British 2yo Racing - 2009 Season
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Racing Previews Results

Racing Preview - May 17th 
Races :-
  • Ripon 2:10, 6f Maiden (5)
  • Ripon 2:40, 6f Seller (6)

  •   May 17th Summary : 
    • Virtual Paddock = Newbury 15th May, 6f Maiden Div I
    • VP = Newbury 15th May, 5.1f Fillies Conditions
    • VP = Newbury 15th May, 6f Maiden Div II
    • ============
    • Some interesting FTO winners in the last couple of days and worth a short reprise on where we are with them. Every time a 2yo race is won by a horse with a previous run the pundit will tell you that it is worth 5-10lbs or whatever so they are suggesting 2-4 lengths of advantage. If you watch the starts of races and the high percentage of ground lost there then that makes sense to some extent. Many races have formed up with the possible winners in the leading line or just behind early on and those tardy starts will make the difference. But, FTO naturals do exist in some numbers or with enough quality to overcome losses. The 6f event also mean that horses may be able to come from further off the pace.
    • To the end of yesterday there had been 91 juvenile races this year and 32 of them had been won by newcomers. That is 35% of races (i.e. not Strike Rate by runs) and a typical figure for this time of year. The FTO success rate by races won declines through the season to be around 9-14% in the last three months and an average over the season of 20% as a maximum. Now, FTO winners are not random and the same sources make up the majority of them each year which is why FTO tracking can be profitable. The table below summarises the trainers who have had FTO wins to date.
    Trainer FTO Wins Notes
    Alan Bailey 1 Win for It's Alright at Newmarket with his first runner. Debut wins in 2008 for his first two runners of the season at the same meeting in early April
    David Barron 1 Support for a lot of his debuts who have not won. One success by a bigger, daft, one at 18/1 in a low quality seller. Trainer gets regular FTO wins and has had at least one in 11 of the last 14 seasons.
    Marco Botti 1 2008 FTO P&L tracking rep. Debut wins for all his winners in first two years with licence. None last year but a profit with STOs. Looked similar in 2009 until Electric Feel won at 15/2 backed from 25/1 two days ago.
    Simon Callaghan 1 No debut wins in 2008 when he took over from his father who got FTO successes with OR90+ horses. Got a win with a filly in a poor race and she has run in a Listed race since but not looked better class. More a soft race accident than a better type.
    Mick Channon 3 Usual early season AW winner at Lingfield and then two in late April batch for owner Jaber Abdullah (as so many are). At the start of his period to show us some high class ready ones which will win FTO in mid May. Some hints of this with Tawaab, Tislaam, Kalam Daleel, Ailsa Carmel & Gallic Star in the last few days but none up to winning FTO. Next debut is Trelawny Wells at Bath on Monday.
    Paul Cole 1 Tends to get debut wins either with OR95+ types at major courses or odd accidents with OR75-85 at lesser ones. Supported debut win for No Hubris at York typical of first type.
    Robert Cowell 1 Runs few 2yos but gets regular strong debuts and wins on fullish preparation at home. Strong win for High Spice as an early season filly a normal tactic for him.
    Tom Dascombe 4 The biggest change as he develops his style and has more, and better quality, 2yos. The infrastructure he has now means he can prepare more fully at home and the debut winners have all led or been close to the pace from the start (no lost ground early). Trainer spends a lot of time talking about Strike Rates and does not like wasting runs. The improvement in FTO ratio fits with that and we should expect him to perhaps double his total so far by season end, at least.
    Pat Eddery 1 The opposite to Dascombe in that Heart Of Fire's Brocklesby win was just the result of a single, very natural, horse rather than any trend starting. Big gap to second runner and ordinary non-competitive debuts since.
    David Evans 2 Two absolutely typical early season debuts wins with his best 2yo and a well prepared seller runner. He normally shows one other strong debut in May so we should be looking for that.
    Richard Fahey 1 FTO P&L tracking in 2008 and a big profit. Early 5f debuts not good and trainer said his horses had not been able to get onto grass before they ran because of firm ground. Debuts in the last few days have been better with Flying Statesman 2nd at York (6f) and Trinder a good 2nd at Hamilton (5f). Normal service resumed when On The Bounty won the Auction race at Doncaster last evening in a race he had won with a debut runner in 2008.
