A Maiden Auction Stakes over 1m 1f 103y on Standard going. Seven three-year-olds taking part all with race experience. Quite a restricted race type which often favours the best form horses. We will have a quick rundown and see if we can come to any conclusions.
A couple of outsiders which are big odds and unlikely candidates are What's Up Walter & Rupertcampbellblack.
What's Up Walter is a son of Stimulation and owned and trained by Philip Kirby. Last, both starts to date.
The latter was originally purchased for 60,000E at the yearling sales then just a 7,000E buy at two when purchased by Ron Harris racing in the silks of Ridge House Stable Ltd [basically still under the ownership of the trainer]. Beaten 75 lengths on debut doesn't inspire.
So we have five horses with some kind of chance as far as the betting is concerned. The best finishing position is second place for Philip Kirby's other runner from twelve starts. Good Time Ahead is a bay gelding and son of Iffraaj who cost 26,000 at the yearling sales. This April foal has won just over £3,500 in prize money. I can imagine connections were full of hope when this horse lost by a short head on debut when ''just held''. He has gradually fallen down the handicap from 76 - 59. A poor rating to win a maiden, even an auction stakes this shouldn't be able to win. However, such is the limitation of this contest he is 5/1. Looks a better prospect for a handicap or plating class. Perhaps, if this race is very poor, connections fancy they may pick up prize money for a place.
Simon Dow is a talented trainer who deserves more support. Damo is worth a second glance because he hasn't proven hopeless after one race. This chestnut gelding is a son of New Approach purchased by the vendor for 25,000G at the yearling sales. The mare was poor when trained by Amanda Perrett. Damo was priced 50/1 on debut at Lingfield over one mile. He showed pace but faded. Most horses improve markedly for their second start so you can never be too dismissive of a lightly-raced horse.
Mick Channon must be ruing his fortunes in the last few years. His standard of two-year-old has fallen, which has a knock-on effect to older horses, too. Baby Helmet is owned by a great patron of the stable in Jaber Abdullah. This owner does remarkably well with his bargain buys. This chestnut gelding is a son of Helmet out of a mare who was similarly owned/trained. In fact, the mare [Lady Gorgeous] was a fair talent who raced hard for a couple of seasons achieving a highest official rating of 102. She managed one win from thirteen starts and lost by a head on debut. She raced at Group class but never figured including unplaced in the Lowther Stakes Group 2. But back to Baby Helmet, who was purchased by the vendor for 20,000G at two when going through the October sales. This was no doubt done to be legible for this lesser race type. He achieved little on debut over 6f at Catterick when always towards the rear on soft going. There may have been some improvement when stepping up to one mile and half furlongs earlier this year. Priced 25/1 suggested little was expected. He isn't the worst bred horse so there may be some hope. If backed, it would bring confidence.
Peter Chapple-Hyam is another trainer who is a shadow of his former self with regards to training. Charlie Rascal is a son of Myboycharlie out of an unraced mare. He wasn't fancied on debut when racing on the turf where he wasn't disgraced after showing good pace before weakening into fifth, beaten a similar number of lengths. A respectable run was seen in his second start at Leicester, when fancied in the betting, finishing fourth but beaten less than three lengths. Charlie Rascal was beaten by three fair horses for the grade when fourth at Chelmsford City over one mile. He was beaten by Good Time Ahead at Southwell last time out when making his handicap debut. He showed more pace than Kirby's charge and is probably better. The surface can find out the best of runners.
Mark Johnson has the likely favourite, The Last Debutante. It tells the story when you see this filly is rated just 65. We really are talking plating class on official figures. However, the betting suggests this daughter of Henrythenavigator is the best of a bad lot. She cost 30,000E at the yearling sales. This January foal has raced four times ridden by Joe Fanning each time although a different jockey booking here with P J McDonald. She wasn't fancied on debut when priced 20/1. The second start at Chelmsford City saw improvement when eased near the line but only beaten under two lengths. Last time out saw her a touch keen in the early stages which isn't ideal for this trip. It was a fair effort at handicap level.
Conclusion: A big post for a poor race. This looks pretty dire although a competitive heat for these horses racing at their level. In truth, they look plating class and most would be better at handicap level. However, this race doesn't look anything special. I won't be betting. But someone has to win. The Last Debutante & Charlie Rascal have shown glimmers of ability. Damo may improve for Simon Dow. Baby Helmet is well bred for this class. I would keep an eye on the betting. If hammered it would be a positive. A watching brief.