An EBF Maiden Stakes over 6f on standard going. Fourteen runners over this 6f. Not a great deal of time so will keep this to point.
The betting suggest this is out of five horses. It isn't beyond the realms for an outsider to pop up in these late maidens although unlikely.
Richard Fahey fields Atteq who is owned by Al Shaqab Racing, bred by Fittock's Stud. This son of Invincible Spirit cost 310,000G when purchased at the yearling sales. Atteq made his debut at Chester in June when backed to 5/2 second favourite. He had a low draw over the five furlongs but dwelt, struggling to be competitive, but not beaten far. Interesting why this April foal hasn't been seen out for many months. With such an expensive purchase, it is likely connections are looking for a win. This step up to six furlongs should be of help. If priced 13/2 & less, has fair each-way claims. If weak in the betting others may make greater apeal.
Saeed bin Suroor has been firing in the winners of late. He is certainly a trainer who can send out talented debutantes. This bay gelding is a son of Street Cry is related to Huntman's Close. Creek Walk will need to bet fit and ready. Making his racecourse bow over a relatively short distance means he cannot afford to be ring rusty. Another horse who could go well if fancied in the betting but if partcularly weak best watched.
Holmeswood caught the eye for a number of reasons, including being one of few juveniles owned by David Armstrong to be trained with Michael Dods. This son of Mayson is well bred out of Anglezarke. He was relatively fancied over course and distance when racing at the end of October. He was fielded against Mazyoun who was 1/8f. Most punters wouldn't have given this bay colt much hope but he was priced as a decent no-lose each-way bet. In many respects, he was unlucky not to have won. There was something of a bumping match between the two and the stewards decided to go with the favourite. That was a very good effort. A short price but a tough nut to crack. The horse to beat.
Marco Botti has been in fine form these last few weeks and his two-year-old debutantes have been either winning or hitting the frame. The betting is usually a good guide for those making their racecourse bow and *Omran was backed to 8/1. He was slow away but ran on with verve, taking second in the closing stages. Looks likely to improve and the major danger to the favourite.
Hugo Palmer needs little introduction when it comes to debut winners. La Guapita is a daughter of Bahamian Bounty and a relatively cheap yearling purchase at 20,000G. The betting is the best indicator. If priced over 13/2, I would consider this filly will struggle to compete with the favourites.
Concluson: Holmeswood made a sparkling debut against a highly-tried juvenile in Mazyoun. It is likely he wasn't quite at his best or perhaps slightly flattered on a few of those earlier efforts. However, Dods' charge was unlucky not to win that day - it could have gone either way. In that sense, he is a winner without a penalty [or damn close to it]. Racing over course and distance is a positive. Defintely the horse to beat. Omran deserve respect. He may have been slow into his stride through inexperience but he wouldn't want to be slow from the stalls here. A fair opponent, although I would favour Holmeswood. Atteq is a costly buy. If in Fahey's best betting guide [13/2 & less SP] could well hold each-way claims. I get a feeling Creek Walk and especially La Guapita may struggle to beat the favourites. If seriously backed, it would give more confidence. Not much of a price, but Holmeswood ticks a lot of boxes.
*NR - Omran