Saturday 11 July 2009

Racing Ahead Article

(Published in last months Racing Ahead magazine a few weeks back. We'll publish this months picks in a week or two, to provide additional betting opportunities)

HCE heralds the starts of a new monthly round-up dedicated to two-year-old racing, pinpointing some of the most exciting juveniles in Flat race training. Whether you are keen to note a potential speculative bet or find a two-year-old with a touch of class, our approach highlights a select number of juveniles for your consideration. With the majority of these youngsters being lightly raced or yet to make their debut, this is your chance to gain a privileged insight to a number of juveniles that have caught our eye from trainers big and small.

Bebenine (Patrick Morris)
After a couple of disappointing efforts, this juvenile is still of interest. Bebenine is a filly of limited ability but she has an abundance of natural speed, which could see her well in a poor auction maiden or selling race over 5f, especially on a turning track. Nothing went right for her at Chester and then she ran much too free at Leicester in a competitive race that was a grade too high. Dropped in class, a better run can be expected. It may be wise to lay your stake in-running, if betting on the exchanges, as she is likely to blaze a trail and then it’s a matter of holding on. A good bet at a speculative price.

Bob Goes Electric (J R Best)
John Best has not made his normal encouraging start to the two-year-olds season. However, with a large string of juveniles, it is only a matter of time before the winners begin to flow. This colt by Camacho was well backed on debut at Goodwood, which is an encouraging sign from this yard. A big, strong colt he showed very good speed for much of that race (probably too much) and tired to finish eighth of nine runners. Best has a very poor win rate on debut and I can quite imagine that everything happened all too quickly that day and much better will be expected on his second start. Having been entered to run in a stakes and listed race, there are certainly signs that this cheaply bought youngster has ability. Best has much better statistics on his second start and after this initial disappointment could be a decent bet at a price.

Count Bertoni (T P Tate)
Tom Tate has been noted as saying he has a great bunch of two-year-olds this season and Count Bertoni should be forgiven an indifferent performance at Doncaster. Having shown great promise in an auction race on debut at Newcastle (a race that is working out well) this bay colt by Bertolini was bumped when leaving the stalls at Doncaster and lost many lengths. From that point, his race was lost. He finished a remote sixth. Clearly much better can be expected after this unfortunate twist and Tate will be hoping this juvenile can add to his recent tally of winners.

Excellent Guest (G G Margarson)
It’s always a good sign to see a juvenile run in a stakes race on debut and this big, strong colt by Exceed And Excel is clearly going to win a race or two. Margarson has trained a number of talented two-year-olds and Excellent Guest ran a very good race at Yarmouth over 6f. For much of that race he travelled as well as the winner, which is no easy task in a race of that type and in need of the experience. Given a considerate ride, this two-year-old will be achieving greater success and most likely contesting at a higher level before long. Being trained by a less fashionable stable (but nonetheless talented) the odds are likely to be greater than many yards. This grand-looking colt could be a new Imperial Guest, who done so well for connections last season.

Exgray (B Smart)
Brian Smart is a name always to be associated with two-year-olds and this grey filly by Exceed And Excel is a talented juvenile. Losing out in a head-bob finish to Capercaillie on debut at Musselburgh, the form of this initial effort will be proven to be better than most juveniles will attain in a whole season. Outpaced and seemingly not travelling with any zeal, Smart’s juvenile ran on with a fighting attitude, narrowly losing out to Johnston’s two-year-old, which will no doubt be seen at Royal Ascot. That Musselburgh race was a very strong and even the third and fourth, beaten a long way, have enough ability to win. Exgray is a name to remember.

Hathaway (W M Brisbourne)
It is all good and well noting potentially top-notch two-year-olds but sometimes the only way to get a good speculative bet is to look towards a smaller but often just as talented trainer. This juvenile may be worth a punt at a price. Mark Brisbourne is a canny trainer and although he may not have a sizable string of two-year-olds he has certainly trained a few decent juveniles in his career. Hathaway ran well at Thirsk when making her first appearance over 5f and attracted support in the betting. After a slow start, she progressed nicely through the field and ran on quite well at the finish. This daughter of Redback may be a cheap purchase but she is well put together and has a fluent running style. Perhaps only an average filly, ideally an auction maiden would probably be her level – an interesting wager at a price.

Layali Al Andalus (M Johnston)
Mark Johnston is one the most talented trainers of two-year-olds and every season he unearths a few gems that often inherent a gritty winning attitude. This substantial bay colt by Halling could well build on a promising debut. It was no surprise to see his inexperience at Ayr against the likes of the more professional Flying Statesman and Fantastic prince, who both knew what is expected of them. This is a colt has lots of scope for improvement and will probably benefit for running over further in time. Johnston has a number of decent two-year-olds; especially the exciting filly, Capercaillie, and this stable mate with the wordy name could well sign himself as a winner very soon.

Saint Sebastian (E S McMahon)
This juvenile may be a good bet through strange circumstances – a bit of a hunch bet. Saint Sebastian made his debut at Newcastle over 6f on rain-softened ground. This course can have its idiosyncrasies and I wonder if the track had a rather strange bias that evening. The first three home, all ran down the middle of the course, while Danzoe, Toga Tiger and McMahon’s colt, all fancied in the betting, ran over the far side. I would certainly note the running of these juveniles on their next outings as they may have been greatly inconvenienced that day. Considering Saint Sebastian beat these form horses by over four lengths this two-year-old could have been made to look much worse and a big price may be your reward.

Silenceofthewind (K Burke)
Karl Burke can do little wrong with his juveniles this season and this talented trainer has another two-year-old of interest in the name of Silenceofthewind. With a colossal price tag of $310,000 this handsome bay colt by Eddington will need to hit the heights to pay back such a vast sum and time will tell if that is a possibility. Taking part in a competitive stakes race on debut at Pontefract was never going to be an easy start to a career. Well backed, and noted as being held in high regard by his trainer, he pulled much too hard and ruined any chance of a glittering racecourse bow. In truth, it was never going to be easy to give experienced opposition the run around and I would forgive that initial performance. Burke is very good at placing his juveniles on their second start and this colt has potential.

Vanishing Grey (B J Meehan)
This filly impressed when making her debut at Leicester over 5f in what I am sure will turn out to be a strong maiden. From a wide draw this sizable filly by Verglas lost even more ground veering left. Her jockey wisely gave her time to stride out, but found herself ten lengths adrift of the lead after two furlongs. It would appear she was second string that day because the well-backed Meehan winner, Lady Of The Desert, was definitely the favoured juvenile. This filly has the scope to match her hefty price tag of 220,000 euros. If starting on level terms, she would have gone close to winning that day. Meehan is never a trainer to push his youngsters on their racecourse bow and I expect a good deal of improvement next time out. This filly will not be the biggest price, however she will take some stopping wherever she races. I can see this juvenile contesting pattern races in the not so distant future and probably good reason why she holds an entry for the Moyglare at the Curragh.