Tuesday 3 May 2016

2:10 Chester Racing Tips (4th May) STELLAR GROUP LILY AGNES CONDITIONS STAKES (PLUS 10 RACE) (CLASS 2) (2yo)

The Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes is named after the seventeenth-century thoroughbred racehorse and winner of 21 races including the Northumberland Plate, Doncaster Cup and Ebor Handicap. She is best known for being the mare of Triple Crown winner Ormonde. In addition, she was the mother of 1000 Guineas winner Farewell in 1882.  Lily Agnes was herself exceptionally well bred being the daughter of 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Macaroni. 

The Lily Agnes has been won by a number of talented early-season two-year-olds. Rah Rah won last year for Mark Johnston. This daughter of Lonhro disappointed in the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 at Royal Ascot but finished a respectable fourth in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket. 

Other noted winners include Mukhmal, The Lord & Star Rover. Click here to see a list of winners for the last 18 years.              

A Class 2 Conditions Stakes race over 5f  16y on good to soft going. With over £12,000 prize money to the winner, this should be a competitive heat.  From a first entry stage of twenty-three juveniles, we see a field of eight. Three colts, two geldings, and three fillies take part, all raced by the solitary debutante, Our Greta, trained by Michael Appleby. Five winners are hoping for further glory. This race is a stepping stone to Royal Ascot, which takes place in June.

A low draw can be a big advantage at the Roodee. Fiery Character, trained by Tom Dascombe, has one of the plum draws stalled two. This bay filly, a daughter of Dragon Pulse, is one of umpteen two-year-olds racing in the silks of The Roaring Twenties. This brown filly looks an inspired yearling purchase for Sackville Donald at just 18,000eur. She may have surprised connections by winning on debut at odds of 33/1. This April foal showed a determined attitude, leading from the stalls, rallying well in the closing stages to win by over one length.  The form of that race has taken a few knocks but she looks the type to enjoy this course.  

Manor House Stables field *Imdancinwithurwife who is something of an enigma. This Irish-bred daughter of Sir Prancealot started her racing career at Saint-Cloud, France. She was fancied to go well at odds of 6/1 but finished tenth. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing when she raced on her second start at Wolverhampton. In the morning, this bay filly was priced about 6/1. She won - returning odds of 16/1. In many respects, connections may have doubted she could win and, perhaps, that explains such weakness in the market. The form of that race doesn't look anything special. She looks second string and needs to improve.

Hugo Palmer is showing his class as a trainer winning his first Classic with Galileo Gold [2000 Guineas] and he knows his two-year-olds. Copper Knight ran well on debut at Newmarket when opposing form horses such as Sutter County and Tomily. That was a stiff task for any debutante but this son of Sir Prancealot was fancied to go well at odds of 10/1. He wasn't given a hard time and showed good pace to finish third, less than two lengths behind talented juveniles who are earmarked for Royal Ascot. He was fancied to win on his second start at Windsor but that turned out to be a stronger contest than connections may have wished. In truth, he did little wrong but wandering to his left in the closing stages, which cost him a win. Legendary Lunch, trained by Richard Hannon, prevailed and make no mistake this colt is a class act. Connections have Royal Ascot in their sights with this talented colt. 

Copper Knight had Awesome Allan over two lengths behind that day, although it should be noted that David Evans charge had the burden of a 6lb penalty which is a stiff task for a two-year-old. This son of Acclamation has the added problem of stall eight. If able to lead, he would have claims but that is a gamble in itself. However, he is worthy of respect.

Evans has Letmestopyouthere who slightly better drawn in stall six. It's still far from ideal. 

This bay colt, a son of Sir Prancealot, ran no race on debut when last behind Sutter County. He started a big price that day and looked limited but well backed the second start when enjoying the soft ground at Nottingham. That was a strange race. This April foal simply skipped over the ground and won well. I suspect he loves the soft ground and those in opposition that day either failed to handle conditions or needed the run. If the weather deteriorates and turning the going soft, he may well hold some hope. 

Stan Moore is a canny trainer and does well at the sales often buying yearlings for next to no money and usually proves his judgement is correct finding winners. Patrouille De Nuit is an Irish-bred son of Bushranger who cost a paltry 3,200eur. This gelding started his career in a hot maiden, behind Sutter County. He beat Letmestopyouthere. starting at odds of 33/1, he showed fair pace until tiring in the closing stages to finish seventh, beaten a long way by the winner, but so were the rest of the field. He was ridden as though fit. A small, compact juvenile, who looked good in his coat. Stall one is positive. This February foal may have the pace to lead but it seems unlikely he will have the class to trouble the major players. He may well touch shorter odds in running if that is your angle.    

I was delighted to see Steph Hollinshead's Stoneyford Lane win on debut. Both horse and jockey deserved praise for their never-say-die attitude, which saw this gelding win on the line. I thought Royston Ffrench gave this son of Bushranger an inspired ride. Hollinshead did wonders buying this yearling for 7,000gns. The soft ground made that debut run a test of stamina, which suited this two-year-old. The last two furlongs were run in a slow time and even from a low draw I would have concerns Stoneyford Lane may struggle for pace on this course which favours speedy types. That tardiness may have been due to inexperience but I would have reservations. If betting, you may get much greater odds in running and hope the leaders tire and he runs on near the line. I wouldn't bet on this horse unless the going was very testing.      

Our Greta hails from Michael Appleby's stable. He is a talented trainer and knows the score with his juveniles. This American-bred, grey daughter of Exchange Rate has a stiff task even from a favourable draw. This turning course is all about speed and few horses making their racecourse bow are wise enough to start on terms or handle sharp bends. Not a horse I would bet today.

Conclusion: To be fair this doesn't look a vintage Lily Agness. I would focus on the favourites: Fiery Character, Copper Knight, and Awesome Allan. The tissue prices suggest there isn't much value here. Fiery Character has plenty of pace and will most likely try to lead. The form of that race is still difficult to assess and you have to consider that he was something of a surprise winner on debut. Copper Knight has the best form and should travel well. He was a little wayward at Windsor when shying away from the whip, which may be  a concern. At short odds you can't afford to have any doubts and although I fancy this horse to win I would need an each-way price to be tempted. That doesn't look unlikely. Awesome Allan was put in his place by Copper Knight. It was a difficult task to haul a 6lb penalty and bookmakers illustrated that point by his odds. Now on level terms, there is hope he can challenge Hugo Palmer's juvenile. Awesome Allan could prove value. The major hindrance is a wide draw. It isn't beyond the realms he could make a bold bid to the rail being fast from the stalls on previous starts. Players may chance their luck that he can sit handy and without the burden of the penalty may have each-way claims.

* NR - Imdancinwithurwife