    Jim Goldie 1 Rare FTO wins and normally indicate a high class horse. In that context Eternal Instinct's bad run in the Marygate a puzzle. She ought to be better than that.
    Richard Hannon 2 Relaxed debuts means he gets the FTO wins with his best 2yos. Two so far from Monsieur Chevalier in early season at Folkestone (regular occurrence) & by Canford Cliffs on Friday looking like his Coventry contender. Unless Monsieur Chevalier is but he runs in the 5f conditions race at Windsor on Monday suggesting he might go to the Norfolk Stakes.
    Pat Haslam 1 Did not have a debut winner for 10 years until 3 in 2003-4 but two were by horses that up to winning at Group level. Only wins since in 2007 with OR85-90 types. Horses looked below normal readiness in early season but got a FTO success with Novay Essjay who has been beaten since & not looked better class. Perhaps just a natural in a race that fell apart when he won. But, the son (Ben) takes more of a role with the 2yos these days so perhaps some change in approach.
    Mark Johnston 1 FTO strike rate for trainer runs at 10-15% each year due to plain high quality he has and often running in lesser Northern races. His win was with a solid type in a race that fell apart.
    Alan McCabe 1 First FTO win this year with Fratellino whose later efforts have shown him to be a natural in a moderate race FTO. Trainer's debuts have been to a higher standard of preparation overall.
    Phil McEntee 1 First FTO win with Black Baccara in early season. But, has a 'David Evans' type approach with his limited numbers of horses and his early debuts are the fittest in the field. The lack of FTO wins matches the poor quality he has with most of his small number of runners.
    Johnny Portman 1 Deja vu, all over again. A relaxed, old public school trainer who did not do strong debuts and more a 'Peak 3TO' type. Hints of fuller preparation in recent seasons. This peaked in 2008 when Baycat won at 33/1 in early season at Newbury on a foul wet day. Incredibly fit for the day and did not progress. 
     Had a 16/1 winner at Newbury on a filthy wet day with the fittest horse, by a long way, in the field.
    John Quinn 1 Used to get debut wins with high class horses but none for 4 years as he took less interest in 2yo racing. Win FTO this year in a soft race from a filly beaten next time in a seller (one of three open maidens in the North won by seller quality fillies this year = preparation over quality).
    Bryan Smart 1 Got early win with his first runner. Normally gets batch of debut wins in May to June and had his first runner in that batch yesterday. (4th in a poor race from a wider draw).
    Linda Stubbs 1 Good trainer who does not target debut wins and normally needs a weak race to get the odd accident. 25/1 FTO win this year a major example of this with Pycian 15 lengths adrift at halfway in a race with a strong, multi-way, pace that fell apart. Not a 'preparation' FTO win given he looked clueless and scrubbed along through halfway.
    Raine's Cross 1 FTO P&L tracking star who used to get regular long priced debut wins. This year's success earlier than normal and backed to a lower SP and a change from his normal approach.
    • =====================
    • Which brings us to the Ripon 6f Maiden which has not been divided and a terrific 18 runner field for the Paddock types to do in 15 minutes flat. Best of British. On the plus side a wide variety of physical types likely to be on show to allow the better ones to stand out that much more easily. In general the race has a mixed field but often a good winner that goes on to Listed races and/or Royal Ascot. Last year Mark Johnston won it (a regular occurrence) with Harwalla who had a lot of goes in better races for no worthwhile results. In 2007 Pat Haslam had one of his debut winners with Bespoke Boy in one division and he placed in the Listed Woodcote Stakes and ran in a Group race. In 2006 the winner ran in several Group races including the Racing Post Trophy. And, so it goes on with the 2002 winner a Michael Jarvis wind-up that won by miles (Saabeeh) who started favourite for the Coventry with a Mark Johnston trained Group winner in 4th.
