Two Divisions of the 6f Auction at Salisbury this year with
25 horses across the pair compared to 16 to 18 in the last three years.
The race is for lower priced sales purchases and has a wide range of weights.
The quality it attracts means that the majority of the field will
be moderate and non-winners at 2yo. In the last three years the 51 horses
that have taken part have managed 9 later wins with one of those at claimer
level. Most of the subsequent wins have been in similar Auction races and
later maiden race wins, and nurseries come to that, are rare. It seems
the trainers play the game and choose the appropriate types to run in the
Thinking about that it means that across the two Divisions here it would
be better than average if there were 5-6 lower level winners spread between
them. Not races to spend a lot of time checking through the midfield and
well beaten horses without some very good reason. Remember that the only
later winner to finish worse than midfield was the claimer victor.
The better class horses, in the context of the race, get to the front in
most races unless there are interrupting reasons. The general 'Counsel
of Despair' about moderate horses being inconsistent and much more
difficult to figure out is overplayed. Class and desire make most of the
difference at any level.
Last year's race was a good example of this with two OR80s horses finishing
clear of the rest - Picture.
The placed horses into midfield ended the season rated OR55-65 for the
most part. The Market seemed to do a pretty good job in their later runs
in not reacting to the 'promising' 3rds, 4ths, etc. Try sticking the Number
OR85 on the nose of the winner and the gaps you are seeing back to the
others are a real demonstration of the relative ability because the pace
was ok. A couple of minor improvers a bit further back than they should
have been because they were on debut for 'Nice Intro' stables.
The race was also a good reminder that horses can win from any draw in
these type of events at Salisbury. The usual way of thinking on firmer
going is that running the far rail is the best place to be. It has merit
but when these larger fields spread out horses can run down centre track
to win. Last year the placed horses were drawn 3-2-4 and in 2007 it was
2-10-8 and 6-5-15 in 2006. That hides some of the story because the stall
2 winner in 2007 crossed over to the rail and lead and the runner-up drawn
10 got behind and switched to centre track to challenge.
A more interesting point is that racing prominently is probably more important
than the draw as such. Because the track is on a right-hand dogleg being
on the rail means you run a shorter distance. This means that the prominent
runners tend to form up there from whatever draw they start from. Winners
who come from further back than the first 4-6 places at halfway are
rare on firmer going but the draws show a much wider spread. The 'Draw'
advantage being an indication of how it is more efficient to get to a prominent
position from a higher draw if the field contains a lot of quicker
starters. In these mixed ability fields where half the field will lose
ground at the start for some reason a god horse will be able to compete.
The background brings us to the field for Division I and the remarks above
about the draw are pertinent. The likely favourite Tucker's Law
is drawn 4 and the most interesting improver is Imperial Warrior
in stall 1. Tucker's Law presents just an average profile for the race
and is probably a low OR70s type. That sort can win versions of this race
but is vulnerable to a better type and it makes it a bit harder to overcome
the draw. On the plus side he improved from a lost debut to get to 3rd
at halfway at this course last time over 5f. He did that by running freely
from box 1 of 9. On that he ought to be able to get into the first 6 at
least early and probably close to the front. He was outpaced later in the
race but pulled himself together to be getting back to the leader at the
finish. A solid profile and should run well.
Imperial Warrior has demonstrated no ability to deal with the outside draw.
The trainer's FTO runners early in the year are normally unable to compete
and a bit on the flabby side. this one had read the script at Goodwood
and fell out the stalls and 10th through halfway. On the plus side he plugged
on later in the race to get to about where you would want him to reach
without the jockey moving a great deal. You expect the ones with ability
to improve notably STO for the trainer. His first STO runner this year
made the change from never being better than 14th on debut to getting out
smartly to cross over to second to attend the lead in a smaller field at
Bath. A less full profile than Tucker's Law but with more scope to improve
and likely to be a more each-way prospect.
Richard Hannon looms over the race at a local track with the winner last
year and placed horses in 2006-7 (neither won as 2yos). All of those were
runners with previous outings as Folletta has but not his runner
in the second division. Folletta is a difficult one to sum up. She missed
her intended debut at Bath when she appeared to be the first string over
Yer Woman. Since that one placed at Bath and has won since that seems to
make her up to winning this. In a motley field at Goodwood FTO she was
supported down to 7/2 to add to the circumstantial evidence. But, she ran
a shocker which looked more to be plain unwillingness than inexperience.
Losing ground before halfway and having to be whipped early to get her
moving properly. Eighth through halfway around 8 lengths of the leaders.
At least she did finish the race off to be getting back to the leaders
late on and finish 4th and suggesting there is ability there. That was
not strong form bu give her four lengths back for behaving this time &
a bit for STO improvement and she would compete to win. But, taking a chance
on how she reacts when the stalls open.
