Monday 1 August 2011

6:40 Windsor (1st August) - Result

An EBF Maiden Fillies' Stake over 6f on good to firm ground.

A hot race.

A mix of form horses, disappointments and potentially talented debutantes.

Elusive Flame* and Salford Art are closely matched on recent form over course and distance. Both fit the mould of a typical Elsworth two-year-old: size and scope to progress with racing. The form of that race is difficult to assess with the winner being a debutant and the majority of the field unraced. However, they pulled clear of the fourth without too much fuss.

Salford Art would just be favoured simply because she is likely to improve for her debut run while Elusive Flame was having her second start. The former was slowly into stride, but managed to get competitive by halfway. By the line, the two were pretty much inseparable but Salford Art was given a considerate introduction and from a low draw should hold the aces with regard to the respective stable chances.

Walter Swinburn has had a quiet season with his juveniles. Recently, at Windsor, Otto The Great ran out a decent winner for the stable and Ligurian Sea is worthy of respect on her second start. A good-looking filly by Medicean - half-sister to the fair Rafiqa - she showed promise on debut at Newbury. That was a fair maiden. This bay filly wasn't best away and the front runners held a sizable advantage, as she was a number of lengths adrift. However, in the final furlong Ligurian Sea ran on well and wasn't overly pressed . It was a considerate introduction which left the impression there could be substantial improvement when fighting fit and educated. Swinburn has commented that this is one of his better juveniles and although this looks a tough race she has fair win and place claims.

Tea Cup was something of a talking horse on debut at Newmarket when racing in mid April. After a slow start this well backed favourite had little chance of being competitive and was eased when all hope had gone. This good-looking daughter of Danehill Dancer has not been seen since so may have struggled with injury or given time to strengthen up. This juvenile is presently fancied on the betting exchanges. A watching brief.

Show Flower is one for the short list after two creditable runs. Channon's representative was quite fancied on debut where she showed good pace when trailing behind Falls Of Lora. That was over 7f, and this daughter of Shamardal tired in the final furlong. Along the way this filly has been entered for a number of Group races and connections pressed home that view when attempting Listed class on her last start. On balanced, she didn't cut the mustard but travelled well until the final furlong. Channon must have taken the view that 6f is more suiting, and it may well be the case. A wide draw is something of a negative. She has proven enough ability to win a race and deserves respect but still a little difficult to assess.

Of the others, Perfect Step could go well. I have been very impressed with Roger Varian and this daughter of Iffraaj held an entry to run in the Lowther Stakes (Group 2). The betting will be the best guide. It would certainly take a talented juvenile to pose a problem to a number of proven form horses. However, if priced 13/2 & less has fair win and place claims.

Conclusion: This looks a competitive maiden and it will take a decent filly to win. The debutantes will need to be something special and for that reason may struggle against a number of proven form horses. Tea Cup makes her return after a long absence and the betting will be the best guide to her chances. On balance, I would rather watch and learn a little more. Salford Art gets the nod of the two Elsworth runners. Although the form is difficult to assess, she has fair win and place claims. Ligurian Sea ran with promise on debut and gave the impression there would be much better to come. It is encouraging that Swinburn commented about the regard this juvenile is held. One of the main contenders with each way claims. Show Flower is another with fair win and place claims, dropped in class.

*Elusive Flame NR

HCE: ''A decent race and it will be a source of a good few winners. Salford Art finished with some purpose to win going away. Flamborough Breeze - backed - was a surprised package and ran a great race in second. Show Flower done well to take third from a wide draw and suited by 6f . Ligurian Sea ran too bad to be true, while Perfect Step and Princess Of Orange are good-looking types who are bound to improve a good deal.''