Tuesday 20 August 2013

2:30 York (21st August) Pinsent Masons LLP Acomb Stakes (Group 3)

Six two-year-olds take part in this contest over 7f on good ground for a win prize of just over £34,000. This small but select field of juveniles sees one filly taking on a number of talented colts from leading trainers. Last year's winner, Dundonnell, went on to prove himself a class horse for Roger Charlton racing at Group 1. 

Godolphin have been in fine form with their two-year-olds this season. First Flight, a home bred son of Invincible Spirit out of a lightly-raced mare, made a sparkling debut at Newbury over 6f. This January foal was well backed but so tardy from the stalls that he looked a forlorn hope - but nothing could halt this bay colt as he powered home for a comfortable victory. The form of that race is probably nothing out of the ordinary but many were impressed by that display. This step up in distance will be to his advantage and from a wealth of horses it speaks well Saeed Bin Suroor sends this youngster to race at this higher level. 

Another colt with an unblemished career is The Grey Gatsby. This big, imposing, chestnut colt caught the eye of many pundits with a determined finish over 6f at York, beating another of today's contestants, Brazos. This son of Mastercraftsman was a 120,000euro breeze-up purchase from Arqana Saint-Cloud, out of a winning mare. This Irish bred is held in the highest regard by Kevin Ryan and entered for multiple Group-class races, including the Dewhurst Stakes & Racing Post Trophy (Group 1). Graham Lee keeps the ride and there should be ample improvement from that initial start. Potentially, a class horse.

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As mentioned, Brazos was deprived of his first win at the hooves of The Grey Gatsby when looking to hold every chance. Clive Brittain's grey colt, a son of Clodovil, is a handsome specimen who will not be disgraced at pattern class his long-term aim the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1). Never a man to shy away from competition, Brittain plunged this juvenile in the deep end when suffering a narrow loss on debut at Stakes level. However, his luck changed when winning a big-money maiden at Goodwood, in a tight finish. On balance, this horse looks to have more speed than stamina so it will be intriguing to see how he compares with The Grey Gatsby over this extra furlong. Preference would be given to his old adversary.

Of the others, Il Paparazzi has done rookie trainer Daniel Kubler proud. This son of Royal Applause ran well when making his racecourse bow then a sparkling display over course and distance. Without question, that was a tidy performance. However, it could well be that race fell apart at the seams and this could well prove a stiff task. A horse deserving of respect but others make more appeal.

Treaty Of Paris hails from one of my favourite trainers [Henry Candy] and a consistent horse. Although beaten by a smart horse last start, this looks a tall order and best watched.

A similar story can be told for the only filly in the field, Lady Lara. She has been set a difficult task starting her career in the Albany Stakes (Group 3) at Royal Ascot. This daughter of Excellent Art showed her well-being when finishing 6th in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes (Group 3). Alan Jarvis takes the bold step to take on the boys. 

Conclusion: A fascinating race with a selection of talented juveniles. By all accounts this looks a three-horse race with First Flight, The Grey Gatsby & Brazos holding the aces. Il Paparazzi deserves respect but still has something to prove. Saeed Bin Suroor has a string of talented juveniles and First Flight will improve markedly for his debut and stepping up in distance. The Grey Gatsby is a good-looking colt. He has the physical stature of an old-fashioned horse and very much at the top of the tree of Ryan's two-year-olds. I would give this youngster the nod. A race to savor.