2:10 Ripon (15th May) - Result

A maiden over 6f consisting a field of colts, one gelding and solitary filly.


Not much form to go on here.


Grand Gold sets the standard of those who have seen a racecourse. A cheap colt costing £8,500, this son of Librettist is a strapping colt and physically a good buy. Running at Warwick on debut, pretty much unfancied in the betting, a combination of inexperience and his jockey content to allow Grand Gold to find his stride meant he was soon detached from the leaders. As the raced progressed, he made up quite substantial ground and ran with some encouragement. That was a  difficult race to assess in ways. The winner - Choice Of Remark - was a short priced favourite and although made it look hard work for much of the way went on to win in comfortable style at the line. The second, Fromthestablescom, trained by ''Mr Midas'' John Hills hadn't shown a glimmer of ability on debut so it may pay to be cautious when concluding the merit of those behind the winner. Channon does well with his fancied juveniles on their second start. Jaber Abdullah often buys cheap purchases that show ability. This 6f will be a plus. However, there is still a slight concern Grand Gold may be slow to find his stride. With experience he may be a live wire and have put that initial performance behind him. That is often the case with juveniles.  His breeding suggests that this will be his minimum trip. A good-looking colt who could win this in style. The most likely winner although that Warwick race does leave a question or two to be resolved and for that reason I would rather take a watching brief.


Indepub didn't show much ability on debut but had his work cut out in a fairly stiff stakes race. Ryan's horses are running well and it is interesting to note this bay colt is quite fancied on the exchanges. The stable is worth following when their two-year-olds are substantially backed as with talented juveniles like Hamza as a guide they have a decent line to where they stand. This £30,000 yearling buy - owned by David Barker - has fair win and place claims if priced 13/2 & less.


Of the debutantes, Maastricht has claims. Mark Johnston has clicked into gear this month with his juveniles and that factor is worthy of note. Last season was dire with his two-year-olds struggling to achieve anything but the way he is going this  couldbe a purple patch. I always find Johnston's debutantes difficult to assess. They either go from one extreme to the other which doesn't inspire confidence. The plus side is that he can unveil a supreme talent - which is more than can be said for the majority of trainers. His win rate at Ripon is quite poor. A juvenile who will be running over further in the very near future and one I would rather watch than bet today.


Tim Easterby is something of an enigma at Ripon. In general, his first time out win rate with juveniles is poor but he seems to have the knack of unleashing Pegasus-types at the garden racecourse. This season alone Ponty Acclaim and Queen's Revenge have won on their racecourse bows. He has three youngsters today: Regal Acclaim, Arrowroot & Piece By Piece all vying for glory.  The most fancied of this trio is Regal Acclaim. It's quite unusual to see Robert Winston riding for the stable and whether this is a positive or negative is a matter for debate. I missed the early declaration stage - which is annoying - so cannot figure out if there has been any late switches regarding jockey bookings. How well Eaterby has done with his two-year-old debutantes at Ripon over the last few years it wouldn't be a surprise to see another winner. The stable have been quoted as having a talented string of two-year-olds. Time will tell if one of these three are high in the pecking order.


Conclusion: A tricky race with a few signs of encouragement. Grand Gold is a good-looking colt who could have his share of ability. However, he needs to be competitive from the start. Channon has fair win and place claims with his fancied juveniles on their second start and sets the standard although there are question marks. The betting is the best indicator to Indepub who showed little at Newcastle. If priced 13/2 & less - even better substantially backed - I would expected a much improved performance. Tim Easterby is always capable of waving his magic wand at Ripon. Whether he can Abracadabra Pegasus today only time will tell.


HCE: ''This didn't look much of a race and it was a duel between Piece By Piece and Grand Gold. The former was one of three trained by Tim Easterby who has a fine record at the course in recent years. Channon's, second, was struggling to go the pace two furlongs out but ran on with encouragement - very much like when seen at Warwick - and should go on to win after losing out in a head-bob finish. Adranian was a remote third.''

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