    • However, this year's field lacks a high class entry from the southern stables and, with nothing from Mark Johnston, does not appear to have much strength from those in the North either. Hard to see any in this field making an impact in better quality races unless the best of the newcomers is better than their profile promises. The two horses with the best form are similar smaller types who have looked lower OR70s material. Sharp Eclipse & Kylladie are drawn very low and high to add to the problem in teasing out the stories in this race. Sharp Eclipse looked very underdone and green on debut and ran that way although some promise in making some ground later in the race. He ran much better STO when attended a solid pace over 5f on a stiff track. He got outpaced later on before plugging on again later in the race. Stepping up to 6f should be ok here but he has not looked a strong development prospect physically. Well drawn in 1 he clearly should run well but he seems to set a weak standard and the sort of favourite you watch through parted fingers waiting for something to go wrong, like a horse with average maiden winner ability or, lord help him, a good one.
    • Kylladie was very competent on debut and second early in a big field behind the experienced Kingdom Of Light. That runner set an average pace early and gradually wound up the pressure after halfway. Kylladie impressed as a full-time grafter rather than having strong ability but cracked last of those casing the leader and wound up fourth behind two closers who mugged him in the final furlong. A reliable type who will give you a good run and may well lead the group that go far side if that occurs (which can work on softer going).
    • Polly Macho ran in the other division of the race that Kylladie ran in and seemed to be run in a very different manner. That was the race that had Pycian adrift in last before getting to the win late past the collapsed pacemakers. He went through halfway in 3rd and ended up 7th fading more than Ginger Ted. He should run well but probably come up short again but a possible for the pacemaker towards the rail.
    • But, those three represent just an ordinary lower level Northern maiden and would not deal with the better types we have seen win this event before. Three possible improvers amongst those with form. Fibs And Flannels was given a non-competitive intro behind Sharp Eclipse and finished well behind him. He was first string there but not put into the race. He travelled fine past halfway and should improve notably here. Bateau Bleu made his debut on the same card as Sharp Eclipse in April and looked a slightly better prospect long-term. But, he was very backward in condition and no surprise to see him trundle along at the back without being pressed. Given a month to improve and the trainer having had a 2yo winner now you would be very hopeful he can perform much better and be an each-way possible. He is drawn high and may go far side with Kylladie. David Nicholls has not had his 2yos ready to compete FTO so far this year and his one STO runner blossomed notably. Bluie ran poorly FTO at Catterick over 5f and about 15 lengths off the leader at halfway. To be very kind you would say he passed a few late on. But, it was still poor form and too low a base to believe he can win here. But, a good test of how the STOs are going to improve and interesting in that sense for the following seller on the card.
    • With a relatively low level required to beat the form horses a solid chance for a newcomer but only a couple of possibles on profile. Richard Fahey's debut upturn towards the end of this week is covered above. He runs two with Mighty Clarets perhaps the first string over Yeadon with Hanagan riding. He is by the new sire Whipper whose runners to date have not looked straightforward and run moderately. That may well be coincidence and the dam has produced a good class 6f 2yo to help the view. A middle draw not helpful though. 
    • The other possible strong debut is from Durham Reflection who is owner by Transcend Bloodstock and runs for Howard Johnson. When he has a good 2yo they usually run before Royal Ascot and often compete well FTO. This looks a cheap one by their standards although the new sire Pastoral Pursuits has made a good start with three winners to date. The dam has produced sprint juveniles so a pedigree that might produce the OR75-85 type that could go well here. Another middle to high draw to add to the problems.
    • Worth also mentioning that Mick Easterby has his first 2yo runner of the year and much later than normal. His earliest runners often include usable 2yos and long priced places and the long SPs for the occasional wins can lead to long term profits. We'll Deal Again is the first runner for Winter Derby winner Gentlemen's Deal from his days of splitting time racing and being at stud. The dam has produced a seller winner at best and a lot of limited precocious ones. Better drawn but hard to see this as the strong debut type. His second runner of the year is at Southwell on Monday and much more of the FTO competitor profile.
    • In summary, a race profile with the small number of possible higher class ones from typical sources removed. The form horses look low OR70s types and beatable by a better type but solid to compete for the win if there aren't any of the higher class ones. A likely split across the track to confuse things further. Sharp Eclipse trundling down the stands' rail should set an ok standard but not one B2yoR would be looking to support with the right alternative. Preference for Kylladie as a full-on trier and hope he can find a usable path on the track to compete. Mighty Clarets & Durham Reflection best of the newcomers & interest in how Bateau Bleu & Fib And Flannels progress from FTO.
