An EBF Maiden Stakes over 7f on good to firm going. Nine two-year-olds: colts and one filly. Most lightly raced bar three debutantes. A few interesting horses and speculative bet that might go well.
Al Khafji wasn't fancied in the betting on debut at Newmarket but far from disgraced. This 150,000gns yearling is owned by Al Shaqab Racing and hails from Bedford House Stables whose juveniles often show marked improvement on their second start. This son of New Approach has been given a Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) entry. If priced 13/2 & less SP has respectable win and place claims.
Scarlet Dragon belied his odds on debut when finishing with verve at Goodwood, third at odds of 40/1. That may not have been the strongest of contests but it shouldn't take away from this son of Sir Percy who looks nailed on to improve for this extra furlong. Henry Ponsonby is a shrewd owner and it is a sign of confidence this bay colt has been given a stakes entry. It suggests to me that winning a maiden is likely and loftier ambition will take seed with time. Another colt who has respectable each-way claims if fancied in the betting.
Sir Michael Stoute is a trainer so highly rated that his two-year-olds are often under priced on their second start. Arab Poet made a pleasing introduction at Windsor over 6f, shaping well. The betting detailed this home bred son of Poet's Voice needed the run. This step up in distance will be in his favour. On statistics alone this chestnut colt has the edge although the price doesn't look value.
Gershwin is interesting. David Lanigan has a pretty poor win rate on debut although a few juveniles have gone in when backed. This son of Shamardal was well backed when making his racecourse bow at Doncaster but never competitive after a slow start. In truth, this 100,000euro yearling buy had no chance after those sluggish tendencies. He was beaten a long way into eighth but, perhaps, better is expected. Owner B E Neilsen of ABBA fame has deep pockets and capable of unearthing a talented horse [Masked Marvel, pictured]. A string of Group entries suggests this colt can be forgiven a poor first start. At speculative odds it isn't beyond the realms he will make a transformation. There is a distinct possibility he could be backed.
Conclusion: From a statistical point of view Al Khafji, Scarlet Dragon and Arab Poet hold respectable each way claims. Gershwin has a lot to prove and needs to leave that debut effort as far behind him as he ran that day. Stranger things have happened and I would have a small each way bet on this colt at big odds. Already been a few nibbles on this one on the exchanges. Unless you can get around 14/1+ I'd take a watching brief. Need some value to take a punt of this nature.
Gershwin Late non runner - spread plate
3:15 Windsor - King of Dreams is held in high regard by connections. This son of Dream Ahead, in the same ownership Khalifa Dasmal cost 240,000gns at Tattersalls October Sales 2014. A Champagne Stakes (Group 2) entry give confidence in what looks to be a relatively weak maiden. At restricted odds I will take a watching brief although be surprised if he is beaten.