Friday 12 August 2011

1:30 Newbury (12th August) - Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes for colts & two fillies over 7f on good ground.

The first of two divisions.

Roger Varian has followed in the footsteps of his mentor Michael Jarvis and proven to be a talented trainer in this first season. The stable's two-year-old runners have been sparse but most have shown ability on debut and Firdaws is very much a talking horse. It is intriguing that this daughter of Mr Greeley is taking on the colts. Her dam, the classy Eswarah, won the Oaks. At present, this American bred is entered for the Fillies' Mile (Group 1). Firdaws is very short in the betting and clearly showing up well on the gallops. Varian has a handful of talented juveniles to have raced and has a line to her capability. At such restricted odds I would take a watching brief.

Another debutante to figure high in the betting is The Nile. This son of Three Valleys hails from HRH K Abdulla and holds a number of flashy entries including the Royal Lodge (Group 2), Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) & Racing Post Trophy (Group 1). Gosden has respectable win and place statistics with his fancied debutantes, especially so when favourite. The entries and betting suggest ample talent and if priced 13/2 & less has fair win and place claims.

Tales Of Grimm, a son of Distorted Humour, cost 320,000gns at the breeze-up sales and owned by Sir Robert Ogden. Sir Michael Stoute's runners should always be respected. However, the betting is probably the best guide as the majority of his debutant winners are priced 13/2 & less.

Of the raced juveniles Humungosaur is worthy of note. This bay colt by Red Ransom is a fine-looking two-year-old with plenty of size and will improve a good deal for that initial start. On form, this American bred didn't set the highest standard. However, that was over an insufficient trip and ridden considerately. Cole's two-year-olds often go well on their second start and this colt has a string of Group entries, which catch the eye. If backed, it would give added confidence. I would expect a much-improved performance and that initial experience could see him well against a field of predominantly unraced juveniles. A interesting horse with each way claims at respectable odds.

Another juvenile worth watching is Johnno, trained by John Hills.This relatively cheap purchase by Excellent Art didn't achieve a great deal on debut when tardy from the stalls and niggled along for much of the way. His finishing position of sixth, beaten a number of lengths, didn't stand out as anything special but there could be better to come. This is a very good-looking colt - big and strong - and held in some regard by Hills. As the trainer features a moderate strike rate with his debutantes it could well be the case Johnno needed the run and one which may go well as speculative odds. 

The most proven horse in the field is Nant Saeson. He has run creditably on each start but I would be surprised if he was quite good enough to win in a race where one or two horses are sure to make their mark. He may sneak a place.  

Thirsty Bear is better than he looks after crossing the Irish Channel to race at Galway he veered dramatically at the bend and was all but pulled-up thereafter. Curtis clearly holds this youngster in some regard and over this straight 7f could show better at huge odds.

Conclusion: This race seems to surround the fortunes of Firdaws. It is intriguing that Varian takes on the colts but this filly is clearly held in high regard and will probably be winning before too long. At restrictive odds it would have to be a watching brief as there are no guarantees on debut however good. Similar comments can be made for The Nile. If backed to 5/2 & less I would be very confident of a big run, although that looks unlikely. Experience can count for a lot and Humungosaur and Johnno are worthy of respect at fair odds. Each may have each way claims. 

HCE: ''A good effort by the first three to pull clear of the fourth, Humungosaur, who is a fair juvenile. Sir Michael Stoute bucked the trend with one of his juveniles winning at fancy odds - no doubt due to the competitive nature of the race - with Tales Of Grimm. Firdaws had traffic problems and his supporters will be disappointed not to have won. The Nile ran well in third. Plenty of winners will come from this race.''