British 2yo Racing - 2009 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - May 5th 
Races :-
  • Catterick 6:05, 5f Auction (6)

  •   May 5th Summary : 
    •  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 halfway.
      • 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 field.
    • 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 at best.
    • 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 draw. 
    • 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 performs.
    • 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.

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