14:.10 – EBF Novice Stakes
A really tricky race with only two places and seven runners. The market is likely to be a really good guide here.
The obvious starting point is Ottoman Court, whose trainer currently has a 45% strike rate with juveniles this year (5 from 11). He looks to have been bred well and probably starts favourite.
Be Prepared is the first two-year-old Simon Crisford has run this season but the booking of Andrea Atzeni suggests that they mean business. The stable has a 17% strike rate with turf juveniles over the last five seasons.
Port Winston ran ok on his first run out for a trainer not renowned for sharp two-year-olds and, assuming he comes on for the run, the benefit of his previous outing means it will be difficult to keep out of the frame.
Lastly, the Johnston horse Homespin is difficult to weigh up and will surely need more time. However, it caught my eye that they had entered him in several races this week but ultimately opted for this one. The stable are experts at placing their horses and this might just be a decent two-year-old.
Place 6 Selections – Ottoman Court, Be Prepared, Port Winston
14:45 – Novice Median Auction Stakes
There are only four you can give a chance to in this race.
The two who have prior experience and have placed, Aegeus and Tabassor, don’t set the bar too high but it’s difficult to know whether Sleepdancer and Aldente will be forward enough to have a chance of winning on debut. I would be inclined to perm two of the four and want to pick one with experience as one of the two debutantes I’ve mentioned.
Place 6 Selections – Aegeus, Sleepdancer
15:15 – Classified Stakes
Only 3lbs separates eight of the nine runners here and I found this race a bit of a head-scratcher. I ultimately narrowed it down to a shortlist of four but, with only nine runners and three places, you can only really select two or three in a Place 6 perm.
Heading up the shortlist is Gylo from the David O’Meara stable. He steps up to 8f today after three fairly eye-catching maiden runs to get a mark and finished a respectable seventh of 20 over 6f on his handicap debut. Looks sure to be suited to 8f and likely to run well.
Lady Mascara has been a big price on all three runs to date and has finished midfield every time. Making her turf debut today, the mark of 69 looks decent on a couple of form lines and I think we’ll see an improvement in form from her going forward.
Rambaldi brings the best handicap form into the race and won on debut off a mark of 67, before twice finishing fourth off a mark of 71. He just creeps into this race off a mark of 70 and is another making his turf debut, should run well.
Ventura Glory has slipped down the handicap ratings but ran better last time at Newmarket and is one of the few in the race who has proven form on turf and I think she will go well.
Place 6 Selections – Gylo, Rambaldi, Ventura Glory
15:45 – Fillies Handicap
An interesting race with the unexposed Nearooz taking on some experienced handicappers and another unexposed type from the Gosden stable.
It’s difficult to oppose Nearooz and she could easily be much better than a handicapper. She found little trouble winning under a penalty last time and looked to have plenty left in the tank. Has to prove she can do it again on turf having won her maiden but I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t go close here.
I would rather side with the proven ability of I Am Magical than the potential of Duneflower and she’d be my second selection in the race. She won a lower grade handicap last time and runs here under a penalty but looks to be improving and, although she was beaten by La Voiz Magique first time out this season, that was on soft ground. I think La Voiz Magique needs it to be soft whereas I Am Magical is at home on firmer ground, as it will be here.
Place 6 Selections – Nearooz, I Am Magical
16:20 – British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap
Another tricky little seven-runner handicap that is tough to unravel. I’ve narrowed it down to four and, with only two places, I would definitely be looking to perm a few I think.
Seascape heads up the shortlist and is 6lbs higher than when she won on her handicap debut. Unlike a few in the field, she will appreciate the fast ground here and, given that she would have gone close last time off a 6lbs higher mark, you have to assume that she will go close.
Inclyne has plenty of form from last season on firm ground, although was second last time on her handicap debut which came on softer ground. Off a 2lb higher mark today, and in a slightly easier race, she should run well.
Cuban Sun steps up in class and handicap after routing a decent-sized field last time on softer ground. If she handles the ground today, she should run well again.
Thanks Be is the final one I want to mention as she was only beaten by a short head in her last run and finished three lengths in front of Tabassor, who runs in the 2.45 today. If Tabassor runs well, it suggests that Thanks Be could also be on a decent mark.
Place 6 Selections – Seascape, Inclyne, Cuban Sun
16:55 – Handicap
One of the easiest races on the card for me and I’ll be surprised if one of the two below don’t place.
Bailarico still has room to move with his current handicap mark I think. Based on his hurdles mark, and after two recent spins on the flat, he should be ready to strike today. He was a little unlucky last time and, with a slightly better timed ride, will go close.
Master Grey absolutely bolted up last time by six lengths, with another 5 lengths back to the horse in 3rd. He basically spread-eagled the field and with only a 5lbs penalty to carry today, he is likely to go off a fairly short priced favourite and I see no reason to oppose him.
Place 6 Selections – Bailarico, Master Grey