|Ffrench In Action At Wolves|
Nine two-year-olds take part in this intriguing race. Six colts, three fillies, the majority raced.
Bapak Bangsawan has been a busy boy for Kevin Ryan running five time so far. This son of Pastoral Pursuits is a home bred with bristling pace. There is a lot to like about his last two efforts, when returning to the minimum trip. This May foal was only collard in the closing stages at Southwell by a decent filly and similarly when taking his chance at York. It was surprising to see this bay colt touch huge odds-on in-running because although he held every chance he never quite ran away from the field. By all accounts he could well be defined at a short runner. However, turning courses are often easier than straight five furlongs and from a low draw Bapak Bangsawan may just about last home. This youngster could well be a good back to lay if following those bold front-running tactics. At times, making such assumptions can be a costly exercise because it often coincides with a change of plans. Time will tell whether Amy Ryan tries to lead all the way or hold-up tactics are employed. This colt has plenty of speed but prone to be caught in the final furlong.
Bryan Smart has had a relatively quiet season with his juveniles but Moviesta is held in some regard by the stable. Owned by Harry Redknapp, this breeze-up purchase cost 44,000gns from a decent family. This American bred son of Hard Spun was well backed on debut but struggled from a wide draw, which could well have been the difference between winning and losing. It is never ideal for a debutante to be on the flank. Inexperience was costly but there is little doubt in my mind he was fit and ready to go that day. Eaves certainly didn't hold back in his efforts when racing over the minimum distance. He stepped up to 6f next start and, once again, was fancied in the betting. The field were strung out at the line in what was probably a decent race. The winner, Melody Of Love, is held in high regard by Ann Duffield. She was runner-up at listed class next start. The third ran creditably when losing by a neck at Warwick. Moviesta took a keen hold that day which may have left him susceptible to a strong finisher. There is a lot to like about this colt but a wide draw could be a thorn in his side. With a number of the opposition looking moderate I would be hopeful this colt will sit just off the pace. This drop back to 5f should curb his tendency to race too free.
Marco Botti is a class trainer and Miako a good-looking chestnut colt. This breeze-up purchase cost £65,000 after not being sold at Keeneland sales as a yearling. He was well backed on debut but eased when all chance of winning had faded. He looked to have little hope of beating huge odds-on shot New Fforest over course and distance next start. However, connections must have been disappointed by a seemingly half-hearted effort. It wouldn't be a surprise to find the stable expected more. Many of the Botti two-year-olds run their best race third start so it could pay to be careful with this youngster intent on laying this horse. He may be capable of better but needs to show more to win.
Ann Duffield has a stable full of two-year-olds and a number of talents. Rangooned ran a fair race on debut at this course but dropping back a furlong. She had her work cut out against the first three who had experience and a ability. Finishing just behind Annie Gogh would suggest improvement is needed. The betting is the best guide to this fillies' chances. If priced 13/2 & less this grey has fair place claims.
Of the others, the two debutantes make most appeal although they will need to be primed to trouble the major contenders who will burst from the stalls.
Lebresem is trained by James Tate and owned by Saeed Manana. I've been impressed by his trainer, especially the way a number of his juveniles have run big races on debut, often at fancy odds. A relatively wide draw is a concern and a turning track can bring problems for inexperienced horses. This youngster has a tough task keeping tabs on the likes of Bapak Bangsawan and Moviesta.
Another class trainer who deserves respect is William Muir. His debutantes don't feature the best strike rate but they often prime one or two for big debut runs, especially at this course. Secret Missile - a son of Sakhee's Secret - cost £45,000 at the yearling sale when purchased by Muir. I would take a watching brief but from a low draw it isn't beyond the realms to see this colt run well at a price.
Conclusion: Experience counts for a lot on a turning course and a couple of these juveniles have an abundance of pace. It would be a brave soul to back against Bapak Bangsawan and Moviesta. The former is very fast if let loose but looks prone at the finish. Whether this turning course will help him last to the line is a matter for debate. There is no guarantee front-running tactics will be employed. Personally, I would rather see this youngster try to lead all the way but after a couple of failed attempts Ryan may save him for a fighting finish. Moviesta is the most guaranteed of the pair although a wide draw does bring some conflict. As it's a moderate field I can see Ffrench sitting just off the pace and try to catch the pigeon if it flies. At restricted odds it does temper my enthusiasm to bet although the horse to beat. The rest have their work cut out. Most need to improve and the debutantes will need to be smart and primed to keep competitive in the early stages. They are likely to be outpaced.