Thursday 11 February 2021

5:45 Chelmsford City Racing Info (12th February)

A 1m 2f Novice Stakes on standard going. 

This looks a tricky race. 

If considering betting, I would wait until the betting settles because it is likely to help. 

Sometimes, as proverb says: ''Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, always in a [fill in the blank] never in a man.

We know no man, apart from me, uttered those words. 

For a seven-runner race, we have a lot going on here and it may well be the case a few trainers fancy their chances. 

That's why it may pay to let the betting settle as it could weed out a few weak links and help clarify the situation. 

Gooner Boy is a well-bred colt, a son of Sea The Stars, out of a winning mare who raced at Group class. In the familiar silks of Amo Racing Limited, this March foal cost 260,000 gns at the yearling sales. John Gosden's debutantes can go well if starting favourite or short odds. Conversely, if weak in the betting it could indicate a few others hold claims. 

David Simcock does well with his horses on their second start and Shenu is interesting. This son of American Pharaoh is well bred and the four-time-winning mare raced at the highest level. Shenu was purchased as a 2yo Breeze-up for £175,000.  The owners, Never Say Die & Star Bloodstock, do well and Jamie Spencer is a decent jockey booking. He made his debut at Newcastle, over 1m, in a four-horse race, against a big odds-on. Shenu was impeded at the start on debut, which didn't help, going well enough at the back of the field, always in contention, rousted along at the 2-pole, then slightly outpaced and given a couple of decent back-handers, he was run off his feet, before making headway in the closing stages, doing his best work in the final half furlong. He was ridden by Callum Sheppard that day and things just didn't go quite right, mainly, I assume, because the trip was on the short side. I get the feeling a little more was expected, and this step up to 1m 2 could well see a marked improvement. From a statistical point of view, this colt has strong claims, although unless drifting a good deal in the betting may be price to chance. 

Mark Johnston is no stranger to sending out debut winners. Sea The Shells is a well-bred colt sired by Sea The Stars out of a four-time-winning mare who had a couple of attempts at Listed class although failed to shine at a higher level. It's surprising to see this colt fetched just 40,000gns at the yearling sales [considering the stallion fee is 150,000 Euros]. The betting is the best guide to this colt's chances. If weak in the market, it would be a negative. 

To add to the mix Charlie Fellowes fields the twice-raced Justicialism, who hasn't been seen for over 50 days. However, this colt has raced over this distance and showed some ability on both starts to date. This son of Vadamos was half fancied last time out at Lingfield and wasn't beaten far although finishing in fourth place. He led that day but was readily outpaced in the closing stages and may be better over a slightly lesser trip. Unless that was a decent race, he looked beaten far and square. The type of horse to run a professional race but may well be found out by one or two here if they have a bit of sparkle. 

The Guvnor is a son of Frankel who is out of a seven-time-winning mare [Eva's Request, trained by Mick Channon] who was a very talented individual winning at the highest grade and enjoying a test. She won over half a million in total earnings. Considering his breeding, The Guvnor was a pretty cheap yearling purchase at £75,000. I'm a fan of the owners The Rogues Gallery who have some decent horses and do well with Tom Clover. This colt was well backed on debut and I think connections fancied their chances. However, he faced a hard task over 1m at Kempton against a 2/7f. A slow start didn't help and an equal measure of inexperience on a turning course saw him on the back foot. Many times in that race I thought The Guvnor was getting himself organised to make a challenge but just couldn't get to the pack when the pace quickened in the closing three furlongs. I can imagine connections were a little disappointed as things just didn't quite fall into place. I think much of the problem was inexperience and insufficient trip. With a couple of weeks on the sidelines, and stepping up to ten furlongs, he should go much better. It would be encouraging if he was backed. Not without an each-way chance. 

Hugo Palmer's Countessa is the only filly in the field and at the time of writing is unfancied at 28/1. She didn't show a great deal when an 11/1 shot on debut at Kempton over this trip.There could be much better to come from this daughter of Camelot who cost $360,000 at the yearling sales. She needs to improve on that debut effort but may have needed the run. It would give some hope if backed as the stable do often go well second time out. A difficult horse to assess but may be better than looks and the jockey booking may be a sign of some hope. I would keep an eye on the betting. If seriously backed would be a horse with a chance. 

To add to the potential competitive nature of this race we have another outsider who may be better than seen. Roger Charlton's Rumi has been off course for almost 60 days and was fancied to go well last time out when dropping back to a mile from his debut effort over 1m 2f. He didn't show much at all that day. However, from a statistical perspective he went to Kempton with a live chance. It's possible Rumi disappointed that day and could hold claims if those hopes were true. I'd expect to see some money if he comes here with a fighting chance. 

Summary: I would definitely let the betting settle. This looks a very difficult race to assess without the market's help. Even then it may be a race you wish to watch rather than get too involved. It could be the case that the leading fancies offer little value especially if a few of these outsiders have been made to look worse than they are. I would keep an eye on the market. If there is money for the likes of The Guvnor, Rumi or Countessa it could well be a sign. If all are very weak, I would take it as a negative. On balance I would have to take a watching brief. I may well give an updated nearer the off time because I will have a much better idea.