Virtual Paddock - Catterick (Agent
Boo, Amoureuse & Mr Smithson)
A single race at Catterick's evening meeting on Tuesday before three
on Wednesday including the 'Lily Agnes' stakes at Chester. A bigger field
than usual with 12 declared for a Class 6 Auction. The lower level event
meaning that the sales prices of the runners is limited to a relatively
cheap level. The topweighted colt (carries 8-13) cost just £15,000
as a 2yo and the most expensive filly (8-8) cost £500 more. The race
tends to need a performance barely above seller winner level (i.e. OR62ish)
to win. Last year's six runners managed one later win between them with
the 5th winning a late season nursery off a basement OR53 rating.
2007 was a bit better with the 2nd-4th all competing solidly in northern
nurseries between OR63-70 later although the second only won a claimer
at best. In 2006 the field of 8 produced 3 later winners with the 3rd &
4th ending up rated in the OR67-72 range and the second remained a maiden
as her mark went from OR73 down to 59 by season end. Hidden back in that
field was a southern stable's runner that managed to win off OR80 with
development and the only runner up to winning an average open maiden in
the time. This year's race is an all 'Northern' affair with just the odd
hint on profile of something that might rate above OR70. In short not a
race to look to have much future relevance. It this field contained a few
usable OR60s types that can compete in moderate nurseries, sellers &
similar northern auction events it would be an above average return.
In line with the previous thoughts on 'Run Styles' the downhill 5f at Catterick
is helpful to pacemakers and pressers so long as they do not go too hard.
A 'Closer' coming from 2-3 lengths back would be the normal maximum and
that would probably need some help from the pace being too stiff to soften
up the front-runners. A superior type in context could probably pick up
a bit over 2 lengths without assistance. Fine margins if you think about
horses get well back in this field because of slow breaks and inexperience.
Also something to be wary of if you are a jockey who likes to survey the
field from out back. Try muttering "Stalk & Pounce" to yourself as
you walk to the Parade Ring.
If you look at the results for the 23 juvenile races run at the course
since 2004 in with more than 8 runners the results are :-
5 Drawn 1 (Far Rail) - Four of those Front Ran and the other tracked the
forcing pacemaker in second
1 winner from stalls 2-4 with a Draw 3 success, in the first three at halfway.
2 wins for Draw 5 with one front-runner & one presser in second at
11 wins for draws 6-8 and a mix of Run Styles but more of the tracking
1-3 lengths off leader types. Also a mix of going types. The field
will often run mid track and the wider draws go stand's on Soft going.
4 wins for draws 9-12. Three of those on softer going although at least
two were pacemaker types on the far side. Three of the four higher class
then the OR65-72 range that would often be the 'Class' of this sort of
More work required to unpick precisely what is going on but hints of a
common theme with Draws & Run Styles interaction. If the track is running
fast then front-running from the best draw (1) works well. A 'Hole' in
the draws 2-4 range whereby they will be sucked into pace battles they
cannot win from rail runners in fast conditions and will fade along with
the pace forcer(s) when they fold. When the pace is not holding up the
second rank Stalk & Pouncers (within 1-3 lengths) are best placed to
pick up the pieces. For a Powerball the most efficient use of energy in
the start-up phase is to slot into a position in line with how many horses
you are off the rail. The apparent bulge with winners drawn 6-8 in big
fields rather than 4-6, which sounds like the best place to start to slot
into a Stalk & Pouncer, may well indicate how the downhill nature of
the track forces runners into over-racing. Which makes it easiest for draws
6-8 to drop into the S&P spot. The usual caveat here about small samples
sizes so this is the theory rather rather proven truth.
The wide drawn runners are oddities and one of them was Turn On The Style
(OR100+ rater these days) and Miesko (OR90+ at peak) and you suspect they
just chewed up the Catterick rabbits on their plate. Soft ground a possible
explanation for one of the others. If the ground is soft for this race
then put this discussion to one side to return to later in the season.
Either way, interesting to look at how this race plays out.
