot all be 'Worldbeaters' after all. Only a month into
the season but some of the horses with some sort of promise in the earliest
races are settling in their moderate groove. The Folkestone Class 6
Auction race contains two horses than ran on the first day of the season.
Desert Auction looked to be the second string to Black Daddy at
Kempton and finished a competent looking third behind Star Rover. The winner
- Star Rover - has won twice since and will probably top out in the Lily
Agnes before finding better quality 2yos too much of an obstacle in Listed+
The well back runner-up was John Fretwell's Out The Ring and he has been
dropped to the Redcar seller today after a moderate run behind Archers
Road. Mr Fretwell is not interested in milking sellers & claimers
and Out The Ring is proving to be the OR60s type he looked at Kempton.
Desert Auction has managed a place next time out and five of the horses
behind him at Kempton have run six times for a single, weak, place. The
one exception has been Red Avalanche who looked the biggest, and best,
type at Kempton but too stupid to compete. Desert Auction ran behind Shark
Man STO and that horse has just defeated some small, limited, fillies (both
beaten since) at Wolverhampton to 'frank' that form. Hannon horses tend
to show you most of what they can do in there first two runs and Desert
Auction is probably an OR68 type. He will be reliable and set a standard
but an unexciting one and not a taking profile.
Tom Folan finished ahead of Bould Mover here on her debut and to
a similar level of form as when Desert Auction beat him at Kempton. She
was driven at Beverley last time to press the leader from a lower draw
and faded later in a weak race and to a lower form level. The second from
that race was beaten at Ripon & the 6th in a Thirsk Claimer to add
to the feeling of moderate from from those with previous runs. She will
presumably be held up for a finish again today and receiving 9lbs from
Desert Auction it should be a close call between them.
At least they will probably run to their levels in an orderly fashion and
the race conditions & tactics will make the difference. Pullyourfingerout
ran in the Brocklesby and finished a reasonable eight. The 7th & 9th
have both won weak races since so this one ought to have a chance to progress?
Looking at the VP for the race you can see that PYFO looks fine in comparison
to the other two. Desert Auction is short & front heavy and Tom Folan
is narrow bodied with some length, moves ok but lack power. PYFO is a taller
model and nicely fit is lacking some length and a bit fizzy in attitude.
With a different trainer you might forget his fade at Newbury STO and think
he might compete well here. But Brendan Powell has not had a 2yo winner
and experience over many seasons has shown that expecting his ok looking
types to progress and win when they should just does not work.
Who might be the best of the newcomers to save the tricky choice between
Desert Auction (slightly preferred) & Tom Folan? Angie's Nap
runs for Ed Dunlop for the Findlay owners team. The trainer rarely has
debuts this early and they are usually competitive 2yos when he does that
peak STO. They also normally place FTO. This one is by the US sire Lion
Heart who did no good with his first runners in Britain last year and does
not appeal as a 5f producer. The dam has produced a range of ordinary,
but indestructible, winners in the US. Drawn widest he would probably finish
about third and not be value with the 'Major Newmarket Stable' tag for
the trainer although he has just an average record with 2yos.
The other two newcomers are from smaller stables who do get debut winners
with 2yos. Peter Winkworth was back on the FTO winner trail at Bath on
Tuesday with the earliest debut success in a season he has had. In the
past his debut winners have won at 33/1 and the like and the Market knew
nothing about which were the good ones. Raine's Cross was punted from 14/1
to 9/2jf before his comfortable success to mark a departure from the normal
pattern. He runs Safari Special here who cost just £5,000
and is a sibling of a range of 5f 2yo winners of varying quality, mostly
for Cheveley Park Stud. Some of those have been cheap and small ones that
were usable at lower levels & precocious. On profile this one comes
up short to win this FTO but it ought to be competent and interesting to
see what the Market makes of it. The win for Raine's Cross will probably
drive his price shorter than it should be whatever quality he is.
Which brings us to the most interesting newcomer and the one with the profile
to win this first go. Mick Quinlan was included in the FTO P&L tracking
for 2008 for the May-June period so this race is a day too early, but hey,
many stables are ahead this year. He did have one debut winner in that
period in 2008 and it was on May 1st, and in this race with the Queen Mary
victress Langs Lash. The trainer has had a couple of other good debuts
at the course in recent seasons including a 40/1 winner. Last Orders
is owned by Liam Mulryan and an important owner for the trainer, and for
Mick Channon. This ne is by Bertolini from a 7f dam who has not produced
anything worthwhile yet but the €25,000 yearling price is ok in that
context. A big run first time more likely than unlikely and the Market
should know if this one is any good. Worth noting that the trainer has
already had a supported filly fail at the course this year by running too
freely but we are now coming into his best period.
