Sunday 29 May 2011

1:50 Nottingham (29th May)

An EBF maiden over 5f 13y on good ground.

This looks to be a fine chance for Beau Mistral. Green has been quite patient with this juvenile after a luckless run in the Brocklesby, then given a considerate ride on her second start at Ripon, behind the talented Ponty Acclaim. Connections had the Lily Agnes lined up as their race but a wide draw didn't bring about much hope. In ways this daughter of Windsor Knot didn't quite live up to my expectations. But reconsidering the Chester form it was a fair effort. This is a prime opportunity, although being a cheap purchase she would be better weighted in a median auction. Connections will be hoping for a big run today and she has a fighting chance of victory.

Dark Ages has been knocking on the door and must be held in some regard by connections considering she has been entered to run in two stakes and a listed race. On form, Quinlan's youngster doesn't look to be that class but has claims at this level. The form of the Newmarket debut is fair without being anything special. A similar comment could be made for the second place at Leicester. Pyman's theory was in a different league and this black filly made quite hard work of beating Reina Sofia, which probably shows her limitations. This doesn't look the strongest of races, so Dark Ages should be respected but may find one too good.

Barry Hills two year olds are running well this season and they look a decent string. Brimstone Hill isn't the most attractive colt - not too much of him - but may have enough ability to win a small race. The stable indicated he had a chance at Pontefract on debut. Although quite fancied in the betting, he showed nothing. There was more promise at Nottingham last time over 6f. This colt by Royal Applause was keen in the early stages and travelled well until tiring in the final furlong. That was a decent race with the first three capable sorts. It is always a worry when juveniles drop in distance because this five furlongs may simply be too quick. However, that was a competitive race and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see Brimstone Hill creep into a place and may sneak a win. It is worth noting that this is Michael Hills only ride of the day, which is a positive sign and suggests a big run is expected.

Of the debutantes Finbar is likely to show ability in his two-year-old career. Elite Racing Club have owned some talented juveniles in their time and this one is a half-brother to Maralinka, who won at Listed class at two. The negative is that James Givens rarely has juvenile debutante winners.

HCE: ''A weak race and the first three are nothing special but it was a battle between the trio who all looked to have a chance at some stage. Dark Ages managed to gather in the leader, Beau Mistral, and then held the late challenge of Brimstone Hill.''