A Maiden Auction Stakes over 7f 14y on standard going. Eight two-year-olds take part. A restricted race type which often favours experienced, form horses. On first inspection, this doesn't look the most competitive of races. Someone has to win!
Mark Johnston has been strong all season and Killermont Street will be one of the favourites. This bay filly is a daughter of Dream Ahead owned by Douglas Livingstone who has horses such as Highly Sprung. A loyal patron of Kingsley Park Stables.
This April foal was purchased by Mark Johnston Racing for 35,000E. She was priced 3/1 on debut when finishing sixth, beaten eight lengths. On the face of it, that looked a disappointment but it was a stiff race with the winner, Really Special, since unbeaten in two races, while the second is no slouch and third, Gorgeous Noora, literally flew home to an effortless win next start. The fourth, Mississippi Mis has won, too.
This is a drop in class. In addition, this step up in distance will be of benefit. Most juveniles, if holding ability, show it on their second start. Bold claims.
Sir Mark Prescott hasn't hit the headline with his crop of juveniles this season. Most are very much in need of their debut. He is a handler who has a plan for each horse to the point that some are primed to win while others are allowed to mature on their own time. Espresso Freddo is a son of Fast Company and 36,000E yearling purchase. He started early season but trounced. This bay colt went well on his second start at Windsor when losing by less than one length. That was a decent enough race for this grade. Fancied to go well at Brighton, he tired quickly and finished a distant last. There may well have been a problem that day back in June. Over five months have passed since that last disappointment. Middleham Park Racing will be hoping to make a positive return. There are a few question marks which would make me shy away from taking a short price.
Bizet has been kept busy with six races to date. John Ryan is a talented trainer, although he doesn't have the greatest string of juveniles. This bay colt is a son of Helmet and 25,000G breeze-up purchase at two. He ran well in his earlier races - touched off by a head to Marzouq at Chelmsford. He ran terrible when attempting a nursery for the first time and last start over course and distance. A return to form is needed before taking a punt.
Lisa Williamson is another trainer who has limited ammunition when it comes to two-year-olds. Blue Rocks was sent off huge odds on his first two starts, then a gallant third at odds of 100/1when dropping in distance. This Irish-bred gelding looks up against it here.
Bryan Smart has seen a relatively quiet season with his juveniles but a capable handler. Most of his two-year-olds win on their second start. Pepys was fancied in the betting at Beverley when attempting auction class finishing third. This son of Aqlaam hasn't been disgraced on his last two starts when running over a mile. This drop in distance and grade gives greater hope but may need to find some improvement.
Eponina is a daughter of Zoffany, part owned by the Trojan Horse Partnership. This bay filly was purchased by the vendor for just 5,000G at the yearling sales. To be fair, she ran well on debut over course and distance at 66/1. Although sixth, this April foal wasn't beaten far. That was at auction class, similar to this. Ben Haslam is a very capable trainer and if this youngster is priced 13/2 & less SP has each-way claims.
One of two debutantes Magical Molly Joe catches the eye being trained by David Barron. This bay filly was purchased by her owner Lee Woolams for just £800 at the yearling sales. You don't need me to say that is a small amount of money. It doesn't inspire confidence but the trainer stats do give some hope. Ironically. I would prefer this juvenile if it was priced bigger odds but one with each-way claims although the price tag does bring slight concerns.
Last but not least, Satis House is trained by Susan Corbett. This trainer from Otterburn, Northumberland has had just eight two-year-old runs in the last five years. None were placed. This bay filly was bred by the trainer, owned by Castle View Racing, who may well be connected with the stable. This daughter of Bahri is related to Gran Canaria Queen who is a capable sprinter. On balance, it would be unlikely this May foal wins.
Conclusion: A run of the mill race. These restricted contests give lesser horses a chance to taste victory and connections of one will be proud as punch. Killermont Street looks better than most. Fancied on debut from a leading stable. That was a stiff race on debut and sixth place may cloud the vision of a few punters. The horse to beat. Difficult to know what to think about Espresso Freddo. On his best form, he has a live chance but it is always a concern when a short-priced horse has something to prove. I would have to take a watching brief. Eponina has claims if priced 13/2 & less SP. Magical Molly Joe cost a pittance and that does bring concerns, especially so being purchased by her owner rather than the trainer. On the stats, has each-way claims. A funny old race. If something wins well it will be Killermont Street.