Thursday 23 June 2011

2:45 Newcastle (23rd June) - Result

A restricted median auction race for colts and fillies over 6f on good to soft ground.

Electric Qatar is very much a talking horse (HCE Dark Horse). This bay colt by Pastoral Pursuits cost £46,000 and if reputation is anything to go by will take all the beating today. An entrant for the Phoenix and National Stakes (Group 1), connections - Black & Owen - will be expecting a leading performance if more loftier plans are to be considered. In a race that will not take much winning, this colt is an intriguing juvenile. After witnessing Dascombe's tight-lipped response when questioned on RUKwith regard to this horse, I'm sure he will have a lot more to say after this race than before.

With such a restricted race the focus of our attention - beyond the favourite - will be for the raced horses. Most of these have shown only moderate ability although one or two may be capable of better.

Ollie Pears is a talented trainer, who places his horses well. Slenningford has run creditably on both her starts to date and has enough ability to win a race of this type. A fair-looking filly, she has a willing attitude and will find this level more accommodating after competing at stakes class last time. That was a decent heat and in ways it made her look rather flat footed. Pears commented that this daughter of Vital Equine would improve over further and this 6f on more testing ground is a positive. If Electric Qatar is a classy juvenile, Slenningford is unlikely to win. However, proven form is often worth more than hope and dreams. One of the major contenders with lively each way claims.

Bryan Smart's two-year-olds are coming into form, which may bode well for Commanche. This chestnut colt by Sleeping Indian done little on debut but may be capable of better (he certainly needs to improve to figure here). There were a few indicators which give a glimmer of hope. He represented Andrew Tinkler in the first colours that day, was quite fancied in the betting, and it was a time when the stable we not firing. The best assessment of this juveniles chances today will be illustrated by the betting. If priced 8/1 & less I would be confident of a big run.

Of the others, Flambard House may be capable of better. This gelding went off favourite at Carlisle but looked disappointing, finishing 4th behind the potentially talented Risky Art. Howard Johnson's representative may not be anything special but it is possible he was beaten by three three fair juveniles that day. This isn't the strongest of heats and if improving a length or two for the step up to 6f or appreciating the better ground could run into a place at speculative odds.

Citizens Charter and Captivity hail from Mahmood Al Zarooni's stable and at this lowly grade should be respected. However, both are weak in the betting, which doesn't bring about confidence, and his debutantes often improve for the run. If substantially backed they could come into the reckoning.

Conclusion: Electric Qatar will be the focus of much attention and looks certain to go off a hot favourite. Dascombe clearly holds this juvenile in some regard and they couldn't have found a much weaker race to take advantage. The stable have done well with their two-year-olds this season and they will know where this one stands in the pecking order. Money talks with this yard and by all accounts a big run is expected. As with every positive there may be negatives. There are no guarantees that even the best juveniles will win on debut. A slow start, inexperience, not wishing to give their potential talent a hard race are all problems to contend. However, Dascombe is a superb trainer and - for me - this youngster is the horse to beat and could well win in the style of a decent colt. If the favourite falters, Slenningford could well look a very good each way bet. She will improve for this step up in distance and sets the form standard. A fair each way bet for those hoping to see the favourite fluff his lines. Commanche looks poor on his debut running but may be capable of better. The betting will tell his story. If priced 8/1 & less I would expect a big run. An outsider with place claims, Flambard House.

HCE: ''Interesting to see one of Mahmood Al Zarooni's juveniles slip under the radar winning at 16/1. Strangely the seeming second string was backed but Citizen's Charter made a pleasing debut. Flambard House showed up better and stole 2nd place, while Electric Qatar could only take 3rd, after hanging to his left when a couple of lengths clear.''