As writing these Previews would soon tell
anyone there are always factors that can occur on the day to make them
look poorly founded. A change from Good to Firm over to Soft after overnight
rain is probably the most assured method of achieving this. A horse from
an unusual source being a much better physical type than expected is relatively
common. As is the reverse with an unseen horse that has, apparently, presentably
form being well beaten and on viewing it you know it is in trouble before
the race because of lack of size, power or neat proportions, or some combination
of those. The Previews have an outlet in that they are targetted at being
a model for the Paddock Reviewer on the day to work against. Betting without
Paddock information seems an unnecessarily risky proposition if it can
be reasonably easily side-stepped. That is with any age group of
But, if someone were ever fretful about the
worth of their 'Punditry' the result of the two Classic races over the
weekend would be very reassuring. The 2,000 Guineas is won by a long-shot
who was sold on by Shadwell for 25,000 guineas and the favourites are mostly
anonymous, or worse. Mountains of analysis before the race with much of
it rendered plain wrong. And that for a race featuring a small elite level
of horses people thought they had a good understanding of. Not horses that
have never been on a racecourse.
Then a bit of rain overnight and the 1,000
Guineas presents itself as being a huge track bias race. The first five
home race together and those racing far side are lost by halfway. A 66/1
shot, from a major stable, is first home to add to the chaos. If you were
a newcomer to racing you would wonder how much the 'Experts' knew. A bit
of order apparently restored with the 66/1 filly chucked out for the favourite
to be placed first. [B2yoR was somewhat baffled by the explanation proffered
by the Stipendiary Steward for the decision to revise the placings. If
he had said that Jacqueline Quest had bumped the other filly and intimidated
her out of continuing her run then that would have been fine. But, what
was all that stuff about her losing ground by being carried across the
track? Losing ground in a relative sense or against a fixed background?
JQ was hanging as well so covered the same distance as Special Duty so
it was not that which made the difference to the possible result. The distance
of a 'Nose' between the two at the finish is a relative judgement,
surely? If we go back to Leicester in April then why was Mayfair Princess
not chucked out having done exactly the same thing to Molly Mylenis as
JQ did at Newmarket? Use the questionable 'Lost ground on the Hypoteneuse'
logic and it should have been a simple decision to reverse the places at
But, analysis and previews at least mean you
know when things are getting a bit chaotic and perhaps help to identify
why. The 2yo season so far has been a more difficult proposition that normal
in some ways. By this time of the year we should expect the form of races
to be 'working out' to some degree. A good number of horses should have
gone on from promising debuts to win STO. There has been little of this
in 2010 and in the first 46 races we have had, a recent record, of 29 debut
winners (21 to the same point in 2009). Of the 10 Second Time winners,
who had not won on debut, how many have finished in the first 3 on their
debut effort? Just one. You can get that figure up to three if you make
it the first 4. That is not typical.
Part of the reason for this is that Hannon
& Channon. The first is normally a reliable source of STO wins and
they have been converted to debut successes. Channon has only had one winner
whereas make the first 4 on debut and peak STO is typical for his approach.
The changeable going seems to have played a part as well. Mixes of firmer
and soft going have produced some of the failures. You could add racing
too freely and fading when finally meeting firm going as another regular
With which let us consider the Warwick
maiden for fillies. Only seven declared and two non-runners with the
going cited as the reason ('Heavy' is in the current description). Another
non-runner in Good Morning Dubai who is owned by Jaber Abdullah
who already had the favourite with Golden Shine. A tactical bout
of 'Sore Shins' followed. Alledgedly. Something to stop her running but
not to prevent her running later in the week if required.
This has left us with just four runners, at
present, and Golden Shine is a classic Profile for a strong STO performance
from a Channon horse. She was touted as being very good on debut and the
trainer has already talked about her going to Royal Ascot. When Channon
talks about an Abdullah owned filly in this way he is normally right to
some level. She ought to be good and ran well enough on debut at Newmarket
to not discount that possibility. Getting a little caught up in the traffic
and taking time to pick up towards the final furlong. A solid third but
without showing a taking effort that you would probably have expected.
The form of the Channon horses some excuse.
That Newmarket race has been well tested with
the 2nd & 7th (hampered badly) running ok yesterday at Newmarket but
comfortably beaten by better types. The 4th to 6th ran in lesser races
during the week for one win in a moderate race and two defeats that looked
like 'failures' to some degree. How is that for 'working out'? Not a simple
one to answer and, as ever, you need to understand what was going on the
subsequent races and the 'Form Book' will only give you hints of that.
But, leaving aside a Heavy ground failure
Golden Shine ought to win. Not a taking proposition though is the current
context. Majestic Style is on the list of 'improvers' to follow
for a while but seems to have got into the wrong place. A good size and
a good mover but not suited to softer going. Lost in the Brocklesby on
testing going and then expiring at Pontefract after forcing the pace on
softer ground. The trainer lodged a report with the Stewards after that
race saying she had been unsuited by the going. A surprise she is not already
a 'Ground' non-runner. She might blag this if Golden Shine fails but not
a taking prospect.
