A Maiden Stakes over 5f 13y on good to firm ground. Seven two year olds take part: six colts and one filly. Two horses have race experience. Last year, this race was won by Burtonwood on his second start. His best effort came in the Woodcote Stakes (Listed) at Epson, where he finished fourth behind Baitha Alga.
Raj To Riches, trained by David Evans, was an unlucky loser of debut at Windsor when caught on the line. This son of Iffraaj makes a quick return in what could be a more competitive race. This chestnut colt was well backed that day. It was a significant pointer being entered to run in the Brocklesby Stakes. Raj To Riches looked primed to go on debut, on his toes in the paddock and behind the stalls, athletic if not sparingly made. Flying from the stalls, this speedy type looked certain to win but showed signs of inexperience in the closing two furlongs. It is difficult to assess the form of that race although I was left with the feeling that most needed the race. David Evans' runners have fair win and place claims on their second start when priced 7/2 & less. He looks the type of horse who will break well and hope to hold that advantage to the line.
Sir Dudley ran in the Brocklesby Stakes, finishing someway down the field in fifth place. This Irish son of Arcano is out of a winning mare. Trained by James Given in the familiar silks of The Cool Silk Partnership, he was quite well backed with a starting price of 9/2. This February foal is a fair looking juvenile but ring rusty, outpaced and never in contention. It could well be a positive he was fancied in the betting but he needs to find ample improvement to figure here. The stable have a poor win and place strike rate with fancied horses on their second start.
Five debutantes make intriguing opposition from established stables.
The only filly in the field is Caitie, trained by Paul Cole, owned by loyal patron A H Robinson. This bay daughter of first-season sire Canford Cliffs is out of a twice Listed-placed mare [The Shrew], She was unplaced in the 1000 Guineas. Caitie was purchased by Oliver Cole for 40,000gns at the yearling sales. The betting is the best guide. Debutantes from this stable have fair win and place claims when priced 8/1 & less. However, few horses win at bigger odds.
Tom Dascombe is a talented trainer of two year olds and very much a gambling stable. Fresh Arugula is an early foal, a bay colt sired by Fast Company out of a twice-winning mare. He cost 55,000gns at the yearling sales. Manor House Stables often go well with horses making their racecourse bow and if priced 7/1 & less (generally 11/2 & less) they feature fair win and place claims.
Gittan is a son of Kodiac out of a poor mare. This bay colt cost 55,000gns at the yearling sales, rising in value from a foal. Owners Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar have seen their racing silks adorn talents such as Danchai, Toofi & Justineo. Richard Hannon's stable has such a vast string of two year olds that they should always be respected. I find this stable difficult to call but if fancied in the betting has claims.
Mark Johnston is another trainer with a mighty string of juveniles. His team have been going well since the first day of the Flat turf season. Riflescope is a January foal sired by Raven's Pass out of a winning mare. This colt cost 130,000gns [52,000gns foal] when purchased by John Ferguson Bloodstock at the yearling sales. Kingsley House Stable have plenty of form lines to asses their juveniles although I find them tricky to pinpoint on debut. On breeding, this bay colt may need further.
Godolphin have fielded three juveniles this season - all relatively fancied in the betting - but all have trailed home either last or second from last. Charlie Appleby has trained this lackluster trio but there may be hope with Seastrom. This son of Oasis Dream is out of a talented mare [Seta] who won on debut, third in May Hill Stakes (Goup 2), unplaced in the 1000 Guineas. She was highly tried at Group class, while winning three times at Listed. This colt was purchased at the yearling sales for 425,000gns. A beautifully bred juvenile who is worthy of respect.
Conclusion: A fascinating race. Raj To Riches sets the standard and bar a head-bob is a winner in a maiden race. There isn't much of this colt and he was primed for debut. Connections must have been peeved he lost that day and this looks a tougher race. The Windsor contest didn't look that competitive and most of the field needed the race. Evans two year old showed inexperienced when all but a winner, hanging and awkward in the closing stages. The apprentice is in the saddle to give every advantage. Evans is a canny stick and he will use their experience and set the pace hoping to gain an easy lead and hold all-comers at the death. If betting, I would lay your stake bet in-running at even money - praying you hold on! I would have concerns these may be better horses and experience will definitely be their trump card. It wouldn't surprise me if Sir Dudley has more ability than seen on debut in the Brocklesby. Given's stable have poor statistics with fancied runners on their second start which puts me off. I'd rather watch this horse and learn. With such a small field the betting may be skewed in trying to assess the debutantes. However, all should be respected if priced 7/1 & less. Godolphin's two year olds have looked poor this season but Seastrom is bred to be a decent colt and I would suspect he will go well. A watching brief for me. The main pointer is if backing Raj To Riches try and cover your bet if he gains an easy lead.
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