A quick aside about Kaspirit who you may recall is trainer by the,
err, mercurial Michael Wigham and probably for an old mate. In typical
trainer style the smoke-n-mirrors bit has started with this one a non-runner
in a seller and a Ripon auction already. Probably nothing going on but
why the seller declaration at all? Can't be misdirection for the Market,
In summary, moderate to average OR60s types in the runners with placed
form and setting a moderate standard. The Class 6 billing means they will
be unlucky to run into a 'Langs Lash' but even a competent OR79er would
be too much for them. Safari Special & Angie's Nap come up a bit short
of a peak Desert Auction but Last Orders may well be better.
An apparently simple story at Yarmouth with Thomas Baines opposed
by two better looking newcomers and four weaker ones that should not get
involved. He was the horse that Jamie Spencer was 'unlucky' on at Windsor
and finished 7th when blocked in late on his second outing. He was going
well and clearly could have finished at least second. He ought to be at
least as good as Farmer Giles who improved a lot STO for connections to
just lose to King's Approach at Windsor. He should set a decent standard
here but there are a couple of niggles. The defeat of the 3rd at Windsor
two days at Nottingham was very tame and he drifted in the market. He might
not have handled the easier ground but he looked a lesser type in that
group. If you go back and look at the - Result
- at Windsor you look at the moderate types just behind Pintura and you
could easily conclude that the first two are ok and were made to look better
because of the poor quality behind. Thomas Baines is clearly better but
he was running with moderate horses at Windsor. It will also be interesting
to see how he is ridden here. There is no obvious pacemaker and the trainer
& jockey appear not to trust him to make his own pace. A chance for
him to be unlucky in a slower race with a let race sprint.
The only real competitor would look to be Tiradito for Marco
Botti. He is by the US sire Tale Of The Cat who has had the odd 5f 2yo
here but with just average support for 5f zip from the dam. An ok pedigree
without shouting early 5f. Mr Botti is in his 4th season in Britain and
he appears to have subtly adapted his approach through the previous three.
In his first two years the debut runners were strongly primed and all three
of his winning 2yos in 2006-7 won on their debuts. They included his first
or second runner in both years. He seemed to be a classic 'Show or Nothing'
trainer where an unplaced FTO run meant they were no good.
Last year he did not have a debut winner from 13 horses and his STO record
went to 4 from 11. This meant his P&L went from double figure profits
for debuts in 2006-7 to a double figure profit for STO runs. A good trainer
changing his approach or just being a little behind with his early runners
in 2008? The first eight debuts last year produced 6 places and two fourths
so he clearly has not turned into Tim Easterby and the FTO horses can get
involved. Perhaps he lacked a high class horse last year to turn a placed
debut into a win? Whatever, Tiradito will be a good chance to assess what
this year is going to bring and a strong challenger to Thomas Baines if
he is a bit more wound up or superior.
Mr Botti mostly convinces as a good trainer who is improving whereas Clive
Brittain has never been particularly convincing. His record with 2yos in
recent years is moderate and typically he only gets wins with his very
best horses including the odd later season FTO success. The 2008 season
was typical with just 2 winners from 14 runners by Nashmiah & Al Sabaheya
(i.e., the best two). He runs Misheer who is an expensive son of
good sire Oasis Dream out of a well related 5f 2yo dam. The sire was not
a precocious 2yo and fooled John Gosden into running him over 8f before
flowering into the high class sprinter in later season. His record with
two crops of 2yos show the wins starting from mid-June except for the nippy
Starlit Sands. Given that the early runners for the trainer need to develop
with racing his profile says a high-class 2yo that the trainer will bumble
about with and he may well blossom in later season. He will probably run
in a Group race as a maiden and display all the usual niggles about the
trainer's approach. A four length third here getting the hang of it late
on would be the usual result.
In summary, the ticking from Thomas Baines is almost audible to Jamie and
even if he wins it surely will not be smoothly done and a worrying scramble
in some form. Hopefully he is as good as they say and wins comfortably
but you wouldn't want to be backing that at short odds. Tiradito looks
the only alternative.
Two races at Redcar and the Auction race has been won by a runner
with experience in each year it has been run since 2002. Going back to
the thoughts about how 'difficult' a course is and how well newcomers do
then Redcar is the opposite of Brighton. No bends, hills or cambers just
a flat, and fast, 5f. So how do newcomers fare overall? Since 2002 there
have been 8 x FTO wins at Redcar over 5f in 44 races at a good 18% strike
rate. The SPs have been remarkably long overall and those eight wins
have produced a near 100% profit over the 44 bets.