If we remember that this field is not going to be packed with later winners
and we already have three who can win something there may well not be much
lse in the field. Others with previous runs like Abandagold, Flashy
Lover & Looks Like Slim do not appeal to improve to the
level to win this. Amongst the newcomers the Dunlop trained pair, father
& son, of Many A Slip & Practitioner are cheap ones
and not the better type John has managed 2 debuts win already this year
from 3 runners.
The one newcomer you have to take seriously is Chairman Pat who
is well drawn if he is here to compete. Tom Dascombe has had a similar
number of debut runners to Mark Johnston this year and, like last Saturday's
Preview did, let us list the stables newcomer efforts so far to see what
patterns there are. The table below is listed in descending rating order
(i.e. the B2yoR [Estimates]) rather than by date.
||9/4jf FTO despite poor draw & tough opposition. Won well STO.
||Listed placed 3TO.
||Listed placed 4TO
||Ran well, drew clear with experienced runner. Presume well above average
|Don't Tell Mary
||Listed winner STO
||Look out of sorts STO & not run to best in Novice race.
||Won STO & 6th in Listed race 3TO.
||Probably ok and underperformed in tough maiden on firmer going.
||Drift & held at back FTO. Turned into a front-runner STO &
faded off solid pace.
||Miss break at Southwell. 3rd in Conditions race 5 days later. Beaten
||Debut in seller. Claimed and won STO in seller for new stable.
|Fire And Stone
||Drift in Market FTO and held up at rear by jockey & never involved.
Won weak race STO.
||5th in 5 runner Maiden FTO beaten miles. Dropped to claimer with low
weight STO & clear winner.
A different result to looking at the Johnston debuts. The trainer has his
horses very well prepared for debut and they show a lot of what they can
do - if they are allowed to. Those of lesser ability or less knowing are
often not put in the race at all. Looking at the halfway positions those
that are there to compete to win FTO, which means those with known good
ability, will be in the first three from early on and very close to the
front if not leading. The horses seem fit and only two of the above have
lost places after halfway on debut and then only the odd one or two by
a frontrunner or presser. Not complete collapses. The market knows which
are the good ones and those marked with an asterisk as those that had noted
Market support after the opening show which is often lowish for newcomers
So, the stable knows which are the good ones and they will be ready to
compete to win first up. The Market will tell you which are the better
ones by opening price, relative to race quality, and general support. If
they are here to win they will break quickly and lead or press the pace.
They are fit enough to stick it out to the end of the race so something
is going to have to be better to beat them. Do not wait for a strong fade.
Chairman Pat has an okish 6f pedigree although a bit further might be more
suitable and has to give weight in an Auction race. But, Soccer & Antonius
Moris both managed it & Above Limits had a right good go too.
In summary, preference for Imperial Warrior on balance at the likely
prices although Tucker's Law has a solid provide. Respect for Hannon's
Folletta to improve but not keen on supporting ones that showed her attitude
FTO. Ought to be enough clues beforehand, even without paddock information,
to get a handle on how much trouble Chairman Pat is likely to be. It will
be entirely clear after 75 yards of the race.
Division II looks to have less depth and to be a good opportunity
for Crystal Gale unless the Hannon newcomer is stronger than usual.
She appeared to be the stable second string to the Market FTO when 33/1
at Lingfield in a fillies race. The trainer prepares his 2yos to be competent
on debut and gets regular solid showings. Go back to the equivalent to
this race 2007 and his Afram Blue was a close up fourth at 20/1 and won
STO, for example. In that context Crystal Gale's promising third FTO was
typical for his early runners each year. Back in 7th at halfway nearly
6 lengths off the lead but running along the preferred rail path. Pulled
out to progress later on and went from 6th to 3rd inside the last furlong
and not obviously stopping. Probably drawn ok and running for a reliable
trainer. Fair enough.
The Hannon approach with debuts and when he gets FTO winners has been covered
at length. In short, you would not be looking for a better debut in this
sort of race at this time of year. Newton Circus has an ordinary
pedigree & no obvious reason to think he will be the better type. But,
useful that he is here if you want to support Crystal Gale to help the
price. [Interesting to hear Richard Hughes saying in interview yesterday
that experience is a big thing for 2yos in larger fields like this. He
said it is worth 5 lengths (around 15 rating points here). Crystal Gale
is getting 5lbs from Newton Circus & let us say she is an OR73 filly.
If Newton Circus is 10-15lbs below his best but better drawn he might need
to be an OR88+ to beat her in his FTO condition. Add in a slow start and
he wont win.]