    • =============
    • Difficult to raise much enthusiasm for the Ripon Seller with a tight profile and a number of possible improvers. Transfixed & Musiara set a solid standard and both seem reliable at this level. Interesting to see Dispol Kabira here having won above seller level last time after being adrift and driven along at halfway in a maiden race. But, most interest in watching how Lairy improves from debut. He was another clueless and floppy debut by a Nicholls 2yo last week in a seller and the theory says someone should have claimed him because he is actually a bit better than seller class. A good improvement by Bluie from debut in the preceding race would increase confidence this one will run much better.
    • ===========================================
    • More pointless punditry...........stick a NUMBER on it.
    • It's one of those archaeology programs and they have dug up une artefact and need to date it to put the story in context. Take the piece to a scientist who has some fancy electronics and Big Iron to do various analyses on it. Date the radioactive decay of it's growth rings or some such. After much work the diggers wait to hear the result. The scientist goes through long minutes of explaining how difficult the dating is and how any figure is an estimate and has an error range attached to it. Ok, so what is the date? After more obfuscation the scientist feels able to vouchsafe that the artefact was made & buried some time between the Big Bang & early 20th Century based on the initial analysis. One of the archaeological beards is starting to lose his composure. That cannot be the result of the work? Well, by doing some more work it could be got down to a 10,000 year range. You what? This is a nonsense, if the result is that vague it is just wasted time. The scientist suggests a date could be provided if pressed. The boiling beard finally cracks...."GO ON then, stick a Number on it!". [Ok, 1328. Now, you're just being daft......]
    • Where does that get us? Well, despite the possible error range you do have to 'Stick a Number on it' to get anywhere with the punditising. Being vague about things mean that you cannot be wrong because you can always argue you meant something subtly different. But, never being really wrong means you can never be right either. Why believe a pundit who has come up with vague phrases. Top of B2yoR's list of duff phrases would be "Nice Type" which is used by most trainers and paddock pundits. What can this ever actually mean in concrete analysis? A bit better than Big Bang to 20th Century but probably not down to much under 10,000 years leeway. How Nice? Seller winner, OR75, OR85, Dewhurst Winner? 'Nice' in the sense of a pleasant colour or an equine personality that is helpful to train. In short, STICK A NUMBER ON IT, or don't bother. You won't be miles wrong if you do because most winners fit between OR60-OR85 and you can get a long way by splitting that into 3 levels.
    • A quick flick through the 'Racing Post' on Friday to right 'Lost' next to the win tips and 'Won' next to the Lay advices to counterbalance the 'Pricewise is God' trumpeting elsewhere. What's this? Something called the 'Analysis Notebook' with 'Eyecatching Performances by our expert race analysts'. There are five names listed to come up with 6 horses and what couldn't we all achieve if we had that sort of team  to sift things. Two of the six are 2yos and the word 'Bogus' keeps flashing up on reading it. The first recommendation is Soul Heaven who was a debut runner for Michael Bell in a moderate Warwick race. As the bunch were rolling over to the stands' rail, as most field seem to nowadays, he got chopped off as he trundled into a gap. The RP Notebook informs us that he was hampered about 50 yards out and therefore "he can win races". Altogether....Stick a Number On It! A vacuously empty phrase like that can mean anything so is useless. At what level can he win races? When? It's nonsense. [In the past B2yoR has sort of trundled down this road with 'Horse Of The Week' pictures and the like. But, having though about this formulation it is not very useful. Telling someone that a horse might win a race one day without some idea of the level is fatuous. The analysis needs to be of the actual race taking the quality of the opposition into account.]
    • The other 2yo is Richard Hannon's Master Of Dance who was given a standard quiet intro for a Hannon runner at Ascot. He has the size and substance to think he is the OR80-85 type the trainer normally starts there. But you knew that before he ran because Hannon is such a consistent trainer. The RP Expert tells us that he was the youngest in the field which is bogus, tell us what you thought of him as a physical type and where he fits because of that. Then the typical "He should be tough to beat in an ordinary maiden next time". Richard Hannon has STO winner shock. How are you to know what 'ordinary is' (SANOI) and whether he will be value and so on. Pure space filling.