The other pair showed nothing worthwhile on
debut and would need the other pair to fail badly to win. Alexs Rainbow
is from a source that has only ever had a single 2yo winner so high end
'Chaos' if she could win. Dancing Tara runs for David Evans so at
least a reliable trainer but she was only one place (but many lengths)
in front of Alexs Rainbow as they trundled home at Doncaster as the last
two back. Dancing Tara ran a bit freely at Doncaster and faded badly. A
slow race here might show her to better effect and almost certainly keep
her closer to Golden Shine than the SPs should suggest.
In summary, in theory an obvious set-up to
add a second debut-placer-to-STO-winner to the season total. But,
the ground makes the delivery seem less than fully assured. Majestic Style
not obvious upset material on the ground either. Which means Dancing Tara
will need to improve for the going to provide the upset.
A thin field at Beverley and not even
the hint of a strong debut performance being brought in by those with previous
runs. But Blind Stag showed enough at Ripon to believe he should
go ok here. That race was run in a slowish time despite there being a forcing
pace up front. The leaders faded back to allow the 4th at halfway to win
from the 5th at the same stage. We can then think about how the race is
'Working Out'. The placed horses have both run since for a win and a place
with both taking on horses that ran in the Thirsk Novice. The fourth has
placed in a race with a frantic pace that he forced, as he had at Ripon.
Those behind have managed a place in a moderate race as well.
Overall, an average early season race where
the beaten horses are competing ok in similar races. Not 'all winning'
but not looking out of place. Many in that Ripon race looked uncomfortable
on the undulations and ramp and Blind Stag seemed the most obvious example.
The jockey did not really attempt to force him into the race because of
this. He seems the type that should improve for the different test at uphill
Beverley. He seems to have fallen into a weak race as well depending on
what Music News is. On the plus side jockey Culhane seems to have
chosen him over Galtymore Lad. The jockey has some sort of agreement
with owner Findlay and a link with the Midgley yard. On the down side he
is drawn a little wide in 6 but probably usuable with many in the field
Galtymore Lad was fizzy in the preliminaries
at Windsor FTO and this culminated in rearing up in stalls and getting
his leg over the outside ledge twice as the widest drawn runner. Culhane
had probably had enough of this when the starter let them go just after
the horse was back on four feet and never put the horse in the race. He
jogged along at the back. The horse must be better than that but a negative
profile at present. See how he shapes here.
Music News is another filly running for owner
Jaber Abdullah but Mark Johnston trained. That trainer's first runner of
the year this week ran moderately in a fast race. Attended the pace to
around halfway then fading early after meeting a bit of interference. There
should be a high class one in the first batch of 5f debuts and in 2009
it was The Hermitage who started in this race. She was beaten as favourite
by a Fahey STO filly who had finished 5th on debut. The Fahey horse ended
up in a claimer and the Johnston debut could no deal with her. Now, the
owner likes strong debuts so you would expect a bit of hype here and a
shorter price if she is though to be useful. But beatable FTO unless bordering
Most of the others seem unlikely winners for
the day but worth looking at the Mick Easterby trio later. The rest look
moderate Profile ones that might be development winners but would need
this race to fall apart to win FTO as an accident. Perhaps pick out a couple
for a mention. Chadford runs for Tim Walford and he has a reasonable
record with getting winners with cheap ones in the last 2 year. Two of
the seven to run for him in that period have won with development and both
placed on debut. This one has a solid pedigree to produce a minor sprint
winner so worth assessing. Poorly drawn.
Kate Walton has has just two juveniles run
for her in 2008-9 and both have won. The patterns seems to be solid debuts
followed by runs at a similar level that find a race to win along the way.
West Stand is out of a dam that was a cheap buy but won over sprint
distances and got rated around OR80. Sire Danbird has made a better start
this year so another acceptable pedigree at a low level.
And finally, Mick Easterby has his first runners
with Tufty, Bellemore & Gunalt Penny Sweet. A
brief recap on the trainer's methods. He runs a lot of 2yos and most will
be garbage. But, the earliest runners will include the competitive ones.
He gets the 2yos to a solid level of preparation for debut so they can
compete well in moderate races. He runs his horses in weak races mostly
which means that places, and odd wins, for the early competitive ones are
common. Because of his reputation for targetting older handicap coups the
juveniles usually start at very long SPs.
Which means that one of this set could well
place in this sort of set-up. If Music News is a Johnston debut and Blind
Stag misfires then this race is up-for-grabs. B2yoR would estimate that
Tufty is the best of this group but drawn a little wide. GPS is the second
choice in this game of ranking them and also by new sire Blue Dakota (who
died in his first year at stud). Better drawn and the SPs are probably
going to be little help in splitting them. But, no surprise to see a 33/1
place out of the set.
In summary, Blind Stag look to be struggling
with the Ripon track in a race which is producing competitive horses. Enough
circumstantials to believe he will compete here. Music News will normally
have to be OR95+ to win FTO unless this race falls apart. Unlikely to be
value. Worth spending a bit of time finding the best of the Easterby set
for an each-way punt.