An EBF Maiden Stakes over 5f34y on good to soft going. Fair prize money for this fourteen-strong field of twelve colts and two fillies, one raced. A number of leading stables represented and starting point for a good few talented horses.
David Elsworth won this contest last year with Justice Day. This multiple-winning two-year-old colt proved consistent - including an outstanding third in the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1).
David Elsworth has his first two-year-old runner, similarly owned in the silks of Robert Ng. Justice Good is a March foal by Acclamation who cost 65,000gns at the yearling sales. This bay colt is out of a winning mare, who didn't race at two. It could be the case that Elsworth targets this race with his precocious juveniles. However, he features a poor strike rate with his debutantes. The stable's youngsters can win if priced 10/1 & less on debut but they can be very hit and miss. This will be a competitive betting heat I would consider a bold show if strongly fancied. If weak in the markets this horse may need the run.
Richard Hannon has sent out three two-year-old horses this season and all have won. The stable have a wealth of talented juveniles and they have done well in this race. Last year they had the runner-up in Steventon Star, Malachim Mist (8th) & Biography (12th). All went on to win, the two former winning at Stakes class.
Be Bold is a son of Assertive out of a poor mare, which cost £20,000 at the yearling sales. This February foal was quoted by Hannon as ''working well up at Everleigh on Tuesday''. *Crafty Choice is ridden by Ryan Moore. Similarly purchased by Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock Ltd, this bay colt cost 70,000gns. This March foal isn't quite two and sired by Intikhab out of a a talented five-time winning mare, trained by Hannon Snr. The betting is the best guide to their respective chances and the most favoured in the betting should have sound each way claims.
Another talented trainer of two-year-olds is Richard Fahey. Ballymore Castle is a brown colt by Invincible Spirit out of a Group 3 winning mare who liked a trip. The betting is the best guide and if priced 13/2 & less has fair win and place claims.
John Gosden is represented by his first two-year-old runner of the season. Kasb is an exceptionally well bred son of Arcano out of a fantastic mare, Cape Columbine, who may have only one win in her career but competed at Group 1 level on four occasions. This horse is wearing the second colours for Hamdan Al Maktoum. The second string often go well for this owner. The stable have respectable win and place claims with horses priced 13/2 & less, especially if strongly fancied.
It is interesting to see Paul Hanagan booked to ride Kibaar, trained by John Hills. This son of Pastoral Pursuits rose in price from 16,000gns as a foal to a 100,000gns yearling. Hills doesn't inspire confidence with his debutnates although on the other side of the coin he has few juveniles fancied on their racecourse bow. If strongly fancied I would take this horse as having ability.
Mick Channon has been a little slow with his juveniles this early part of the season (not that there has been many races) and King Crimson has a wide draw (1) which isn't the best starting point. Channon's debutantes have fair win and place claims if priced 8/1 & less but few horses win outside this guide.
Kennet Valley Thoroughbred Ltd are a syndicate who are always worthy of respect - they have the knack of finding talented two-year-olds. This son of first season sire Zebedee looks a good purchase at 35,000euros. Charlie Hills said: ''Magical Memory has always been forward at home and done enough to do himself justice.'' [Information found via Horse Trainer Directory]. The stable have fair each way claims when their juveniles are priced 13/2 & less on debut.
I'm a big fan of Olly Steven's stable. He made a huge impact on his formative season and his first juvenile of this campaign is The Paco Kid. From a small sample it is still quite difficult to get a handle on Robin Farm Racing. However, they were represented by Green Door in this race last year who went on to win the Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2). If priced 13/2 & less would be high on the short list.
The only form horse in this field is one of two fillies, trained by David Evans. This handler has his juveniles fit and forward. He is a canny trainer and should be respected. This daughter of Hellvelyn was a cheap buy at just £3,000. This bay finished second on debut at Kempton, although hammered by Tiggy Wiggy. Richard Hannon said they were surprised their winner had such a decisive success. A talented horse without doubt. It is difficult to assess the merit of Charlie's Star. She will be fit and most probably set the pace but not a horse I would back because this will be a stiffer task.
Diamond Sam is a home bred son of Compton Place out of a Group raced mare, who run in the same silks as Mrs Philip Snow. Sylvester Kirk has a poor strike rate with debutantes and unless seriously backed is best watched.
Arlecchino's Leap is trained by Mark Usher and cost 20,000gns at the yearling sales. The stable have a poor strike rate with debutantes although their first runner, Spindle, ran well when second at Southwell.
Royal Street & Now Say Boooom are best watched.
Conclusion: A difficult race to be too dogmatic. The betting will need to settle to give a better understanding of these leading trainers. The likes of Hannon, Fahey, Gosden, Channon, Hills & Olly Stevens are all capable of sending out debut winners. In addition, David Elsworth may earmark this race for a decent early type. All have fair win and place claims if priced 13/2 & less. It's intriguing to see John Hills' Kibaar racing in the first colours. There is conflict with the trainer having a poor strike rate on debut although he doesn't have many at short odds. A difficult horse to assess. A fascinating race but a watching brief.
*NR [Crafty Choice]