A number of others with previous experience who can improve STO but most
from a low base. Saxby ran better than it looked FTO in a race that
seemed to have a strong pace. He raced on the outside and tried to follow
the pace and paid for that late on. He is certainly better than French
Connexion who got outpaced in the same race and trundled onto the back
of the faders. But just a middling profile. Volatilis may well lead
from his rail draw and that might help him hang one longer but his form
is moderate and the trainer one to avoid. The more interesting improver
is probably Mnarani who never looked balanced at Goodwood and ought
to be better than that and has a stiffer track to show it on here.
In summary, Crystal Gale has a solid profile and a good opportunity
here. Nothing in the profile to suggest Newton Circus is a better Hannon
debut & more interest in STO improvers Saxby & Manarani if looking
12 runners declared for the 5.1f Maiden at Chester and the draw
has made for an interesting shape to the race. Anyone who watched the racing
at the May Meeting from the course would be very wary of backing anything
they did not think could race on the rail and near the front
if the ground in firmer. Racing in outer lanes was suicidal and trying
to make ground from midfield nearly impossible. Now, if you want a prominent
racer 8 of the 9 runners with previous outings would fit the bill.
All of them bar Psychopathicsandra have been in the first 3 places
at halfway in their, limited length, careers.
Ok, so should we just concentrate on the lowest draws? That is where it
gets interesting because stalls 1, 3 & 4 have the newcomers in them.
Remember that winning FTO at the track is very difficult and has only been
done twice in recent years. Once in 2008 by a later Group winner who just
bested a seller class rabbit and by Metal Soldier at the May Meeting. He
abiding by the rules and ran the rail in third just behind the leader.
Almuntaser in draw 1 seems the owner second string to Il Forno
and the trainer has not proved he can do worthwhile debut runs. Cheshire
Lady in stall 4 runs for a trainer who has never had a debut winner
and her breeze-up background would have to add a lot.
The only newcomer of any interest would be Bazsharani in stall 3
for David Evans. If you had to chose a trainer to prepare one to win FTO
and be ready and professional you might well choose Evans. This is a late
debut for him remembering that the majority of usable 2yos he has will
have started out by mid-April. Each year there is normally one later debut
that is a good one and we have not seen that this year. This one is out
of a dam that won at 5f in the first weeks of the season and went downhill
from there so this really is a late start. He is ridden by John Egan who
did a very good job riding the track for Evans on Star Rover & Reel
Credit Crunch back in May as another positive. One to leave on the possibles
In stall 2 you have the likely favourite with Itsthursdayalready
who was second to the limited Oondiri FTO. But, on a straight course at
Redcar he got to second early on and stayed there so he has some early
pace in theory. Well drawn with a proven prominent style he has a lot going
for him. The niggle would be what that Redcar form amounted to and whether,
if he leads, he can hold off the Stalk & Pouncers. On balance, likely
to be worth looking for an alternative.
Drawn 5 is Ariel Bender who ran to freely in the lead on debut.
On his second run getting him to settle was the jockey's only thought and
he was allowed to drop back. He has a bit of size but does not appear to
get home when pressing. The trainer is another negative. More of a nuisance
if he goes forward than a likely winner.
The Fahey filly Wigan Lane in stall 6 dropping back from 6f to 5f
is much more interesting. She probably ran as well as Itsthursdayalready
for 5f of her race before stalling having broken well and been in second
place early on. A similar fast start here and she can compete for the win.
From stalls 7 outwards you either need a very fast starter of a strong
pace to overcome the disadvantages. The tiny filly Deal in 7 can
start quickly to add to the problems for those outside her. She should
handle the course well but not good enough despite the positives on what
she has shown.
The Market is then going to have to deal with mixed messages for Reddy
To Star & Il Forno who would compete for favouritism if
better drawn. The former has the best form but all on straight tracks or
one where he had the draw advantage around a dogleg. He starts quickly
but where can he get to if he tries to get across? If you said the three
newcomers stayed in the stalls and Ariel Bender was held back he might
get to 2nd one off the rail but vulnerable to others. A pass on him with
the draw, Il Forno has shown less ability but still a good debut by the
stable's standards this year. He also appears to be the first string for
the owner. He starts even wider and will have to drop in.
In summary, if the draw plays it's usual role it has set two of
those with the best form credentials very tough tasks. Reddy To Star might
get prominent but at some cost in overall efficiency. Itsthursdayalready
has a good mix of Run Style and draw although the form is less good. The
Market will be well aware of his positives anyway. More interest in Wigan
Lane at the right price as an each-way alternative. David Evans has not
shown us his 'Later' good debut runner yet and Bazsharani has enough in
the pedigree to be a possible. Well drawn & with a good jockey for
the job should get out quickly enough to play a big par tin the race.