A busy weekend on the horizon. I had intended to get to York on Friday but a change of plans sees me head to the Norfolk coast to enjoy sun, sea breeze and flutter at the casino at Great Yarmouth. Believe it or not, this resplendent building was a regular haunt of Edward VII [son of Queen Victoria]. For those of you who love their classic online games from poker, roulette, black Jack, slots and more take a look at www.casinomidas.com.au for a great experience.
Well, we have a race to savour. The EBF Marygate Fillies' Stakes (Listed Race) over 5f on good going. By class of race, this is the best two-year-old contest of the season thus far. Excellent win prize money over £22,000. Eleven juveniles take part: ten raced, including six winners, four unbeaten, and solitary newcomer. On balance, a competitive race with fillies of abundant potential.
One of the major fancies is Irish raider Athas An Bhean, trained by Adrian Paul Keatley. He hails from Dunlavin, County Kildare. This daughter of Royal Applause is out of a group-raced mare. A bargain buy, she was sold for just 1,500GNS at the yearling sales. She won in comfortable fashion on debut at Cork, in testing conditions, by four lengths.
Mark Johnston has been in tremendous form with a powerful string of juveniles. Delizia put up a professional display when victorious on debut at Wolverhampton. This daughter of Dark Angel was sent off a well-backed favourite, beating a couple of talented horses. It is difficult to limit a winning horse. Kingsley House Stables have such a wealth of horses that Delizia must be respected.
I've always rooted for the underdog and in many respects Mel Brittain fits that bill as a relatively small trainer. French is owned, trained and bred by the handler. She impressed on debut when sauntering past her rivals. This chestnut filly was bought-in by Brittain at the yearling sales for a paltry £800. Sired by Monsieur Bond, she is a good-looking horse with size and scope to progress with racing. The style of that first race favoured her, where rivals battled for the lead, as she finished with zeal winning by one-and-a-half lengths. There is a chance this March foal was flattered although I would give her the benefit of the doubt. There was something about that debut which gives hope.
Tony Coyle is a canny trainer and there is little doubt New Road Side left the stable with big expectations first start. This bay daughter of Paco Boy is another bargain buy at just £11,000. She was purchased by the trainer for Morecool Racing & Partner. The form of that debut effort is nothing to talk about but she trounced the field. In additional, this youngster is good looking with size and strength. Coyle has taken his time, waiting for this Listed contest, and clearly has her future planned. If going close connections will be heading to Royal Ascot.
Silk Bow showed good pace on debut in the Brocklesby Stakes, but tired rapidly at the furlong maker, finishing down the field in eighth. James Givens had two horses in that race for owners The Cool Silk Partnership. It would seem likely this daughter of Elusive City was second string that day and in need of the run. The way she won on her second start at Chelmsford City gives evidence to that opinion. That was a taking performance, travelling well and easing clear to win by two-and-a-half lengths. The second horse, Fashionable Spirit, was placed in the Lily Agnes Stakes, to bolster the form. The third, Anwar, is capable, while the fourth, Princess Kodia, showed good speed in a hot race at Ascot. I was impressed with this filly and left with the impression there's more to come.
Since Noel Quinlan gave up the ghost on his training aspirations, Lil's Joy has changed stables and now housed with Giles Bravery. This filly was fancied on debut - what turned out to be a strong contest. This daughter of Lilbourne Lad ran well next start at Nottingham and somewhat unlucky to fall prey to another Fahey talent in Kept Under Wraps. Lil's Joy isn't the biggest of fillies and may find one or two better class.
Richard Fahey has been in exceptional form with his two year olds this season detailing a win strike rate that would be the envy of all trainers. Considering he has a strong hand it is interesting to see Sadie Babes comes here after a nice introduction. The winner, Furiant, is held in high regard. The form of that race is difficult to assess. However, it must be an endorsement for her trainer to race at this level.
Abberley Dancer & Sakhee's Jem finished first and third, respectively, at Chelmsford City. The winner, trained by Stan Moore, has size and scope but this looks a step up in class and I would take a watching brief on both.
It's interesting that Brian Ellison sends Baby Ballerina here after a disappointing effort at Beverley. I was surprised this daughter of Kheleyf was such a big price that day, which implied she has limitations. In truth, I don't think the tactics employed favoured this bay filly because she was on the back foot at Musselburgh. Perhaps connections expected more that day. Her chances would be improved if held up off the pace to finish the race. I have doubts at this class.
The only debutante in the field is White Bullet. This daughter of Exceed And Excel is a recent Breeze-up purchase for £30,000 [45,000GNS yearling]. Kevin Ryan does well with his juveniles but it would be a superb effort to win this contest on her racecourse bow. A horse that is likely to win this season but would have to be a watching brief.
Conclusion: A difficult race to be too dogmatic. Connections will have their sights set on Royal Ascot. Four unbeaten fillies make this a difficult race to assess. Many have the potential to shine. Mark Johnston has a good string of juveniles so that speaks well for Delizia. French would be a dream come true for Mel Brittain. New Road Side beat little on debut but is a good-looking filly who could hold claims. Sadie Babes has to be respected simply because Richard Fahey has a lot of winners in his stable to make a fair judgement. Silk Bow showed a touch of class to win on her second start and at the double-figure odds would be a tentative each-way selection.