Sunday 6 April 2014


Quite a restricted Maiden Auction Stakes race over 5f on good to soft ground. Twelve two-year-olds take part: three colts, nine fillies, horses weighted with regard to their yearling sales price. A number of leading trainers compete with three raced horses against the majority of debutantes. 

Paddy Again will be the horse of interest for many. This daughter of Moss Vale gained a few column inches being Bill Turner's star turn in the Brocklesby Stakes. This race heralds the start of the Flat turf season and favoured by this handler from Sigwells Farm. This bay filly isn't the best bred but she ran a cracking race to finish second to Cock Of The North. She travelled well on debut and touched short odds in-running, but couldn't hold the late challenge of the winner trained by Scott Dixon. Paddy Again had been well schooled, educated, race fit, and beaten on merit. The form has been franked by third placed Flyball, who won narrowly at Leicester on his second start. This March foal is quite well in at the weights, especially with her apprentice jockey taking a valuable five pounds off her back. It is still too early to assess the Brocklesby form although it would be a surprise if this filly wasn't good enough to win an average race. The horse to beat but at prohibitive odds there is always the fear there could be a horse or two with ability in the field.

Penalty Scorer finished ninth in the Brocklesby. Richard Guest's filly showed inexperience but an element of promise that day, before tiring in the closing stages. She looks well held by the likely favourite although the trainer's juveniles often improve a good deal for their first start. Best watched - but shouldn't be disgraced.

Jo Hughes trains the only other horse with racecourse experience, making a hasty return after three days. *Multi Quest was left trailing behind Patient Alexander at Wolverhampton when starting at odds of 33/1. It is difficult to assess the form of that race although significant improvement must be needed. Worth a look if seriously backed.

A number of debutantes hail from leading trainers, many capable of sending out two-year-olds winners on their racecourse bow. However, this race is a of a restrictive nature which often favours those with experience.

Tagtale is a cheap yearling purchase at 7,000euros. Richard Fahey is an exceptional trainer of two-year-olds - one of the best for priming a debut winner. The trainer has a decent strike rate at this course although in ways Patrick Mathers may be a negative jockey booking. The betting is the best guide. If priced 13/2 & less this bay filly has fair win and place claims. 

Another trainer who knows his juveniles is Bryan Smart. One of just three colts in the field, River Compton is a relatively cheap yearling purchase at £10,000. This son of Compton place isn't two until the end of the month and out of a winning mare. The stable often send out their better two-year-olds early season. Although renowned as a prolific debut-winning trainers their youngsters do seem to struggle to taste victory on their initial start. If priced 13/2 & less it would bring more confidence. A horse I would rather watch today. 

Tom Dascombe has fielded three juveniles this season and all have looked inexperienced. Diatomic is a bay colt of Bushranger who cot 15,000euros at the yearling sales out of a poor mare who didn't race until three. This stable are capable of tasting victory on debut and it is a plus to be a colt against mostly fillies. The betting is the best guide. Most of the stable's winner are priced 11/2 & less. If weak in the market I would leave alone.

Drag Line is the most expensive in the field at 17,000gns and top weighted. This Irish-bred colt is out of first season sire Stimulation. Tim Easterby features a poor strike rate with his two-year-olds on debut and best watched.

Esk Valley Lady & Lazy Days In Loule are similar. 

Binky Blue was purchased by Tony Coyle for 13,000euros. This is very much a gambling stable and money is worth noting. 

Micheal Dods is a trainer I always note with his debutantes as they can win at speculative odds. They often slip under the radar and particularly interesting on soft ground. Reet Petite is a daughter of first season sire Fast Company (a sire who has been complimented by a number of trainers). The owner hasn't had a horse in training for a number of years but had success with John O'Groats back in 2002 with this handler. This stable is often worth an each way speculative punt on debut especially at fancy odds. It is difficult to assess whether the apprentice is a positive or a negative booking. 

Last but not least is Sarista. This February foal cost £12,000 at the yearling sales. A bay daughter of Kodiac out of an unraced mare. David Barron is worth noting on debut, especially if his juveniles are priced 10/1 & less. One for the short list if supported in the betting.

Conclusion: Paddy Again sets the standard after a cracking debut in the Brocklesby. She has plenty of pace, experienced, fitness & ready to win. The negative will be the short odds on offer. The nature of these restricted races details that form horses hold an advantage but that doesn't mean others cannot prove a problem. Although held by their earlier form, Penalty Scorer will be wiser for her first start. I would take a watching brief but Guest's youngster will do better today. The major debutante hopes include: Diatomic, Compton River, Tagtale, Sarista & Binky Blue. All have decent win and place claims at 13/2 & less. Reet Petite is an intriguing runner and may be worth a speculative punt if available at huge each way odds. I do have slight concerns about the jockey booking which temper my enthusiasm. On balance Paddy Again is the horse to beat but not a bet for me.