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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

2:10 Newcastle (3rd May) - Result

An EBF median auction maiden over 5f on good to firm ground.

Fair prize money has attracted a selection of capable form horses and debutantes.

Stonefield Flyer was wayward on debut: unshipping his jockey twice in the paddock. He wasn't best away from the stalls at Musselburgh, then snaked throughout the final two furlongs, a combination of exuberance from jockey and horse. However, Stonefield Flyer ran with encouragement and could well have got closer to the talented Hamza if breaking on terms and having a clear passage in the closing stages. An attractive colt with size and scope; he is likely to run a big race.

Tim Essterby is on record as saying he has a decent string of two-year-olds this season and that has been confirmed by a number running well to date. Choisan looks a decent yearling purchase at  £18,000. He is a good-looking, chunky colt. There was a lot to like about his debut at Doncaster. After being slowly away he battled well under basic pressure from Robert Winston. He was very green and didn't really understand what was required. At points he was on the verge of being outpaced, especially at the start. That may have been due to inexperience, but there is a slight concern that is his style. On balance, he is likely to show more pace with that experience under his belt although there is a chance this bay could struggle to hold his position. The form of the Doncaster race looks fair and holds claims at auction level. There is a form line through One Kool Dude & Lily's Angel, which suggests there is not a huge distance between Stonefield Flyer and Choisan. However, I feel that Lily's Angel is a much better than One Kool Dude. Choisan's hopes of winning today rest upon his potential improvement from that debut. If he strips fitter, is a little wiser and goes forward by a couple more lengths he has decent claims. If fourth behind Lilbourne Lad was his running, Stonefield Flyer would get the nod.

Almond Branches - one of two fillies in opposition - is interesting. George Moore may not train many two-year-olds but he has found success with many over the years at this level. This daughter of Dutch Art will be dwarfed by a few of these colts. She is lightly built and although a wiry sort could be prone to regress if not careful. Her debut run at Ripon was a fair effort. The form has been franked. Connections envisaged a big run that day as she was heavily backed. Almond Branches has plenty of speed to burn. It wouldn't be a surprise to see her have many of these off the bridle if P J McDonald pressed on. However, there is one major concern. On both starts she has struggled to finish, which is a huge negative to any juvenile. The last 100m at Musselburgh and Ripon must have seemed a long way and the chances are Newcastle will be no different. It will be interesting to see what tactics are employed. Perhaps gaining an easy lead is the answer and hold on for grim death or try more waiting tactics and hope she can finish. Their ace card would be that the race was slowly run because she certainly has good pace. I can see Almond Branches travelling well - probably being a shorter price in running - but struggling in the final furlong against the colts.

The man who may have the last laugh is Richard Fahey because if Moonville has been going well with the likes of lily's Angel at home, this grey colt by Clodovil could take some beating. But that's a big if. The mare Moon Cross was a fair sort and Listed placed at three. The betting on the exchanges suggests he is fancied to go well. However, in a restricted race, against three experience juveniles with a level of ability, it would be a brave call to take a punt. Fahey has good win and place claims with his fancied debutantes and they are often fit and ready. Today Moonville will need to be primed to play a part and although it isn't beyond the realms it would be an impressive performance nonetheless and I would go with proven form.

Conclusion: This would have been all the more easy to call if three places were on offer. Stonefield Flyer has fair claims and is the most proven. Choisan is a difficult horse to assess but if improvement is forthcoming could be a strong challenger. Almond Branches may struggle to last to the line which tempers enthusiasm. Moonville is the dark horse. The betting will be the best indicator to his ability but it would be a good effort to win this on debut and for that reason it would be a watching brief.

HCE: ''An all the way win for Stonefield Flyer, who looks a capable juvenile. Choisan ran a fair race but didn't go on from his debut and struggled to keep tabs. Almond Branches was found out and didn't finish her race. Moonville ran creditably but would have been a talent to have won this first time of asking.''

Full result (click)