The draws for the runners in the race tomorrow make the discussion above
relevant. The three runners with previous form towards the top of the profile
are Duchess Dora (just top but drawn 10), Dancing Freddy
(3) & Mr Smithson (1). The top newcomer is Belle Eponine
(9) and after a gap the second is Bluie (11). So, a low & high
draw split between the runners at the upper end of the profile.
Dancing Freddy was drawn on the rail FTO and made a stiff pace for a moderate
group and a length clear at halfway. After going around the bend at Wolverhampton
he led until the final furlong when he started to run out of Power and
the outpaced Shark Man (on 3TO) plugged on for a lucky win. Although not
on the rail he has a good spot to bounce out and lead on the rail again.
If the track is favouring the pacemakers to get home you then have to judge
whether he can get home. Travelling around a bend last time slows the horse
down and gives some respite which the straight course here will not have.
A good question is how much competition is he likely to have for the lead
and how many others might try to press the front rank?
Mr Smithson finished second on debut by skulking around at the back of
a field of six then picking of the faders to be runner-up while never having
got into the race. The B2yoR estimate given to that effort had a '?' next
to it from day one and the Beverley effort suggested it was well below
that level. He had the worst of the draw at Beverley in stall one and made
it much worse by breaking away from the others from his wide draw and further
down the slope. His jockey panicked a bit and bustled him along to recover
quickly and he got from last of 13 to around 7th after a furlong. Four
lengths down at halfway he could not make any ground and dropped back to
eighth as he faded inside the final furlong. The paddock review on the
day confirmed the original estimate as too high and a usable lower OR60s
type. He is on the rail here so cannot go left but has not shown the pace
or nous to get involved in either run. You suspect he will get an insistent
ride today and attend the pace but have to drop in behind Dancing Freddy
Drawn 2 is an £800 newcomer filly for Alan McCabe called London
Girl. The trainer has had his 2yos ready & competent in 209 so
she should try to get involved but probably be a bit underpowered. STO
Agent Boo is in stall 4 and he was ahead of Mr Smithson in 5th at
halfway but faded badly. The fittest in that field despite being on debut
although one of the mentally immature ones an perhaps an OR58 type. Another
who could try to get involved in the low draw pace on the rails but a bit
light on basic oomph overall. Drawn 5 is Alan Berry's Another Sold
and his debuts this early can be widely variable. Three of the four have
racked up separately :-
Gave trouble loading and lost 2 lengths at the start, 4th of 7 at halfway
but 6 lengths adrift,
Broke slowly, did not pick up and adrift before the end of the first furlong,
Bucked for two furlongs to post with the jockey managing to stay on somehow.
Which means the best you might hope for is that Another Sold does not get
in the way. As an aside, it is this sort of nonsense from Berry's early
debut runners that means you take notice when one appears to show some
promise. The one competent debut came from Goodye Earl (a filly) at 100/1
behind Eternal Instinct at Haydock. She looked a bit fiery at times but
with some natural pace. Given that the trainer likes to have a runner in
the Lily Agnes it is not a great surprise to see Goodbye Earl declared
for that. She has also won the Chester draw lottery with stall 1 and probably
has a bit more zip than the Market will give her credit for.
The runners in the, theoretically, most efficient draw for S&P work
are a mixed bag. Tilly's Tale looked tiny & limited on debut
although she gave it her best go to get to 5th adrift of the 3 solid types
and just behind a filly that has won since (who had bungled the break badly).
A competent little trier on profile but lacking the basic power to win.
Newcomer Countrymans Dream has a pedigree that says 5f is the wrong
trip and the trainer's first runner of the season did nothing to suggest
he has his string more forward this year. He does get the odd long priced
debut success but this one lacks the positives to back up his efficient
Amoureuse is another small filly that was 100/1 FTO and was adrift
at halfway in a quick race after a poor break and pick-up. Her pedigree
is a mix of early 5f (dam) and need more time and 6f+ (sire). On paddock
review she is in the right type of race but penalised 4lbs for her sales
price does not look a strong candidate to step forward from debut. Another
aside. After Sheka had been the first 2yo winner of the year for him (his
second ever) and got him off the 'Cold Trainers' list Mr McInnes put the
blame squarely on the rest of us for his lack of winners. The reasoning
being that he was a good trainer with lots of good horses but they were
unsuitable for the type of races the BHA race planning people put on (planned
for customer enjoyment supposedly). He had therefore had to go and buy
some 2yos for this season to get winners. We are all very sorry for putting
you to such trouble Mr McInnes, please accept our apologies and here's
to a win for Amoureuse in your new role as the 'David Loder of the North'.
