Nine two-year-olds take part: five with racecourse experience. The betting details that five horses are fancied here.
Crimson Lake has raced twice for leading trainer David Simcock. This bay daughter of Makfi has been on the sidelines for fifty days following a placed effort at Salisbury on good to soft going in October. Adorning the familiar silks of Qatar Racing Ltd, she wasn't overly fancied when making her debut at odds of 10-1. Plugging on for fourth, the winner, Unforgettable Filly trained by Hugo Palmer, won decisively by seven lengths. This homebred was fancied on her second start at Salisbury when backed from 8-1 returning 5-1. It was a creditable performance, holding third with command. The winner, Icespire, trained by John Gosden, was a strong favourite, who was ridden clear to win comfortably. On balance, it didn't look the strongest of heats but a filly who has valuable race experience.
William Haggas keeps firing in the winners and his two-year-olds have been excelling all year long. Dellaguista made her debut at the end of the turf season when finishing sixth at Doncaster competing over one mile. This grey daughter of Sea The Stars cost 160,000G when purchased as a foal by BBA Ireland. The mare was a decent performer winning twice at Group 3 in Ireland and contested the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Dellaguista was priced 14-1 that first start but the betting, as much as anything, detailed this Irish-bred horse needed the run. After dwelling, she was given the comment: 'Kept on steadily, will do better'. With a month off course, connections will be looking for this February foal to lose her maiden tag sooner rather than later. There should be ample improvement and if available at each-way odds could be a tempting bet.
The two major opponents, as far as the betting is concerned, are debutantes: Enable & Glamour Time, respectively.
Enable is trained by John Gosden, racing in the familiar silks of K Abdullah. This February foal is a daughter of Nathaniel out of a talented mare who was trained by Andre Fabre winning three from seven starts [debut] to Listed class, placed twice more at pattern level. Gosden's debutantes can win at the first time of asking and if priced 13/2 & less SP has claims.
Roger Varian trains Glamour Time for Newsells Park Stud (owner/breeders). This grey filly was sent to the sales twice as a yearling but withdrawn. This Irish-bred daughter of Teofilo is out of a talented mare who raced seventeen times in Ireland winning three times including a Group 3 contest at the Curragh. She achieved an official rating of 104. Varian had problems throughout the season with a virus in the stable so there may be a good few juveniles seen over these winter months. From a statistical point of view, she holds each way claims.
Two other debutantes are worthy of note, especially if supported in the betting.
Gallifrey is trained by Lucy Wadham. This Newmarket handler has a small string of two-year-olds but knows a good horse when she sees one. However, this is her first juvenile to run this season. This bay daughter of Sir Percy cost 170,000G at the yearling sales when purchased by Blandford Bloodstock. She is now in the ownership of Chasemore Farm who have horses with many trainers. One of their better types is Mutatis Mutandis who won at Listed class for Ed Walker in 2015. Gallifrey's mother [by Galileo] won on debut in Ireland, her only victory in twenty starts, although highly tried being placed at Group 3 and racing at Group 1 on two occasions. Lucy Wadham wouldn't get many juveniles with such a price tag. Considering the stallion and mare both won on debut connections may fancy they have a fair horse to go to war. Interesting.
Karl Burke is a fine handler who can ready a debutante. Touch Me is a home-bred daughter of Masterofthehouse for Hassan Al Abdulmalik. The mare was limited, showing nothing in three starts. If priced 10-1 & less SP may have a fighting chance although that looks unlikely.
Form horses Legalized & Spirit Of Rome looks to have a mountain to climb.
Lenoire is a daughter of Galileo and homebred for George Strawbridge. She was well backed on debut but showed limited ability. The second start, she was keen when twelfth or fourteen although not beaten a long way. Unfancied in the betting today at 25-1. May have more to offer. Unless substantially backed, best watched.
Conclusion: Quite an intriguing race in ways. Not the easiest to assess with limited form and debutantes.
Crimson Lake has shown ability on both starts and experience counts for a lot at this age. She has claims but may be susceptible to a debutante with a touch of class.
Dellaguista will improve for her debut. Haggas has decent each-way claims with his fillies second start and I'd expect this juvenile to go well. She would be interesting if touching each-way prices.
From a statistical point of view both Enable and Glamour Time are worthy of note and could hit the frame. They are well-bred types from significant trainers. If priced outside 13/2 SP, it may be an indicator they are not fired up. However, if strong in the market, they should be feared.
Gallifrey is interesting. Although from a trainer who has very few two-year-old runners, a price tag of 170,000G catches the eye. She's well bred out of debut winners and Wadham is likely to hold this filly in high regard. If backed, I would anticipate a big run. If weak in the market it may be the case she will be a better horse second start.
The others have something to prove. I'd take a watching brief.