An EBF Novices Stakes over 5f 10y on soft going. Originally nine two-year-olds but a couple of non-runners posted early with the testing conditions. David Evans had Deningy entered and I would watch out for this colt. A field of debutantes bar two form horses which catch the eye and set a fair challenge to those making their racecourse bow.
David Evan is a canny, old stick. To be honest, I think he is as crafty as a magician because he tries his utmost to get a price on a decent winning opportunity. That was the case with Awesome Allan who was well backed if not a touch lucky when winning over course and distance just over two weeks ago. This son of Acclamation looked professional and set the pace with Full Intention, looking held in the closing stages but led on post after Richard Kingsgate basically lost the race when trying to change his hands and his mount idled to be nabbed on the line.
The form of that race looks fair. Awesome Allan holds an entry for Ascot on Wednesday, a fully blown Stakes race rather than these pseudo-stakes races. Connections must be fancying this is an easier race especially carrying a 6lb penalty. This bay colt will most likely try to lead and has each-way claims but this may be a tougher race than Evans had originally envisaged.
Copper Knight, trained by Hugo Palmer, will take some beating. This son of Sir Prancealot was relatively fancied on debut when contesting a strong race at Newmarket. Sutter County prevailed and shouldered a penalty, while Tomily and Copper Knight done little wrong to finish third and fourth , respectively.
This January foal was professional and showed plenty of natural pace and, at times, looked the major threat. Anglian Bloodstock has a decent juvenile on their hands for £30,000. I was hoping for an each-way price because I would be surprised if this bay colt doesn't go very well.
The two form horses set a standard that most maidens would struggle to contend. However, there are a few interesting juveniles here from leading trainers which may have a future and worthy of consideration here.
Ralph Beckett does pretty well at Windsor and Dr Julius No is a January foal sired by Dick Turpin out of a once-race mare. He cost £30,000 at the yearling sales. The stable can win on debut and at decent odds so one to respect although I would take a watching brief unless seriously backed.
Brian Meehan has a couple of entrants: Jet Setter & Son Castello. The former is an Irish son of Fast Company and cost £57,000 when purchased at the yearling sales by Sam Sangster Bloodstock. He is a full brother to Maccus, who won on debut at this course, then disappointing at Royal Ascot in the Coventry Stakes Group 2. Meehan is a difficult trainer to assess with his debutantes although his better juveniles often win and progress with racing. He features a decent strike rate at the course as does Spencer in the saddle. The owner, Jonathan Harvey, has done well with Burano although the stable has sent out two horses in the last couple of weeks and both ran poorly.
Son Castello is an Irish son of Lilbourne Lad out of an unraced mare. This £20,000 yearling was purchased by Sam Sangster Bloodstock. Owner, J S Threadwell, has tasted success with class horse Helene Brilliant who raced at Group 1 class. Probably best watched if priced in double figures although a stable who can go well with debutantes priced 8/1 and less.
Richard Hannon needs little introduction at Windsor and Legendary Lunch is quite interesting. This chestnut son of Dragon Pulse cost £78,000 when purchased at the yearling sales by Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock. This is one of four two-year-olds entered to run at Ascot (Wednesday) which looks a very hot contest. This could well be a sign of confidence and a horse to respect from a plum draw.
Hawridge Glory is best watched.
Conclusion: Awesome Allan is no mug and a proven winner. That was a fair race although he will need to use every bit of his experience to defy a penalty and one or two hearty opponents. I can imagine a bold front-running display but I would be fearful there will be something better. Copper Knight ran very well on debut. He travelled well and held every chance and wasn't hard pressed. Hugo Palmer will be expecting a win and that will most likely happen. The only quandary is whether even money relates to value. There isn't much meat on the bone at that price and although a hard horse to beat I couldn't bet at those odds. Legendary Lunch is worthy of respect but once again the odds seem to offer very little value (tissue price 5/2). A watching brief unless Copper Knight drifts markedly in the betting.