An EBF Novices Fillies' Stakes over 6f on standard going. Twelve two-year-olds take part. I will summarise five as I am short of time, although these look to be the main protagonists.
Magical Forest will start at pretty cramped odds here after an eye-catching debut at Nottingham. This daughter of Casamento has size and scope to progress with racing and had a luckless first start when stuck behind Rapacity Alexander, who finished runner-up to Spin Doctor, trained by Richard Fahey in the silks of Cheveley park Stud. Marco Botti's juvenile would have gone close to winning that day. She's a great yearling purchase at just £22,000. Magical Forest is deserving of the favourite's tag but there looks to be very little value around even money.
Interesting to see Sir Mark Prescott with an early-season two-year-old. It is often a sign of intent, especially if fancied in the betting. Boost races in the Cheveley Park Stud silks and exceptionally well bred, sired by Pivotal out of Hooray. This mare was a gritty juvenile for the same connections, debut-winning over course and distance in 2010. Hooray went on to compete at Royal Ascot, placed third in the Cherry Hinton Stakes Group 2, victorious in the Lowther Stakes Group 2 & Sirenia Stakes Group 3. She crowned a glorious season by eclipsing the opposition in the Cheveley Park Stakes Group 1. At three, she disappointed in the 1000 Guineas but achieved an official rating of 116. A true talent. Boost will do well to live up to the lofty heights of her parents but she has the potential to be a talent. The best sign to assess this youngster is the betting. If priced 13/2 & less SP I would give this home-bred respectable win and place claims. If seriously fancied in the betting, she could be a tough nut to crack. Conversely, if weak in the market I would take a watching brief. It is a plus to see her out this time of year.
Ventura Blues was fancied when making her debut at Nottingham in the very testing ground. This daughter of Bated Breath cost £68,000 at the yearling sales. She is a good-looking filly with substance. That was a strange race with the winner seemingly loving the conditions and the rest of the field either falling apart or in need of the experience. Richard Hannon's charge was slowly into stride and everything seemed to be happening too quickly and I would have to consider this March foal didn't run her race. With that in mind, it makes assessing this two-year-old difficult. The betting is the best guide and if well backed I would expect a more professional display.
Ralph Beckett does well at this course and he can ready a two-year-old to win on debut. Cotinga is a home-bred from Larksborough Stud Limited. They have had a number of horses in training without huge success, although they have bred winners. This filly is the daughter of Paco Boy out of a debut-winning mare [Hobby] who was a decent horse racing at pattern class and placed at Group 3. Certainly one to respect.
Dean Ivory has done well with his two-year-olds in the last couple of years. He was a handler I consider couldn't win with his debutantes but he changed my mind last season with a few talented juveniles which prove he is a gifted trainer. Sweet Sienna is a daughter of Harbour Watch and cost £60,000 at the yearling sales, a touch more than the mare who cost just £500. In general, I would take a watching brief of this stable's two-year-olds.
Conclusion: A fascinating race in ways. Magical Forest is a good-looking filly who has the best form and perhaps unlucky not to have won on debut. She is the type to take some beating but the price offers very little value. If the opposition turns out to be limited that may look a very good bet but I would be fearful one or two of these have the ability. Boost is very interesting. She is exceptionally well bred and it may be a telling sign she is out now [not too far away from Royal Ascot]. Only time will tell. The key pointer here is the betting. If weak in the market take a watching brief. But if she is priced 13/2 & less SP I would be expecting a bold show and could well be worth an each-way wager. You may need to bet late to make sure she is in that best-betting guide. Ventura Blues is a good-looking filly and could be a dark horse here. She was fancied in the betting that day but ran too bad to be true. I would draw a line through that run and if well backed is another who could well be transformed. Cotinga has decent breeding and Beckett does well at this course. Has respectable win and place claims. Sweet Sienna is best watched but dean Ivory can spring a surprise so definitely not the type of horse to lay. If Boost is fancied in the betting, I'd be tempted to have a small each way.