A maiden stakes over 5f on heavy ground. Eleven two-year-olds declared: five colts, four geldings & two fillies, just over half raced. The showery weather conditions could play a part in whether a high or low draw is favoured.
Tim Easterby is a canny old trainer and already fielded a couple of juveniles worthy of note. In general, the betting tells the story to their chances but Mattmu bellied his 20/1 odds, when a narrow loser at Doncaster on debut. In fact, this Irish-bred son of Indesatchel would have won in a stride or two. This home bred is out of a hardy-sprinting mare, a good-looking colt who should progress from that race. After competing on testing ground on his racecourse bow, this surface shouldn't pose a problem unless the going becomes very testing. The form is difficult to assess and in many respects still has something to prove at short odds.
Bowson Fred has proven a fair level of ability, when making his debut at conditions class at Musselburgh. This bay colt by Monsieur Bond is out of a Listed-winning mare, who was placed in the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) for this stable and ownership. Make no mistake, this March foal ran in a competitive race first start and wasn't disgraced by more experienced/talented juveniles. The winner (Mukhmal) won the Lily Agnes stakes and is heading for Royal Ascot. The fifth, Casterbridge, was placed in the same race at Chester. Bowson Fred was pretty fit for debut and pressed at the two pole when looking to hold every chance but not bullied to finish less than two lengths behind Magical Florence, who showed plenty of dash when fourth in the Brocklesby. There is a lot to like about this colt and if coping with the soft ground has respectable each way claims. If improving a length or two would look to hold strong claims.
Others with form include Monsieur Jimmy who has been well backed on both starts to date but needs something of a transformation after struggling to match the pace of the leaders over course and distance and then tired in the closing stages.
Mountain Man is trained by Michael Easterby but could play second fiddle to Bowson Fred. This gelding started his career in the Brocklesby and wasn't too far behind Mattmu when running on again in the closing stages after being outpaced. This son of Hellvelyn is a sturdy horse with some size and scope but looks a plodder. He may enjoy a test of stamina and could muscle his way at the finish if this becomes a mud bath but not really a horse who looks to have the pace to win unless others are unsuited by underfoot conditions.
Celestial Dancer finished last when unfancied in the betting on debut. Probably best watched unless substantially backed.
Rocco's Delight threw away any chance when slowly away at Thirsk, then veering wildly to his left. This February foal is trained by John Wainwright, who doesn't have many juvenile runners these days. However, there was money for this son of Multiplex on debut and he is a fair-looking gelding. A high draw may appeal to connections to take the near-side rail and at huge odds could be worth a speculative each way punt.
The debutantes will need to be fit and well to make an impact on these testing conditions. Triggers Boom, hails from Richard Fahey's stable and few trainers come close to his first time out statistics. One of two fillies competing, this Irish daughter of Arcano will need to be a fair prospect to deny the boys. On the plus side, she is an early January foal and cost £50,000 at the yearling sales. The stable's two-year-olds hold fair win and placed claims when priced 13/2 & less on debut.
Miami Carousel is a February foal by first-season sire Zebedee. This bay colt is trained by John Quinn who is no stranger to a decent two-year-old. A £42,000 yearling, the stable usually put the money down if they have a fair sort and the betting is the best guide. Could go well if fancied.
Bryan Smart has been pretty quiet this early season and fields a home bred called Straightothepoint. This son of Kyllachy is out of a three-times winning mare [Choisette] who was similarly owned and trained. A high draw is probably a difficult pitch unless it favours running down that rail. The stable feature fair win and place claims when priced at 13/2 & less.
Northgate Lad hails from Brian Ellison's stable. Generally, their juveniles struggle to win on debut although it is worth noting this gelding has been given a stakes race entry. This could be a sign of confidence. I would take a watching brief.
Conclusion: The ground and draw bring plenty of question marks about this race. Whether it will be a positive or negative to have a high or low draw only time will tell. It is worth watching the first race on the card to come to some conclusion. Mattmu is a good-looking colt and a narrow loser on debut naturally brings this horse into consideration. However, the form of that race is difficult to assess. I would take a watching brief although respect this horse's chances. Bowson Fred ran well on debut in a tough race. If improving a length or two, must go well and could be a decent each way selection. Testing ground is always a concern and needs to be factored into the price. Looks to set the standard. The betting is the best guide for the debutantes and Triggers Boom, Miami Carousel & Straightothepoint have fair each way claims if priced 13/2 & less. I would give the latter a watching brief from a high draw. Rocco's Delight may be worth a hit and hope at fantastic odds. Wainwright has fielded a few two-year-old winners at this course in his time and could set sail against the rail and make a speculative each way punt. Bowson Fred looks a fair juvenile and of interest at decent odds but the soft ground does bring concerns and tempers enthusiasm.