Sunday 31 July 2011

3:20 Newbury (31st July) - Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes for colts & fillies over 6f 8y on good ground.

This is an intriguing race and there may be one or two dark horses with fancy aspirations.

Balty Boys cost 100,000gns at the yearling sales. A good-looking colt by Cape Cross out of the winning dam Chatham Islands, this bay colt has a string of Group entries which capture the attention. He was backed on debut at Newmarket but perhaps not a major contender starting at odds of 10/1. That was probably a fair race - although the second and third have disappointed in ways. This juvenile travelled well that day and for much of the race looked a big player but faded quite tamely in the final furlong. It is always difficult to assess the level of a juveniles fitness on debut but this youngster looked to be carrying quite a bit of condition and it wouldn't come as a surprise to learn Balty Boys was in need of the run. Hills' juveniles can win on debut but they often improve for the experience and that will not be lost on him today. As I often point out, this is the only ride for Michael Hills and it is generally a pointer to a big run. On form this colt has something to prove, which is never an ideal starting point for considering a wager. However, this is a very good-looking juvenile, the stable obviously hold him in high regard with a string of Group entries & he is likely to be primed today. A fair win and place bet.

There is one thing that can be guaranteed about Orders From Rome, he will appreciate this step back up to 6f. He ran well at Sandown, making ground in the latter stages when chasing home Verbeeck. In truth, beyond the winner, that doesn't look the strongest race. However, that isn't really a gauge of this son of Holy Roman Emperor because he could be transformed over this extra distance. This bonny colt ran a storming race in the Newbury Super Sprint beating a number of capable juvenile carrying a fair weight, too. Eve Johnson Houghton's two-year-olds have been in good form with a couple of winners going in this week and Orders From Rome looks to be progressing with racing and has each way claims.

Gold Sceptre has shown ability on both starts. He was pretty short in the betting last time at Newbury over 7f and it may prove in time that was a decent contest. The fourth, Opera Buff, ran well at Goodwood yesterday which adds to that point. This son of Gold Away showed good pace on his last effort and tired in the closing stages but in fairness was probably beaten on ability rather than stamina. Hannon must feel he has the speed to drop back to 6f, which on viewing shouldn't be an inconvenience but it is a slight concern that he could be outpaced if this is run at a helter-scelter pace. A capable juvenile.  

In such a competitive betting heat one or two are going to be pushed to biggish prices on the exchanges and that looks to be the case for Lady Jameela. Her antics at Bath wouldn't have filled the souls of her supporters with joy when unseating her rider when jinking left leaving the stalls. At least today this daughter of Acclamation has horses on either side, which may prevent lightning from striking twice. Channon's filly has size and scope - a good looker. She showed a fair level of form on debut and may have been unlucky not to have won. She was a little keen in the early stages when racing at Newmarket but on balance ran her race. The form of that contest has been a little mixed and may not have been as strong as first thought. The winner, Desert Gazelle, is held in high regard but she was in a different league to the opposition. Lady Jameela is a capable filly who has enough ability to win a race or two. The question is whether she will have the class to match one or two of these. Perhaps her best chance is that these potentially talented juveniles still have to prove themselves.

David Elsworth's Firestarter - a half-brother to Cruiser - was quite an expensive yearling at 80,000gns. This son of Cockney Rebel was fancied on debut but seemed to have fallen asleep in the stalls. A very tardy start, and looking bewildered by the thought of racing, he took a good bit of coaxing by Fallon to get warmed up for the demands of racing. That inexperience cost him any chance of being competitive but better should be expected today. Fallon takes the ride, so will be wise to his character. There is a slight concern he may be rather sloth-like from the stalls today, which would be a problem. It was, however, encouraging that Firestarter was fancied in the betting on debut as it is a fair sign of promise for the future. On form, he has something to prove but one to respect.

Conclusion: A tricky race. Orders From Rome sets the standard on form and this 6f could see further progress. Lady Jameela has enough ability to win a race but this could be a tougher race than it look son paper. She could have place prospects at fair odds but may struggle to win. Balty Boys didn't achieve a great deal on debut but I get a feeling a big run is on the cards. A good-looking colt, multiple Group entries, the only ride for Hills. A leading chance. Gold Sceptre has fair win and place claims although the step back in distance might not be ideal. Firestarter looked very stuffy on debut and likely to improve but probably best watched.

HCE: ''Balty Boys was clearly expected to run a big race and disposed of the opposition in style. This 6f looked key and a confident ride from Hills. A step up in class will be the order of the day and soon competing at pattern class. Firestarter will be better in time but still rather leggy. He ran on well and capable of winning. The same applies to the attractive Lady Jameela who travelled with ease for most but had no answer to the winner and then lost second place in the final strides. Her day will