A restricted maiden auction race over 5f for colts and fillies. A field of debutantes from a number of leading two-year-old trainers. On paper, this looks a pretty moderate contest.
If following in the footsteps of many a Tom Dascombe two-year-old, Out Of The Blocks could well take after his name. The stable had Ceiling Kitty finish second at Kempton on the first day of the Flat season, which may help assess the merit of this performer. A cheap purchase at 2,500gns, from a poor family, especially on the dam's side. This April foal is not quite two. As with most juvenile races, the protagonists are priced by trainer reputation. Dascombe is a fine trainer who often has his juveniles fit and ready to go well on their racecourse bow. Money is a telling sign for this stable. Consequently, this juvenile is best assessed by the betting. If fancied, the stable feature respectable win and place claims. Best left alone if a major weakness.
Another trainer worth his salt is Mick Channon. Kryen's Rose is a cheap buy for Jaber Abdullah.It is interesting why such a wealthy man adopts the practise of owning such types. However, they often turn out to be quite informed buys. This daughter of Royal Applause cost just 5,500gns. She looks the type to improve beyond this minimum trip. At this time [Sunday evening] she is fancied on the exchanges, vying for favouritism. Channon has a reputation of sending out winning debutante but his statistic don't really reflect that opinion. In fact, his general win rate for juveniles making their debut is quite poor. The starting price is key to this ones chances. Very few of his juveniles win on debut when priced over 8/1. However, when fancied they hold a fighting chance, especially so when significantly backed close to the off.
In what looks to be an open affair, the betting is a good guide. Jo Hughes' stable are not frightened of a punt and All Fur Coat is relatively fancied in the betting. This daughter of Multiplex comes from the dam of Stonefield Flyer, a talented juvenile who finished runner-up in the Windsor Castle. However, it should be noted that this £12,000 purchase was entered to run in the Selling/Plater race on this card (2:45). In many ways this is a negative. It certainly makes one question this filly's level of ability. On the other side of the coin, this is such a restricted race it could well be a Selling race in everything but name. Nonetheless, I would have to take a watching brief.
Lisa Williamson's Babylon Castle was another who bypassed the Selling race for this ''seemingly'' stronger contest. The stable have trained the odd juvenile winner but they are usually limited.
Bill Turner makes the most of early-season races and comes here with Caught Napping. This son of Sleeping Indian was a cheap lot and breeding doesn't inspire. The only positive is that he's owned E A Brook. He is a very lucky owner with many of his purchases being the better two-year-olds Turner has trained. Last year's Brocklesby winner, He's So Cool, is a fine example. On balance, Turner doesn't feature the best win rate on debut. Considering the stable is a rare visitor to Redcar he is worth noting although a difficult horse to assess.
Tim Easterby is represented by two fillies owned by Habton Farms. Sired respectively by Red Clubs and Captain Marvelous, they were cheap buys fitting the restrictive nature of this contest. Easterby has a poor strike rate with debutantes and a similarly dire strike rate at the course. Zero Rated is the more fancied of the two in the betting and Allan was booked to ride both at the first entry stage, suggesting he had the pick.
*Secret Destination is owner-trained by Brian Ellison. He doesn't have the biggest string of two-year-olds but a capable handler. However, on breeding, this bay filly may need a greater test of stamina.
Midnight Dream is trained by Linda Stubbs, This gelding by Country Reel cost 9,000euros. Breeding suggests that a greater test of stamina will see him well although the stable should be respected. They feature a moderate win rate on debut but do have the odd decent two-year-old from bargain buys. Tom Eves holds fair stats when riding for the yard. On balance, I would take a watching brief but an interesting candidate compared to some.
Conclusion: A difficult race to have a strong opinion. Out Of The Blocks heralds from a trainer who features by far the best statistics when fancied in a poor race. However, a drift in the market would be a worry. Money is the best guide to this stable. Kryen's Rose is well owned by Jaber Abdullah. Channon doesn't feature the best strike rate on debut although it is fair for fancied runners. Certainly one of the major hopes, especially so if heavily backed. The fact that All Fur Coat & Babylon Castle were entered to run in the Selling race has to be viewed as a negative. While Tim Easterby's record at the course and similarly with debutantes is poor. Caught Napping is a difficult horse to assess but should be respected with lucky owner A E Brook although breeding doesn't inspire. Midnight Dream is one for the short list as the stable do find a decent juvenile or two. A race of such restricted nature often dictates juveniles are limited. A watching brief.