A Median Auction Maiden Stakes over 5f on standard going. Nine three-year-olds take part: five colts/geldings and four fillies. A mix of raced horses with a sales median price of not more than £22,000. Quite a restricted race type, which favours those with a proven level of form. While many racing fan will be keen to see the Cheltenham betting this all-weather race could be worth an interest.
Kevin Ryan is a trainer to be respected and Proclamationofwar looked a sure-fire winner after an encouraging debut at two. This son of Proclamation has been tested at a much higher level than this on all five starts to date. This bay gelding finished runner-up on his second and third start (beaten odds-on favourite at Carlisle). It is probably a fair comment to say connections finished the season with frustration. He couldn't follow in the hoof prints of his parents who both proved triumphant in their first season. By all accounts this is a marked drop in class and it would seem owners are looking for that elusive first. You have to trust that the horse is fit and well after such a lay off. The stable have been in decent form of late and feature a good strike rate at this course. Tom Queally is a slightly unusual jockey booking. This favourite is the main danger to rivals and could run these ragged. He is certainly a long way ahead on the official rating, but, still in some respects, has something to prove. I would rather plump for a fair each way opponent than back this horse at short favourite.
Eva Clare made her belated appearance for owners The Mount Club Racing after failing to reach the track at two. This daughter of Majestic Missile was a relatively cheap purchase at 10,000euros. She made a pleasing debut at Wolverhampton over the minimum distance at the beginning of the month. There is no getting away from the fact that was a very moderate race. The 1/4f had this bay filly beaten by experience, racing clear, and always holding a comfortable lead. Karl Burke is a talented trainer and this youngster was given a considerate introduction and enjoyed the experience. There could be ample improvement but that was such a poor race it is difficult to get a grip where she would figure compare to the favourite. However, this youngster will be primed today and must have fair each way claims if prices allow.
Another filly with a fighting chance is Fredricka. Gary Moss kept this daughter of Assertive busy over her two-year-old campaing. In fact, although a cheap yearling purchase at £4,000, this chestnut filly was always well regarded on the gallops. In truth, she ran a number of times over sprint distances and was never beaten more than a few lengths. An eighth in the Hilary Needler Trophy was particularly encouraging. If fit and ready to go - a decent each way bet at odds of four or five to one.
The likes of Camanche Grey, Mahon Falls & Tinchy Ryder have show glimmers of form but have something to prove against the major contenders.
Incurs Four Faults, Luv U Honey and Robbian are best watched.
Conclusion: It's a concern when horse encounter this surface for the first time. Proclamationofwar is one of those horses which will either win easily or fail miserably. This looks a drop in class and connection must be hoping to use this as a confidence builder. However, at short odds I would have to take a watching brief. Eva Clare is interesting for Karl Burke. She will improve a good deal for that initial start but needs to. It is difficult to get a grip on that debut form. From a statistical point of view she must have each way claims and deserves respect. Fredricka has been unlucky not to have got her head in front. A gritty sort, she has the experience to take advantage of any lacking and if fit and ready must go well at this grade. I would be tempted to favour Fredricka & Eva Clare to hit the frame and hope the favourite disappoints.