    • With which let us go on to look at the VPs from Newbury on Friday and try sticking a few numbers on the horses from that. What's the worst that could happen after all. You might be wrong and have to see where the problem was. Much better than the 'Nice Type' Big Bang or after approach.
    • ==========================
    • The Virtual Paddocks at the top of the Preview show the fields for the three juvenile races there last Friday in the finishing orders of the horses. There had been heavy rain overnight, during the morning and at intervals during racing. The going was changed a notch to GS during the meeting. This seemed to put an emphasis on handling the going and the pace set to be able to finish a race off without fading badly. Watching the mile winner Border Patrol looking short of pace at stages in the 3yo 6f Listed race but getting up to win going away late on probably indicated well the effect of the conditions.
    • Division I of the 6f Maiden had 8 runners with John Gosden's Clan Piper a non-runner having flopped in similar conditions at the last Newbury meeting. This left the best of the newcomers at Canford Cliffs and the picture shows him as the biggest in the group of eight. Not a classy looker though and a bit square bodied and workmanlike. But very deep right through his body and powerful behind. On a difficult day he was notably relaxed and mature. This showed in the race where he was a jockey's ideal cruising along behind the leader listening to him and then responding to order to quicken clear. 
    • To put a number on him he is clearly already OR90+ & going to rate OR100+ during the season. As a FTO winner of this race in the manner he did it you would expect him to turn out in the Coventry Stakes next. Would he be up to winning that? On looks a more quality individual with more obvious range and athleticism out to beat him. But, there is no guarantee there will be one of those there. Give him a draw near the Stands' rail and his tractability and change of pace (if it is still there on good to firm would probably get him placed). In general it is easier to put numbers on horses the the OR45-88 range because that is where the bulk of horses seen will sit to give a mental reference to search. In the OR70-79 Interchange region for example an OR73 horses is different from an OR77 one quite clearly in most cases. Once you get above OR90 you already have a high quality horse and the differences are less visible. The differences between a real Group 1 horse (like Duke Of Marmalade) and a Group 2 ones (like Macarthur) were notable when they were both at Royal Ascot last year together. But, when comparing Macarthur with what you normally see he is much better. 
    • The other point to note about giving OR ranges or numbers is that the weight-for-age scale is moving upwards from the start of the 2yo season and right through until they are late 4yos. An average horse is considered to make that progression at 1-2Lbs per month over the whole period at different distances. The number given should be the horse's best OR range in absolute terms and not due to precocity. The 2yo handicapper has to consider that a win in an average Class 5 maiden in April at 2yo is the same quality as one in October and may well give OR74-5 to the winner. If the April race was poor and the winner had no scope to improve physically he might actually be an OR62 horse in the fullness of time. Better to give him this figure and note his precocity & development potential than fall into the trap & problems the BHA handicapper approach brings with it. For example, Star Rover is presumable somewhere between OR89-94 in the handicap the BHA guy is working on for this season. But, a year from now he wont be running to that level because he has not got 24Lbs+ of physical development to make. Depending how things go he might be working into the mid & lower 80s by season end given he needs to make around a stone's improvement to stand still by then.
    • Rakaan is one of those medium & nest horses that can be difficult to place. Not as deep and strong as Canford Cliffs but an ok size and strong enough in front. Looking at the pictures he is mentally mature enough and the muscle definition suggests he was fitter then Canford Cliffs although the different build types have some effect. He was given a Spencer hold up ride for tomorrow in the race and plugged on late for second. OR83?
    • Barzan was the fittest and readiest for the day and probably in line with the rash of Dascombe debut winners in 2009. Lengthier bodies and lower slung than Rakaan. A bit light behind. OR73-4? Ant Music is smaller and looking at him you could see why Stan Moore gets the later season development winners after lots of runs. Compared to Barzan, or an 'average' preparation level come to that, he wasn't ready. Not that fit and clearly needing to build up. A little under medium height but a neat body type with some length. This is perhaps typical of the new sire and if you look a the filly Ailsa Carmel in the second reference VP above you see a smaller but deeper bodied and stronger version of the same thing. She ran very well and is clearly an OR83+ type and is declared to run at Windsor tomorrow in a tough field. Ant Music looks a low OR70 type and develop with time through he season.
