Wednesday 15 April 2015


An EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes race over 5f on good to soft ground. Nine fillies take part, two raced, from a mix of trainers. 

Smart Mover is an Irish-bred daughter of Fast Company. This bay filly must have been showing ability as John Quinn sent her to contest the Scottish Brocklesby on debut. Although a small field, it looked to be a competitive stakes race, and the winner, Tribesman, trained by David Brown, is reputed to be heading for the Coventry (Group 2). Smart Mover had a stiff task against the colts but showed good pace before losing her position then running on in the latter stages to finish fifth. The winner beat the opposition well and the the second definitely tired in the final so there is a possibility this filly and Zephyr Breeze were slightly flattered. Time may tell that race was pretty good and having an outing under her belt is a big positive. If priced 13/2 & less sp this horse has respectable win and place claims.

In the past years, Tim Easterby has pinpointed Ripon to send out his best two year olds, who often win on debut. Today, he fields two fillies: *Copacobana & Zeeda. Both horses were purchased by the trainer at the yearling purchases and cheap buys. Wide draws don't inspire confidence. In general, their juveniles are better second start although can win if priced 13/2 & less on debut. However, the place statistics are poor, which suggest they run well or unplaced.         

Mel Brittain is a canny trainer who can spring a surprise. French is a chestnut filly sired by Monsieur Bond out of a multiple-winning mare. She is bred, owned & trained by Brittain and was sent through the yearling sales for the paltry sum of £800. The stable have a poor win rate on debut and best watched.

Richard Fahey's stable have been in cracking form this season and Hyland Heather is owned by Mrs H Steel who does well with her two year olds. This daughter of Lilbourne Lad is out of an unraced mare. An 85,000euro yearling purchased, her price tag rose markedly from foal. Muse House Stables have a fantastic strike rate with debutantes which leaves most trainers hiding in shame. One for the shortlist.    

Karl Burke has an increased string of two year olds this season and from what I have seen so far it suggests he is in no rush with them. Spigot Lodge have Millennium Falcon racing in the familiar silks of Middleham Racing & part owned by Mrs E Burke. This American-bred daughter of Kheyleyf cost £13,000 at the yearling sales. This course has been a good hunting ground for the stable over the last five years with a high strike rate [4/9 - 44%]. If priced 10/1 & less this filly has fair win and place claims. A high draw is a plus.      

Passionateprincess is drawn well [against the rail] in stall nine. Ann Duffield is another trainer to prosper and has a much larger string of juveniles. A few have been placed and she buys a nice, physical type. Duffield often sends her youngster here to have a racecourse gallop and Sun Hill Stable feature a good strike rate. This daughter of Elnadim is out of a Listed-race mare who won four times in her career. This bay filly was purchased by the trainer as a yearling for 17,000eur. This stable have fair win and place claims with horses priced 13/2 & less SP although they can win at speculative prices, too.

Another trainer who slips under the radar is Michael Dods. His strike rate at this garden racecourse is nothing out of the ordinary but I feel it is a track Denton Hall send their better hopes. Richter Scale is a grey filly, an Irish-bred daughter of first season sire Lilbourne Lad  out of a poor mare. She was purchased by Dods at Goffs London 2-y-o Hit Sale for 50,000euro. 

Blue Smoke has race experience and trained by Bill Turner. This grey filly was relatively fancied on debut but showed little. The stable usually field their best two year old in the Brocklesby but Just That Lord looks average. This horse is often a guide to the general standard and other juveniles have performed poorly so far. 

Conclusion: Smart Mover ran well on debut, contesting a stakes race where the form may have some quality. It is difficult to assess the level of that form and whether John Quinn's two year old was slightly flattered. However, she has valuable experience and if priced 13/2 & less fair win and place claims. The betting is the best guide for the debutantes. It is advisable to let the market settle. Tim Easterby can send his better juveniles to this course. If fancied, they have fair claims although their two year olds either win or unplaced. Hyland Heather, Millennium Falcon, Passionateprincess & Ritcher Scale prevail from stables I rate and at a course they can go well. They all feature sound each ways claims. French and Blue Smoke are best watched. At this point of the season there is no point pressing to find bets - time to watch and learn. From a statistical point of view Smart Mover would just be favoured. A watching brief.