A field of nine take part in this flying five furlong; some of the fastest juveniles in training hoping to take a win prize of £39,697. Five colts & four fillies compete including five pattern race winners.
There will be no hiding place here.
Richard Hannon has a wealth of two-year-old talent at Herridge Racing Stables and Sir Prancealot has proven himself to be a class performer. Owned by Andrew Tinkler, this son of Tamayus was an expensive yearling purchase at 140,00euros from Goffs Orby Yearling Sale by Peter & Ross Doyle. From a talented family, the mare won at Listed class on her debut at Deauville before running once more at Group 2 when disappointing. Sir Prancealot has always been held in high regard and after taking his maiden with ease has done nothing but mark himself as a talent. A winner of the National Stakes (Listed), Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 4th, Prix Robert Papin (Group 2) 2nd & Prix Morny (Group 1) 4th illustrate a juvenile which has made his mark in Europe. There is little doubt this bay has the credential to take a race of this nature. Perhaps his only problem could be returning to this minimum trip. He has shown plenty of pace and as many of these will most likely go a stride to fast and fade in the final furlong this may turn out to be his strength. If able to pounce at the finish, a leading chance.
Roger Varian is a credit to his late mentor Michael Jarvis & an exceptional trainer in placing his juveniles to the point that I would always fear these worth opponents. Morawij is a good-looking son of Exceed And Excel and pattern winner. After winning on his racecourse bow, he ran a fine race to finish fourth at Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes (Group 2). The Dragon Stakes (Listed) was no more than a work gallop. This February foal looked nailed on to win the Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) but a late charge by another of today's competitors - Bungleinthejungle - stole the show leading final strides. His most recent effort when finishing last in the Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) was a touch disappointing although this return to the minimum trip is likely to suit.
As stated, the Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) saw a close finish between Varian's juvenile and Bungleinthejungle. This athletic grey colt comes from a decent family and a good buy at 40,000gns. On his Goodwood running it would take a brave soul to pick between Morawij and Bungleinthejungle. However, he needs to put a dire performance in the Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) behind him. There may be a valid excuse with his rearing in the stall but that leaves a question mark which slightly tempers enthusiasm.
There are a couple of talented fillies trying to show the boys a thing or two. Ceiling Kitty was an exceptional purchase at 16,000gns and clearly a durable daughter of Red Clubs being out early season. Dascombe's youngster hasn't put a foot wrong in her last three wins taking the Marygate Fillies' Stakes (Listed) race at York, then the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) at Royal Ascot. This bay filly has the knack of surprising the opposition at fancy odds but will need to be at the top of her game to defy a penalty for that last victory. The stable have her entered to run in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1). A battling type but after some time on the sidelines and level weight with big, strong colts this looks a stiff task.
Hoyam is closely matched with Ceiling Kitty on their Royal Ascot meeting. This daughter of Royal Applause is a progressive filly and Jamie Spencer really knows how to use her strength of waiting off the pace and pouncing late with a searing turn of foot. The ground she made chasing home Ceiling Kitty was impressive. Many felt she would have probably won on another day. A fine performance was seen in the Cherry Hinton Stakes (Group 2) when third behind Maureen. She looks to hold impressive debut winner Fire Eyes on their recent Listed race at York. David Brown's colt - owned by Qatar Racing Ltd - has a tall reputation and may have been a little keen that day but that was an eye-catching performance from Hoyam who holds an ace up her sleeve with her stealth-like tactics.
Of the others, Sound Of Guns is a strapping filly , trained by Ed Walker. This daughter of Acclamation is a talent and always been held in some regard by the stable. The way she won her Yarmouth maiden was something to behold. She was just held by the unbeaten Rosdhu Queen in a Listed race at Newbury, which by all accounts was a class race. The third, Sandreamer, is proven a Group performer and recent Listed winner in Italy.
Dual winner Girl At The Sands is a fair sort, who finishes her races well, but very likely to be outpaced by this opposition. While Welliesinthewater takes a marked step up in grade for Derek Shaw after winning a restricted auction race at Wolverhampton. Both look outclassed and substantial improvement needed.
Conclusion: A fascinating race and one to savour. Some of the brightest two-year-old talents take this flying five furlongs which could be quite a tactical affair. Sir Pancealot has a string of creditable Group performances. It will be interesting how he copes with a return to this minimum trip. I wonder whether Murtagh will employ similar tactics to Hughes. Hold up tactics could well play into this colts hands and it may not suit sitting up with the pace. Hoyam is an intriguing filly and Spencer really holds the key to her supreme efforts. He is likely to sit off the pace and pounce in the final furlong. It would be a great effort to beat the colts but I can see this filly going very well, especially if a few press for the lead and tire at the line. Morawij and Bungleinthejungle are solid performers but I wonder if they are quite up to this grade and may be place candidate rather than winners waiting to happen. Sound Of Guns is another who could go well.