Tuesday, 21 February 2017

2:40 Southwell Racing Tips (21st February) MAIDEN STAKES (CLASS 5) (3yo+)

Andrew Balding,
A Maiden Stakes over 1m on Standard going.

Seven horses take part. 

Billy's Connoisseur & Dibloam have the burden of a four-year-old age penalty which sees them riding at 10-0. Considering both have shown limited ability bookmakers will be hoping for a minor miracle.

The three-year-olds are likely to rule the roost. 

Touch Of Faith made his debut for Mick Appleby two weeks back. This chestnut gelding, a son of Zoffany, was a cheap two-year-old purchased at just 7,500G. He was a 40-1 shot on debut when making his racecourse bow over 1m. He finished last. 

The once-raced Tewafeedj is trained by Kevin Ryan for H M K Al Mehairi. This American-bred gelding is a son of Mawatheeq. He didn't go through the sales ring being bred by the owner. He wasn't fancied in the betting when 33/1 on debut at Redcar at two. Ryan has, basically, zero chance of winning at those odds with juveniles first time out. He finished fourth in testing ground. It wasn't the worst start but far from the best. Horses ran improve markedly on their second start. With several months to strengthen up and learn it is foolish to limit horses. They often come back, literally, to bite you on the arse. If backed to 13/2 & less SP it would give greater confidence. 

The three major contenders predicted by the betting.

The least experienced of the trio is Finale, trained by Hughie Morrison. This handler from East Ilsley, Berkshire, knows his horses and very much a thinking man. This bay filly, a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor, was a cheap yearling buy. She wasn't fancied on debut when starting at odds of 33-1. It was a respectable start. Better was seen the second start when stepping up to 1m at this course. This March foal wasn't at the head of the betting that day priced 12-1 but showed progression to finish second, beating the favourite, although no match for the winner. Morrison is never in any rush with his horses and it would seem likely Finale will be primed today. Experience on this surface is a positive. 

The likely favourites have fourteen races between them achieving six second places in total.  

Elegantly Bound has nine runs under his belt. This bay gelding is trained by James Givens in the familiar silks of Cool Silk Partnership. This son of Choisir cost £55,000 when purchased at two. The mare was limited. Elegantly Bound has finished second four times and has valuable course and distance experience when runner-up at Southwell, although that was in a handicap. He went clear but had no more to give in the last 75y. He led at this course when dropped back a furlong when headed and no extra last 50y. Givens' charge is likely to lead and battling type. I wonder if he would be better over 7f although that may be splitting hairs. An official rating of 74 is fair for this level to be competitive. 

Native Prospect could start favourite. Andrew Balding's chestnut colt is a son of Bated Breath for Mick and Janice Mariscotti, a significant patron with the stable with horses such as The Graduate, Havana Beat, Zanetto & Goldoni. The mare was a decent type achieving three wins, Listed placed and highest official rating of 103. Native Prospect cost 27,000G at the yearling sales having run five times and shown ability. The last two starts over 1m went well to finish runner-up. A short-head loss at Ffos Las, where just held in testing conditions, and equally fair performance at York at auction class when leading only to be denied by the odds-on favourite, clear of the third. Native Prospect is top rated here on official ratings by a couple of pounds. The slight concern is coming off an extended break so you have to trust Balding's got this one fit and ready.   

Conclusion: Perhaps, this is a four-horse race. Tawafeedj has raced once and could well improve. If backed to 13/2 & less SP would come into the reckoning but if weak in the market I would take a watching brief. The three favourites: Finale, Elegantly Bound and Native Prospect look sturdy types who will be trying hard to win and connections will mostly likely fancy their chances. Finale has course and distance experience and recent form which is a positive. I can see this filly going well but I'd rather bet each-way three places. Elegantly Bound has plenty of experience and won't be ring rusty racing at this course earlier this month. I can see this gelding leading but I do wonder if he will be prone to a late charge in the closing half furlong. He may be better at 7f although I may be wrong. Native Prospect is top rated on official figures and quite well bred. I would say the horse to beat but at even money, there is a concern about a long absence. It may be no problem at all but at short odds you have to consider every variable. On balance, I would take a watching brief.