We are now into the 9+ draws and feeling a bit edgy that they will need
to have a bit extra than a OR68 type to win or soft ground or something.
Duchess Dora runs for John Quinn whose record with 2yos has declined
in recent years and you suspect he does not put much emphasis on juveniles.
He gets a couple of winners each year and the earliest runner will usually
be one of them and often win STO. Which means Duchess Dora has plenty of
circumstantial positives to add to a reasonable debut when she was backed
from 13/2 to 3/1. She did not look ready for that debut in line with the
trainer's normal methods of peaking for the second run. She showed enough
nous to be third throughout before losing ground late on to two fillies
who could win this race. A strong profile with normal development.
She is joined in the outside boxes by three interesting newcomers. Bluie
runs for David Nicholls who has not really convinced with his runner so
far this year that he has them that ready for debut. He should get some
strong debuts soon but this one has just an average profile in context
to go with a wide draw. Eoghan O'Neill has his first 2yo runners of the
season with Belle Eponine. The trainer has made a profit with FTO
runners in three of the last four years and debuts are usually competent.
He had less 2yos and less quality in 2008 following his split from John
Fretwell's salaried trainer post but still had a couple of FTO wins and
a long priced one to make the profit. The debut wins tend to come in batches
of better debuts with the first of this often in mid to late May. This
is a bit early and Belle Eponine has just a minor 5f 2yo pedigree but respect
overall for Mr O'Neill means we should check her in review and how she
Here is one of those 'Stat' nuggets that you do not know what to do with.
Geraldine Rees has a 100% strike rate with her runners in May. That is
two winners from two runs at SPs of 7/1 (FTO) & 33/1 (STO). She has
also had a 100/1 debut success in 2007. The background being that Mrs Rees
prepares her horses well for debut and the Market does not take her seriously.
When she has a good one they often show a lot of the ability FTO and most
by STO. Regardless is by a sire (Reset) who made little impact in
his first season in 2008 but out of a 5f 2yo dam from a host siblings by
Komaite who raced for Capt Wilson & Mrs Rees. With a better draw she
would be on the 'Vague Lurker' list for review.
In summary, 'Paralysis by Analysis' is a useful phrase taken to mean you
start looking at so many angles and stats and ideas that you cannot come
to a conclusion on the race. Taking the draw out of the thinking for a
moment and thinking about the horses would lead to this early summing up.
Mr Smithson should run better but has not convinced with his basic pace
and finish last time so pass over. Agent Boo's tame surrender FTO did not
make him look one to follow. Dancing Freddy runs for a Freddy, err, 'Ready
FTO' handler and may have little improvement. But he showed enough FTO
to compete well here so long as the course lets him see the 5f out (check
how soft the going is). The best overall profile for a step forward STO
is Duchess Dora and pretty happy to support her if she looks more ready
STO. Most interested in Belle Eponine of the newcomers with Regardless
as the sort of long-shot FTO profile to be a value lurker in the long term.
Put the Draw back into the deal and the screen has gone blank, paralysed
probably. Dancing Freddy pops up as the most likely with a draw to match
his Run Style but will he see 5f out in these conditions? The Theory says
that Duchess Dora & the two interesting newcomers have little chance
from their draws without some help from better ability, conditions or a
frantic pace. The best drawn three have thin profiles if you feel like
playing the 'Efficiency' game. The Paralysis coming because the various
filters are not finding a consistent set of qualifiers with each filter.
If Duchess Dora was in stall 6 with a guaranteed S&P trip behind a
pressing Line-of-3 pacemakers who will fold you might be pretty interested.
Hmm, you might be tempted to use it as a test case unless something good
turns up from the paddock guy. A race result to look at against the Theory
to see what can be learnt for later.