Did you know before racing took part at Leicester it was a bog with a green shag pile carpet thrown on top just in case royalty came a visiting. It's still true.
Five runners: three colts, two geldings. A mix of trainers. As you may have gathered from the rather abstract introduction the going is heavy.
Lucata is the only juvenile with race experience, when far from disgraced at Kempton a week ago, finishing fifth, but not beaten far by less than four lengths. This bay colt is owned by The Roaring Twenties syndicate who must have a shipping container full of forward colts and fillies because I think just about every two-year-old runner this season for Tom Dascombe has been waving their flag. This bay colt is sired by Sir Prancealot, who had his first two-year-old winner with Stormy Clouds earlier in the week. Lucata cost just £10,000 at the yearling sales. He didn't have the best of starts and ran very wide on the final bend but making progress in the latter stages, running to the line in promising fashion. The winner, Stringybark Creek, was professional and won due to experience. Certainly the second horse, Tomily, had no luck at all and all but a winner in name. It is difficult to assess the merit of that first race. Dascombe's charge has valuable experience and looks the type to run to the line, which in these conditions is a plus. It's difficult to know whether this colt will enjoy the going. The mare - trained by Hannon Snr - won three times but ran predominately on good to firm. Sir Prancealot had a short career, racing at two, but never encountered testing ground to this extent.
As we have stated before, Richard Hannon has been somewhat eclipsed by the new-improved Johnston formula to trainer two-year-olds (obviously I say that tongue in cheek because we know the reason). Sterling Silva is a chestnut colt by Sakhee's Secret out of a once-raced mare. This youngster cost 70,000EUR at the yearling sales when purchased by Peter & Ross Doyle and runs in the ownership of Middleham Park Racing. I'm pretty sure connections have targeted this race before with juveniles with ability. It's very likely this colt will start favourite but whether punters will be enthused to bet on a debutante on heavy ground is up for debate. I will be watching.
Stan Moore has started the juvenile season with verve. He doesn't let the grass grow under his horse's hooves and does well with relatively cheap purchases. He has two geldings named Rinky Dink Dawn and Sheila's Lad respectively.
Sheila's Lad is interesting. This Irish-bred son of Lilbourne is out of an unraced mare. This bay was a cheap yearling at just 4,000EUR, purchased by the trainer. It is in the ownership of Ray Styles and Moore. The breeding and sales price don't fill the heart with optimism but there may be some glimmer of light. I note that this gelding held an entry for a decent money race at Wolverhampton [first 2yo race of season] and also the Brocklesby Conditions Stake. You're probably thinking go swing a cat by its tail and you might be right. However, the Brocklesby entrants have been fair sorts in their time - no world beaters by any level but up to winning a race. The majority - tellingly - on their second start.
The unusually named Rinky Dink Dawn is a chestnut gelding owned and trained by Moore & Partner. This Irish-bred son of Born To Sea is out of a very poor mare and cost £1,800 at the yearling sales, purchased by the trainer. He is a half-brother to Paddy's Motorbike, who is a fair sort and Blue Lotus.
Stan Moore does have winning debutantes but they are often talents and this pair don't look the types to paint the town red or even a pastel shade of pink. In such a small race anything could happen on these muddy conditions. I would definitely favour Sheila's Lad to go better long term.
Mick Channon has had a depleted string of juveniles in recent years and last year was pretty average as far as success. Sayesse is an Irish bred son of Sayif out of an unraced mare. He's a cheap yearling buy at just 5,500GNS. Racing in the familiar silks of Lord Isley Racing. Channon had a two-year-old winner with Springybark Creek, who looks a professional horse. I often use the betting to appreciate the strength or weakness of this stable's debutantes but with such a small field that data is likely to be skewed. I wouldn't consider this horses if drifting to double figures. A difficult colt to assess in this field.
Conclusion: Heavy ground, lightly raced juveniles or debutantes. It is - potentially - a disaster waiting to happen if you wish to bet. I will be watching. Sterling Silva and Lucata look the pair to fight it out (still watching). The latter, trained by Tom Dascombe, ran okay on debut and gave the impression he will run to the line, which is a must in this mud. Sterling Silva is a fairly expensive juvenile for this class and Middleham Park Racing have won this race in the past and I imagine they will fancy this to be a victorious debut. The others don't inspire unless loving the conditions and fit and ready. Sheila's Lad is interesting with a couple of better entries, including the Brocklesby. It is possible this cheap buy has ability but I would rather consider him second start. A race to watch.