A maiden Stakes over 5f on good ground. Just five two year olds: three colts, two fillies, including one horse with race experience.
Tawakkol showed promise on debut, although a beaten favourite. He is trained by Mark Johnston who has made a sparkling start to the season.
This son of Firebreak is out of Listed-raced mare purchased at the yearling sales by Shadwell Estate for £70,000.
Make no mistake this bay colt is a beautiful specimen - with size and scope to progress with racing. Turning tracks are far from ideal for debutantes, especially when racing against horses with experience. Tardy from the stalls, this youngster took strides to gather pace, losing a good few lengths. In search of space, he ran wide on the bend, making headway in the final furlong, but never quite getting on terms. In many respects he would be better over 6f. Johnston's charge is sure to benefit from that first start and with over two weeks off course a more professional display should be seen. It is a sign of confidence that Tawakkol was made favourite on his racecourse bow and notably entered for a stakes race before setting foot on a track. The form of that debut is fair. This stiffer course will suit this resolute galloper who will run to the line. A handsome colt, he ticks a lot of boxes although, ideally, would appreciate further.
Four debutantes make stiff opposition - trainers big and small.
Richard Fahey has started this new flat turf season in a similar vein as Mark Johnston in both numbers of runners and success. Black Magic is a grey son of first-season sire Poet's Voice out of a talented French mare [Centifolia] who won four times including the Criterium De Maisons-Laffitte (Group 2) at two. She raced once at Group 1 the following season but disappointed at the highest level. Mrs H Steel is a loyal owner and this colt was purchased as a yearling by R F Racing for 45,000eur. It is worth noting that this colt has been entered to run in a stakes race, which often pinpoints future winners. The stable have a good strike rate at this course and a healthy points profit [a few big-priced winners]. They feature good win and place statistics with debutantes. Black Magic gives away valuable experience but there are indicators this horse has ability.
John Quinn made a name for himself as a two year old trainer last season with the mighty efforts of The Wow Signal - achieving Group 1 success. Racing Venture was bred by Clive Cox and purchased at the yearling sales for £25,000. This Irish son of first-season sire Lilbourne Lad is out of an unraced mare. I have always considered this course a place where Quinn has started a number of talented horses although his two year old strike rate here is relatively poor. The stable have fair win and place claims with debutantes priced 13/2 & less. With such a small field such betting guides are likely to be skewed and difficult to appreciate.
Two fillies complete the field.
Tom Dascombe has run a couple of fancied two year olds and both have shown good pace before tiring, providing poor displays. Manor House Stables must have been disappointed by those lackluster efforts and it does bring some question to today's debutante Four's Company. This January foal, the eldest in this field, is an Irish-bred daughter of Fast Company out of a winning mare and a relatively cheap yearling purchase at 13,000eur. This stable have fair win and place claims with debutantes priced 7/1 & less (most win at 11/2 & less).
Sharon Watt has a small string of horses and from reviewing Horses in Training 2015 this is her sole two year old. Calpurnia is a daughter of Sleeping Indian out of a limited mare. This home bred looks to have a lot to prove. Major E J Watt [owner/father of trainer] was successful with Bee Brave who won on debut at 50/1 in 2012.
Conclusion: An interesting race where the once-raced Tawakkol will be many punters idea of the winner. This handsome colt will probably make these look lesser by comparison and sure to improve for his debut. This stiffer test will help but and extra furlong may be even better. The horse to beat but at the odds I would have to watch. Black Magic hails from a top two year old stable who can ready a juvenile on their racecourse bow. Being entered for a stakes race is a sign of confidence. Racing Venture & Four's Company hold fair claims if priced at 13/2 & less. However, with a small field this betting guide doesn't help identify weakness. The latter, trained by Tom Dascombe, has sent out a couple of juvenile which done little. I would take a watching brief on this filly. Calpurnia has a lot to prove. A watching brief on this race.