A Novice Median Auction Stakes over 5f 11y on good to firm going. A restricted race type with ten two-year-olds, four with experience from a mix of stables.
Billy Boots is slowly getting his act together. This son of Winker Watson was originally earmarked for the Brocklesby Stakes but made his debut over course and distance, drifting markedly in the betting, and performed as though he needed the run. This chestnut colt was certainly ridden with more vigor second start when runner-up to Hugo Palmer's facile winner Hyperfocus.
That day he held Ron Harris' newcomer Fethiye Boy who was backed from 16/1 - 6/1. This son of Pastoral Pursuits showed good pace to lead but tired rapidly in the final furlong. He was ridden as if fit and may be a short runner.
Cosmic Beau ran in a fair race behind the well-touted pair Hoyamy and Reach High. This son of Dandy Man drifted in the betting but ran pretty well in fourth. Tom Dascombe has been sending out his two-year-old in a steady stream this year and the majority have run well. One for the shortlist.
Hi Milady shaped quite well on debut for Domini Ffrench-Davis but looked quite lazy when returning to Wolverhampton over an extra furlong. By all accounts, that should have helped this daughter of Sir Prancealot. Not a bad-looking filly and quite expensive at 30,000gns for this grade, she needs to be more focused. I think connections fancied their chances that day and it seems a surprise to see her drop back in distance or not fitted with blinkers. It may just have been the consequence of a turning course because she slowed markedly on the bend. Perhaps turf will be to her liking. I would expect this Irish-bred to struggle for pace and run on in the closing stages all too late.
For such a restricted race type it is quite remarkable that Mutahaady, trained by Richard Hannon, cost 125,000gns (when the yearling median price for this race is £18,000). This son of Elzaam out of a poor mare must be a very good-looking colt. It could be simply due to teh fact he is a half-brother to George Bowden. It's is interesting he is owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum. The betting is the best guide but a horse that may well have slipped under the radar compared to many of these cheaper purchases.
Berkshire Boy was pretty expensive, too. This bay colt, a son of Elzaam, cost 50,000gns when purchased by Andrew Balding at the yearling sales. Balding does have winners on debut although they usually turn out to be their better two-year-olds. If priced 10/1 and less has fair each-way claims. If weak in the betting, best watched.
Jamie Osborne has his first two-year-old runner of the season. Secret Coin is a daughter of Approved. The stable has the odd debut winner but mostly they need the run and go much better second start.
Zebspear is a £15,000 breeze-up purchase, trained by Joseph Tuite. He is one of those handlers who can slip under the radar but difficult to assess on debut.
Clive Cox does well with his juveniles and particularly so at Bath. This chestnut son of Fast Company cost just £8,000 when bought by the trainer at the yearling sales. When you consider the cost of Mutahaady it can make what may turn out to be a bargain buy look like a lesser relation. However, if Mister Sunshine is priced 10/1 & less SP he has very good each-way claims.
Lilly Ballerina is best watched.
Conclusion: A funny old race in ways. Quite a few have chances from a statistical perspective and a couple who may go better after disappointing. Mutahaady cost a lot of money for this race type. He must be a good-looking colt and interesting. Perhaps the prize tag will catch too many eyes and relate to poor value. I find Hannon a difficult trainer to assess on debut but one to respect. Berkshire Boy is best judged on the betting and if 10/1 & less SP have fair each-way claims. If outside that guide I would take a watching brief. Billy Boots holds Fethiye Boy on their Leicester running and Channon's horse will be trying hard today. No world beater but may sneak a place. Cosmic Beau has respectable each-way claims and the form of that Doncaster race looks better than what these have achieved. Hi Milady looked regressive last time but may be better in time. This trip looks too sharp in ways and she is a touch lazy on what I have seen. Blinkers would wake her up. Zebspear, Lilly Ballerina & Secret Coin are best watched unless seriously backed. Mister Sunshine is a cheap buy but if priced 10/1 & less SP has sound each way claims. Almost too many horses with chances here. If pressed, I would have an each-way bet on Mister Sunshine but only if in best-betting guide.