A Novices Stakes race over 5f on soft going. Nine runners including seven colts, one gelding and solitary filly. Four two-year-olds have race experience.
Dusker ran a fair race on debut at Kempton when finishing fourth. The form of the race is slightly difficult to assess with the likes of Tomily improving a good deal for his debut, while Makman went off much to fast in the same race at Newmarket. On balance, Mark Johnston's colt has form and experience. The price looks pretty short and I would have to take a watching brief.
Absolutely Awesome ran in the Brocklesby which rather fell apart at the seams with a couple of notable withdrawals in Create A Dream and Full Intention. This son of Choisir was quite well backed and ridden as though fit. He showed good pace but faded quickly in the closing stages. The ground may have been a problem or he needed the run. I would have concerns this chestnut colt will show good pace and tire.
Kevin Ryan does pretty well at this course. Percy Toplis was very weak in the betting on debut at Southwell but plugged on in the closing stages although never competitive. It is difficult to assess the level of the winner and second, who beat this horse by a good few lengths in third. This test of stamina may help but there needs to be improvement or a below standard race. The stable do well with horses fancied on their second start so I would give it the benefit of the doubt although not really impressed as yet.
Trois Bon Amis is trained by Tim Easterby. This 28,000eur purchase is priced as though needing the run. The stable don't feature the best strike rate on debut unless fancied although they do have a few big priced horses run well on debut at times. A difficult horse to assess. On balance, I'd watch if starting at double-figure odds.
Springwood seemed very weak in the early market when finishing behind Absolutely Awesome in the Brocklesby. The price suggested he was limited or needed the run. This chestnut son of Zebedee cost £26,000. He is a fair-looking colt, particularly strong through the neck, and traveled well on debut before tiring rapidly in the final furlong. Physically, I liked the horses and if his issue was fitness he could well turn the tables on Absolutely Awesome and may run well. Has each-way claims.
Sidewinder is trained by Tom Dascombe, whose two-year-olds have been going well this season a few at big prices. This son of Majestic Missile cost 34,000eur at the yearling sales. The stable can go well on debut and most of their juveniles have been going very well this season. If priced 7/1 & less sp has each-way claims.
Karl Burke has sent out a couple of poor two-year-olds this season which have been unfancied in the betting and shown little. This son of Sir Prancealot cost 18,000eur at the yearling sales. The stable can win on debut and feature fair win and place claims when backed to single figures. Although the strike rate for two-year-olds at this course is nothing special I do associate Burke with this course and Sir Viktor is another horse worthy of consideration.
Queen's Parade hail from Sharon Watt's stable, who have a small string of juveniles. A watching brief.
Conclusion: A difficult race to assess in ways. Dusker may be good enough to win but the price looks short to me. I couldn't bet at those odds. Percy Toplis needs to improve although on the stats has place claims. Sidewinder is another who has fair each-way claims. I quite like Springwood. He is a strong-looking colt and if needing the run on debut could well prove a different horse today. One for the short list. Sir Viktor is another who has a fighting chance if priced in single figures.