Thursday 26 May 2011

6:30 Sandown (26th Sandown) - Result

The National Stakes Listed race over over 5f 6y on good ground.

A field of seven juveniles consisting of colts and two fillies.

Magic City was talked of in glowing terms by the Hannon after an impressive debut at Newbury. This bay colt by Elusive City was solely owned by David Barker (£42,000) but he clearly knows his business selling shares to the like of Sir Alex Ferguson et al. Talk of Royal Ascot was high on the order but this youngster's profile has slipped a touch with two defeats of late. A second to Miss Work Of Art wasn't a bad performance but connections insisted this wasn't his running, retorting sore shins were to blame for his defeat. A recovery mission at Windsor wasn't helped by what many considered a poor ride by Hughes giving Bannock an easy lead, which couldn't be eroded to his cost. It will be surprising if Hughes is so bold as to follow similar tactics today. Magic City should appreciate this better ground and has strong claims to reverse the form with Bannock.

Frankie Dettori will have a game plan with Bannock. Just as Fanning had at Windsor. He will try to lead all the way. A handsome colt by Bertolini, he made easy work of his opponents at Redcar. They were no more than platers. Johnston has been in fine form with his two-year-olds this month. Last season was poor, so it is good to see the stable's juveniles finding success this term. On balance, Bannock has a stiff task beating Magic City but he may have an advantage in setting the pace. If Hughes gives this bay colt an easy lead it could be Windsor revisited.

Foxtrot India is a capable sort but seems held by the above mentioned juveniles on Windsor form. On both starts this colt has been tardy from the stalls and if well away he may bridge the gap but more is needed to reverse the form.

Sixx is another representative for the Hannon stable. I must admit watching this horse's performance at Goodwood left me baffled. Fallon seemed at pains not to ride a finish, which to some extent looked a little suspicious when Right Result - the first string of the stable - rallied to lose in a photo finish. However, it proves the point about hearing both sides of the story because after reading Fallon's comments in the Weekender publication, it was quite revealing. He said that the juvenile hated the ground and he knew from experience that if he had pressed this colt he would have lost his action. Sixx needs to improve a good deal to win at this higher grade but could be something of a dark horse and one to respect.

Powerful Wind is the last of the colts. He is a nippy sort with a very pronounced running action, so should appreciate this better ground. Not a bad looker. He is likely to set the pace with Bannock. His win at Kempton was very much a success built on circumstance. Fitness. Natural speed. Turning track. All worked to give this colt a decisive lead, which his opposition could never claw back. This will take much more winning and significant improvement is needed.

The two fillies will have a stiff task against the colts.

Pyman's Theory has proven ability and always runs a consistent race. A form line with Miss Work Of Art suggests Magic City has the edge.

Miss Lamar is open to improvement but probably best watched today.

Conclusion: A trappy affair. Bannock and Powerful Wind are live wires who will tank along. However, this looks a duel between Magic City and Bannock. The former has the class to win but this could be a tactical race. If Dettori can steal a lead it may be closer that people think. Hughes will be conscious of how the race panned out at Windsor. I very much doubt he will be drop off the pace today. Sixx could be the surprise package.

HCE: ''A fair performance by Pyman's Theory. Front running tactics had most of these on the back foot. Bannock could be classed as an unlucky loser in my opinion. He found trouble in running stuck behind a wall of horses especially the wayward Powerful Wind. Once clear, he made great strides to closing the gap but run out of time. Magic City was even more disappointing than before and it's back to the drawing board. In ways this was a strange race.''