A Median Maiden Auction Stakes over 6f on standard ground. Eleven two-year-olds take part: nine colts/gelding and two fillies. The majority of the field are lightly raced. This looks out of four horses.
Richard Hannon is a force to be reckoned when it comes to quality juveniles racing in the familiar silks of Mrs Julie Wood. It's a formula many punters observe as a winner waiting to happen. State Of The Union is an Irish bred son of Approve purchase by Peter & Ross Doyle at the Doncaster Premiere Yearling Sale 2013 for £35,000. This January foal is a good-looking colt out of an unraced mare. He started his career at Newmarket when ridden by Frankie Dettori in what looked to be a pretty hot median auction maiden. Hugo Palmer's Home Of The Brave won comfortably from Athletico [Roger Charlton], the pair clear of State Of The Union, who was similarly proud of the fourth. This chestnut faded in the final furlong but sure to be fitter and wiser today. In some respects it is difficult to assess the form of that third although those ahead are talented. This will be an easier challenge.
Stinky Socks is one of two fillies in this field. This daughter of Footstepsinthesand was fancied to go well on debut and showed ability to chase home Ahlan Emarati [has run well at Group class] after finding herself in a difficult position. Charlie Hills youngster was sent off joint favourite on her next start over the minimum trip at Ascot but finished last, which was simply too bad to be true. With almost 90 days on the sidelines this filly must have suffered an injury. Clearly a horse with ability if not difficult to assess. The betting will give some indication and a marked drift would be a negative.
It's interesting to see Rockaroundtheclock & Spring Loaded returning after racing at Yarmouth over the minimum trip. Both horses will appreciate this step up in distance.
The former trained by Paul Cole is held in some regard and must have frustrated connections on both starts because I know they expected more. A wide draw and inexperience scuppered any hope on debut at Goodwood. This son of Starspangledbanner looks a good breeze-up purchase at 20,000gns. He was expected to go well at Yarmouth but showed signs of inexperience but mainly struggled with the minimum trip. It was probably a combination of factors which saw him flatfooted halfway, then running on with spirit, but all too late. With only four runners it may have been a tactical race, which turned into a two-furlong sprint. The first and second have both franked the form to some extent. Cole will be hopeful this step up to six furlongs helps this colt sit in a handy position and from a decent draw may be driven to lead. There will be no excuses today. If connection's opinions are correct, this horse has enough ability to win.
Paul D'Arcy doesn't have many two-year-olds in training but he is a talented handler. This son of Zebedee was actually purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales for £20,000. This grey/roan colt was well backed on debut and it may be significant that Ryan Moore was booked to ride. By all accounts Spring Loaded was too inexperienced to do himself justice and similar to Rockaroundtheclock hindered, if not by a tactical race but the minimum trip. He never looked like challenging but plugged on with some promise in the final furlong without being pressed. A wide draw isn't ideal but this extra furlong will benefit and there could be ample improvement. It is difficult to assess how he will fair with Cole's juvenile because both are likely to improve but it may be unwise to simply consider he will be beaten by his old adversary.
Conclusion: A tricky race with the top fancies all having ability and all likely to show their form today. State Of The Union is a good-looking colt and the form of that Newmarket maiden may prove to be smart, for the grade. Stinky Socks has to prove she is back on song after a lengthy break and if weak in the betting is probably best watched. Rockaroundtheclock will be primed for a big run and from a favourable draw may lead. If available at each way prices could be worth a bet. I'm intrigued to see how Spring loaded compares to his old adversary. The draw isn't ideal. It's difficult to appreciate whether he can beat that horse but through those circumstances may be a big price in the betting. If forgotten in the market [14/1 or so on the exchanges] may be worth a few quid each way. If priced to chance, a watching brief. A fascinating heat.
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