    • Jehu is another smaller one by Antonius Pius and not that powerful and was not ready mentally or in condition. He did not make the overall positive impression of the other two by the sire. Fall the wrong side of the OR70 quality threshold unless things go well. Listillo is one of those rangy ones by US sire More Than Ready that can draw you in with the movement positive. But the power may not be there. The picture does not show the narrower body that well. But the movement should see him rate say OR74-5 and should improve for better ground if movement is his plus. Made an ok move in the race before fading and some promise overall. In human terms Fantastic Prince looked about twelve and you wondered what he was doing out here playing with the big older teenagers. Probably under medium size but very neatly put together and balanced and with some build to tighten up. Can rate higher 70s if he grows up well. Welsh Legacy perhaps a low 60s rater but these ok size ones the trainer brings here usually end up below that.
    • A mixed bunch for the fillies' race in with Kurtanella another typical strong, deep fronted, square type for Hannon. Guesswork a much lengthier type and unusual for the sire Rock Of Gibraltar who gets a lot of compact ones. Likeable type but not a real 5f type. Astarta a big, leggy and narrow bodied one who will compete well early on size but needs to fill out. Will be better on firmer going but the lack of build power will limit her. More Lashes was a big disappointment. There you are worrying she might be troublesome and a better class debut from the Quinlan stable like Lush Lashes last year. This one cost a lot at $125,000 and hard ot see what for on her small, young & underpowered presentation. Hmmm.
    • The second Division of the maiden was one of those times when all the work comes together to present an opportunity (before the likes of Tillys Tale wins to confuses things again). The first horse into the pre-parade was Meglio Ancora and not what you were expecting from the pedigree & profile at all. Not a small one or a leggy hat-rack but a bigger version and powerful enough all round. He is also very fit for the day and notably mature. Being alone in a ring drives many of the 2yos nutty but this one is enjoying it all and introducing himself to everyone like an old hand. Think back to Newbury a year ago and the trainer had a 33/1 debut winner with a very fit one and this is another and 'Big Enough' with it. OR79 goes down and is he an each-way price? The sire is Best Of The Bests who can get good types from unpromising backgrounds as was dealt with at length in a preview. That was set off by an early 2yo called Saunton Sands by the sire who ran three times last year and probably has an OR in 30s at present and has beaten two horses. Will he ever reappear and prove the OR70+ billing worthwhile.
    • The others higher on the profile were likeable as well with Alrasm typically fizzy for a Michael Jarvis newcomer. But, also a bigger one and neatly made with strength and carried himself well. OR90+ and should develop well. He ran ran well despite his demeanour and the racecourse commentary from Richard Hoiles was very perceptive. As Meglio Ancora & Alrasm went clear together Hoiles said something on the lines of Meglio Ancora looking more natural and knowing to get home by a length. If you had seen them in the paddock then the end of the race was demonstrating their mental state on the day. You would think that was Meglio Ancora's best chance to ever beat Alrasm and the home preparation made the difference.
    • Calypso Star ran like he did not like soft ground or was generally idle and given a relatively tough ride by Hughes' standards. But, he is a taking physical type in the classic Hannon 'bulky one' manner and his colouring and markings made him look like a smaller Crowded House. Strong, deep enough, powerful  & with some length. He must be able to get to OR90+ and be much better than he showed. Brisbane was rugged up as Gosden tends to do which makes him more difficult to judge. From the long shot a strong enough compact sprinter type with some range and definitely OR80+ type. Lofthouse looks to be regressing physically or underdone on 3TO for handicap but is a smaller version of the Hunting Lion sire shape and could improve in later season when his condition come through to win at low OR70s level.
    • Rakhine was backed like a better Cole debut although ran poorly. He didn't convince despite his size being compact and leggy for his height. A question mark until he proves he can move efficiently and softer ground unlikely to suit his upright movement. Volatilis smaller & underpowered and very ready for the day and OR60s. First Cat a light bodied small one in One Cool Cat style and OR60s at best. Got loose and did very well dodging people and the furniture given he has just the one eye.

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