That does not tell the whole story though because the 8 debut winners contain
a good deal of the better quality that has run at the course. 7 of the
8 have rated OR80+ during the year (the other peaked at OR78) and half
got to OR90+. So, what we actually have is horses winning FTO because they
are high class rather than the course being easy? Or both? A good question
is why horses of that quality were at longish odds overall. That perhaps
explains the less good record of FTO horses in this race. It is just at
the start of the period when some better newcomers might be coming out
from bigger stables but doesn't seem to be targeted by the best of them.
This race seems to revolve around how good Lady Lube Rye is in relation
to the newcomers from the bigger northern yards. Her run at Doncaster was
a solid effort at this level and she kept on nearly as well as My Mandy
of the pacesetters. That filly ran well at Haydock over last weekend to
add some substance to that view. She seems a solid profile for the race
and to set a good standard. She would be decent value assuming one of the
bigger stable's newcomers seem more attractive to the Market.
On profile Countrywide Ice looks an unlikely type to be a better
debut for Kevin Ryan. He cost just €6,000 and while by an ok sire
in Verglas from a stouter unraced mare. The stable's FTO wins tend to come
with the better quality types because he leaves his 2yos consistently short
of full fitness FTO. On balance he seems likely to be poor value and opposable.
To repeat the point about Karl Burke his form period with 2yos starts in
late May and that is when the FTO wins tend to come along. He is currently
starting out a batch of runners who will become part of the STO & 3TO
winners in that form wave. Arctic Destiny is topweighted in this
auction race and the 'Class' of the field but at 9,000 guineas he is not
expensive. A solid pedigree to be a minor 2yo winner but no a debut one
by normal standards. The trainer nearly had a debut winner in a similar
fillies' auction last Saturday but the way that race played out makes the
point about his FTO runners. Forbidden Pleasure got beaten in a photo but
she was miles back at halfway and floundering and only got so close a at
the finish because the little girls up front had worn themselves out duelling.
So, another he does not have the class or readiness to beat a decent form
horse first go.
David Nicholls is more worrying if you support Lady Lube Rye because he
has his 2yos more forward than the other pair these days. His first runner
of the season was Mister Manannan who placed well in a tough race FTO and
then ran away with the good Pontefract maiden yesterday. Johnnyleary
only cost £6,000 but is by the elderly and under-appreciated sire
Fayruz. He gets very few mares these days but most of his 2yos win at some
point and he has a good record on early outings.
In summary, Lady Lube Rye seems a solid STO runner and better than Ignatieff
assuming that one's poor fade last time was indicative of his full ability.
Oondiri appeared to run well for a long way on debut from a bad draw. However,
the VP shows a limited athlete and perhaps reflects more on the race quality
at Beverley (a bit worrying for Tom Folan supporters). The newcomers will
need to be high OR70s types of ordinary preps to give weight away first
go and Countrywide Ice seems poor value and Johnnyleary more interesting.
The Seller on the card completes the story of how things have gone
south for a number of horses since early season. Out The Ring has
gone from well backed newcomer in a Class 4 maiden for a major trainer
and the owner on course with his entourage to disposable plater in a month.
He comes out top on profile even with his debut run downgraded. His surrender
at Newcastle was such that you would want a bit of reassurance his attitude
was facing somewhere in the right direction to support him.
After Musiara had made her debut 4th at Folkestone (in Big Mac's
'Red Hot' maiden) she was entered for the Conditions race at Newmarket's
Craven meeting. Two weeks later and an early fader behind Lady Lube Rye
later and Mr Channon would not mind seeing her go. On the evidence to date
Out The Ring has a bit more pace and upside (on polytrack though) but not
a taking pair.
Ginger Ted is in the seller he always looked destined for and his
sort of race but only a couple of days after he last ran. He hasn't hinted
at the pace for a faster 5f to date and perhaps needs a bit more development
time. Of more interest against the favourites would be Blue Rum
who showed pace on a similar track FTO before fading. His trainer is a
peak STO type so he should be much better here.
And finally, we go back to David Nicholls. In the last two seasons he has
run three horses on debut in sellers with 2008 yielding a 16/1 winner and
a 14/1 2nd. Both of those horses went on to win above Seller level (Auction
& Nursery events). In 2007 his seller deb was 5th of 10 and then placed
2nd in a similar race 6 days later. He gets debut winners this time of
year and the previous race will give a clue to his 2yos forwardness with
Johnnyleary's effort. Which all makes Lairy, by an ok 5f sire out
of a stout dam, of some interest. More so than nibbling away at Out The
Ring at some short price.