Sunday 10 April 2016


British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (Class 5) over 5f 10y on soft going. Eight colts take part from an interesting line-up of trainers. 

We may as well start at the top.

Awesome Allan is trained by David Evans, racing in the silks of Walters' Plant Hire Ltd. This son of Acclamation is out of an unraced mare. He was purchased by Ted Nauton as a foal for 110,000EUR. The yearling sales price went down to 40,000GNS. Evans has been very busy with his juveniles, as he is every season. I have concerns this year's two-year-old string has its limitations. A couple of debutantes and one horse on its second start have disappointed at relatively short odds which may indicate they have fallen slightly below expectation. In truth, Evans is a cunning  trainer, who, in my opinion, does everything he can to camouflage the ability of his better horses. 

*Charlie Chaplin hails from Robert Eddery's stable. He is an underrated trainer. The greatest aspect of a smaller trainer is their likelihood to win at big odds. This son of Lope De Vega is out of an unraced mare. He cost 28,000EUR when purchase by the trainer at the yearling sales. Owner, David Bannon, has done well with Donncha, who has achieved an official rating of 98. I often associate this stable with gambles and remember a good few horses going amiss on debut but running huge races second start, often at big odds. It is worth noting that he held an entry for Newmarket. A horse I would take a watching brief on debut but follow this season. 

Another handler who isn't given the credit he deserves is Joseph Tuite. Dontforgettocall is their second juvenile runner after Spin Top ran off the course at Kempton. This son of Fox Wedge (AUS) was purchased for 11,000EUR at the yearling sales. His owner, A A Byrne, has done very well with Ebor winner Litigant. I'd take a watching brief. 

I've been impressed with Tom Dascombe's two-year-olds this year. Not so much in ability, although they have been winning and placed, but the way his home runners have handled their debuts. It's not a big surprise because he can prime a juvenile on debut but even saying that they have looked very professional from the stalls, most leading from the gate. Full Intention was the antithesis of his peers when proving difficult on his scheduled Brocklesby Stakes debut. He was withdrawn after running loose. That entry alone makes me look a little closer at this son of Showcasing. It may be a good idea to see how he handles proceedings before placing a bet. However, the stable have form lines to know whether this April foal [not two until 16th] has a fighting chance. If priced 7/1 & less sp has sound each way claims. If weak in the market, best watched. 

Iftitah is a bay colt sired by Harbour Watch and 55,000GNS yearling after being sold for 60,000GNS at foal. He is a half-brother to Dutch Mist. George Peckham is pretty new to the trainer ranks and achieved eight winners last year. Fawzi Abdullah Nass is his major patron. The mare won on debut at three for Julie Camacho. A watching brief but a price tag which suggests connection have high hopes. 

As far as top two-year-old trainers go this season messrs Johnston and Hannon figure at the head of the betting.  

Mark Johnston must be a thorn in Richard Hannon's side, stealing his early-season thunder with a host of exceptional juveniles that seemingly win for fun. The likes of Sutter County et al have caught my attention not only as physical specimens but as leading lights for Royal Ascot. 

Poet's Society will need to be something special to live up to the reputation of the above mentioned who in my mind is exceptional. This son of Poet's Voice is out of a very talented mare who was trained by Jeremy Noseda [Rahiyah]. A narrow loser on debut, she won second start before finishing runner-up in the Rockfel Stakes Group 2. She achieved an official rating of 111. This home bred should be respected although I do find the Johnston two-year-olds difficult to assess and my normal maxim applies: they are either easy winners or poor losers.     

Richard Hannon's name is synonymous with the first two-year-old race at Windsor and the stable send a number of talented juveniles to race by the Thames. Mr Scaramanga [the horse with the golden gun] is a bay colt by Sir Percy out of  winning mare cost 78,000EUR when purchased by Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock Ltd. This March foal runs in the silks of the Chelsea Thoroughbreds - Gold Gun. He holds an entry for Newmarket. One to respect although another stable I find it difficult to pinpoint their debut winners.   

Brendan Powell isn't associated with two-year-old race horses and usually the stable have a small string of limited juveniles. Spiritofedinburgh is worthy of consideration as this bay colt cost 44,000EUR as a foal and half-brother to Dark Emmerald. It is encouraging to note he held an entry for the Brocklesby Stakes. With a less fashionable stable, this juvenile will be available at big odds but he could be worth a speculative punt if someone goes crazy on the exchanges. On balance, I would take a watching brief simply because I'm not sure if he will need the run or not. He could run better than his odds. 

Conclusion: A field of debutantes, soft  ground and potential draw bias mean I'd tread carefully if having a bet. Not the easiest of races to assess with a mix of trainers who in my opinion can be difficult to predict and open to surprise. I like the breeding of Poet's Society and the stable have form lines to know the score. The Brocklesby entrants are worth noting. Full Intention was fancied in the betting when withdrawn and would be of interested if fancied again. I'd see if he is more settled going to the start before taking the plunge.  Spiritofedinburgh is interesting being quite an expensive buy and the Brocklesby entry may just be a sign of confidence. If huge prices on the exchanges he may be worth a speculative bet with a view to being backed. Awesome Allan cost a lot of money and Evans is capable of winning races with his better juveniles. He is difficult to predict which tempers enthusiasm. If backed, it would bring greater hope. Iftitah is best watched although the price tag catches the eye. Charlie Chaplin is a watching brief as is Dontforgettocall. Mr Scaramanga should be respected from a stable that win here. All in all a difficult race on testing conditions. A watching brief. 

NR - Charlie Chaplin