Monday 8 April 2013

2:00 Southwell (9th April) Free Horse Racing Tips

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 5f.  Five two-year-olds take part, two colts, three fillies, one with form. 

Kitty Brown is the only horse with experience, finishing second from last at Kempton at the end of March. This daughter of first-season sire Bushranger had little chance after a tardy start but wasn't hard pressed to be competitive thereafter. Evans had three starters that day and it is difficult to know what this little filly can achieve. Substantial improvement is needed to meet a winning level of ability. However, the stable are in good form, their two-year-olds have been hitting the mark and experience is a huge advantage. I would expect this April foal to ping from the stalls but there are questions to answer. If substantially backed it would bring more confidence but probably best watched.

It is never easy assessing debutantes because statistically they have it all to prove. However, one trainer who often bucks the trend is Richard Fahey. Musley Bank Stables have just about the same strike rate with their two-year-old debutantes as they do with those on their second start. This is a remarkable statistic and reason why Jaga Time must be respected. This chestnut son of Compton Place cost £10,000 at the yearling sales. The winning mare was a sprinter although a low-grade handicapper. The most likely winner on statistics but whether you wish to take a relatively short price is open to debate.

Split Rock hails from Mark Johnston's stable. He has had a few juveniles race this season but all have disappointed. This home bred son of Shamardal is out of a Listed-winning mare, who raced at Group level before retiring at three. She was bred to need a trip and beyond her debut raced over one mile. It is sensible to consider this chestnut colt will appreciate a stiffer test of stamina. There is little doubt if this March foal had gone through the sales ring he would have made a lot of money. Mark Johnson has an indifferent record with his debutantes.  They are either easy winners of disappointing losers. The stable usually test the water these first two months of the season and bring out their better early types late April to May. The greatest pointer may be Split Rock racing at Southwell because the stable have a superb win rate at this course. Win or lose, I would have to take a watching brief.

Another trainer who has a great strike rate at this course is Brian Ellison. They field two fillies: Claudia Octavia & Livia Drusilla. 

Brian Ellison owns and trains Claudia Octavia who was a cheap purchase at £3,000. This daughter of Holy Roman Emperor is out of an unraced mare who was bred to need a trip. Whether this minimum distance will be suiting is something of an unknown. 

Livia Drusilla is similarly sired and out of a poor mare who was bred for stamina. Ellison purchased this yearling for 15,000gns but she has since been sold privately. 

The main stumbling block for these two horses is that the stable often struggle to win on debut. Any stable can defy the stats but it takes a certain type of horse and intention. If in need of the race, it would be a surprise.

Conclusion: This is a tricky race to hold strong views. Kitty Brown is likely to make the most of her experience and David Evans is no ones fool. He will make every advantage count and if this little filly has ability she could well set the pace. If backed it would bring greater confidence.  The debutantes are difficult to assess because you can never be sure whether they are fit, ready and have their required distance. Jaga Time ticks the boxes on a statistical point and by far the most likely winner based on trainer credentials. Whether it would be wise to bet at relatively short odds is a matter for debate. Split Rock is well bred and the stable have a good strike rate here. However, Johnston's two-year-old debutantes run so indifferently that I wouldn't dare bet, especially at this time of year,  when he is testing the water. This horse will either win easily or be a big disappointment. Brian Ellison is a talented trainer but he too struggles to win with horses making their racecourse bow. Unless seriously backed I would have to watch. I would play it safe, take a watching brief. 

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