Wednesday 29 June 2011

2:30 Catterick (29th June)

An EBF maiden fillies' stakes over 5f.

In many ways a difficult race to assess.

A selection of form horses on show, many displaying a glimmer of ability but equal measure of disappointment.

Almond Branches was backed on debut and ran creditably in what has turned out to be a fair maiden. George Moore's filly is a speedy sort although may to some extent be a short runner. A similar race was seen at Musselburgh. In fairness this daughter of Dutch Art has faced some stiff competition and especially so when finishing behind Stonefield Flyer at Newcastle. Even considering the level of opposition, that was a slightly regressive performance. With a month off course, it may indicate she sustained an injury that day or needed a little more time to strengthen up as she is quite a leggy, lightly-built type. All of these factors bring about uncertainty, which is never the basis of a good bet beyond the point of a speculative price chance. A wide draw is not ideal, although she has the speed to sit handy. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a her run a big race because at best Moore's juvenile has ability but there are a few question marks.

Bryan Smart's two-year-olds are in good form and Excelette ran well last time. She isn't the most imposing horse but has a good level of speed and I would be confident of a strong front running display. I have slight concerns about the level of that form, which may be no more than average. Also, she may be a short runner, because there was little left in the tank by the line. This filly is likely to travel well but may have limitations.

See Clearly, Rougini & Lady Caprice have form lines.

See Clearly is a strong filly and a consistent horse in her own way. At York, Easterby's runner tired at the finish whereas last time at Carlise she was ridden more patiently, and finished quite well without ever quite pressing the winner. Of all these runners, See Clearly is most guaranteed to run a race but can she win? She has fair place claims.

It is interesting to note Hanagan is riding Lady Caprice, who was a few lengths behind See Clearly at Carlise. There would seem little reason why Duffield's representative should reverse the form. However, she was well backed that day and Hanagan has a good strike rate when riding for the stable. Perhaps this daughter of Kyllachy ran below expectation? It would be a brave soul to imagine she could reverse the form but if substantially backed it would give greater confidence.

Rougini is another horse who looks to have little hope of beating See clearly on their running at Catterick . Burke's juvenile showed good pace and travelled very well up until the final furlong. However, the wheels well and truly fell off in the latter stages. The only positive is that Burke's filly was fancied to run a big race that day and their statistics for a bold show were second to none. I can imagine connections were left scratching their heads. It could be the case she faltered and an improved performance will be forthcoming. That's the gamble. The only reason for giving the benefit of the doubt is that you may gain a speculative price. This daughter of Bertolini is quite lightly built, which may be reason for a regressive effort but the Burke team generally know their horses and it could just be the case there is better to come.

Of the debutantes, Al Doha has been well backed. A 30,000gns breeze-up purchase, this filly is one of the more interesting runners. Ryan has been in brilliant form this season and money has been the key to many of their debutant successes. The stable have such a good line with their string that they can be pretty sure of a big run when expected. Making a winning debut is never easy because inexperience, especially against some speedy juveniles, can lead to disadvantage. However if support continues, this daughter of Iffraaj should go well.

Conclusion: A tricky race. To some extent all of these fillies have something to prove. Almond Branches has the pace to sit handy and run a big race but needs to prove she hasn't regressed. Excelette has the pace to make a bold bid but may struggle to finish her race and the form of that Haydock run may not be as strong as it looks. See Clearly is the most likely to run her race but there are concerns one or two will be that little better. Rougini and Lady Caprice need to put so so runs behind them. The former, could bounce back because there was good reason to expect a strong run last time. Al Doha has been well backed and that is a positive sign and I would expect a big run. Beyond Al Doha, I would rather bet at speculative odds. A difficult race to assess but interesting in its own way.

HCE: ''Almond Branches showed a battling quality to master Excelette in a driving finish. Rougini improved on her Carlisle disappointment to finish third.''