Friday 23 September 2011

3:35 Newmarket (23rd September)

An EBF Maiden Stakes for colts & one filly over 7f on good to firm ground. A selection of form horses in a field of debutantes. Andrew Balding's two-year-olds have hit form in the last few weeks and Spiritual Star will be primed for a big run today. This bay colt by Soviet Star is a handsome juvenile with a fluent stride. He showed promise on debut at Newbury over 7f, up with the pace, holding every chance until tiring in the final furlong.

Balding has kept this youngster on the sidelines - a tactic noted with his yesterday's winner - and I would imagine he has improved over this period. A fair win and place bet.

Comfirmed, trained by Marco Botti, is an attractive colt. He cost 115,000gns as a yearling and was fancied to run well on debut at Thirsk but had little chance after a very slow start so him trailing in testing conditions. To be fair, he made eye-catching progress in the latter stages of that race and would have been competitive if not for his costly inexperience at the stalls. Once again, there has been money for this juvenile and although difficult to assess is one to respect as he could well have ability.

Another horse worth a second chance is Snooky. Henry Candy is a wise old owl and this colt by Exceed And Excell was heavily backed on his second start at Leicester. That betting move was significant. However, there was clearly something amiss that day because he was never travelling and ran no race at all. This could be something of a dark horse and it would be no surprise to see a sterling performance today. 

Of the debutantes, Ellaal & Bayan are fancied in the betting. The former trained by Charlie Hills cost 220,000 as a yearling. Hills' juveniles have a fair place rate when fancied on the racecourse bow but he would need to be a talent to beat the more experienced opposition. Bayan was similarly expensive costing 210,000gns at the yearling sales. Meehan's juveniles can win on debut. However, these are usually his better two-year-olds. Bayan is likely to have ability but might be a better proposition on his next start.

Conclusion: Spiritual Star comes from a stable in good form and makes a fair each way selection. Snooky & Confirmed are quite interesting runners and worthy of respect. Candy's charge ran too bad to be true last time and could be a decent bet at speculative odds. While Confirmed is a good-looking colt with size and scope to progress from a tardy start which concluded his chances at Thirsk. At fair odds, both could go well. Bayan & Ellaal will need to be smart to win on debut and best watched today but likely to be winning this season.

HCE: ''An effortless victory for Spiritual Star who has progressed well since his debut. Ellaal will come on for the run and has scope (2nd), while Snooky left Leicester's disappointment behind him finishing 3rd.''