Nine runners aged from three to five-years-old.
Poetic Queen is a bay filly aged four. Eric Alston's horse is owned by Mr & Mrs G Middlebrook who has raced six times. She is a progressive individual who has finished runner-up in her last two starts. Although saddled with an age penalty, she has been competitive against the three-year-olds on previous outings. By race type, this could be a step up in class. However, this point doesn't seem to hinder many at this time of the year. It is more about the merit of each horse. Poetic Queen has an official rating of 60 which, by normal standards, is poor. It's a fact, that some of these races don't take the world of beating.
Harlequin Storm made his debut against Poetic Queen. Dean Ivory's son of Clodovil wasn't fancied at odds of 25-1 but stayed on to finish two lengths behind Alston's charge. He was a relatively expensive yearling purchase at 42.000G. With that initial start under his belt, natural improvement should see this March foal hold claims of reversing the form.
Good to see Les Eyre back in training. Prazeres used to be trained by William Haggas before being sold at the two-year-old sales for 14,000G [Eyre]. This son of Sepoy ran well on debut at 20-1 when third. He has been just about favourite on next three starts and lost his way. An absence of four months will need to see a change of heart. The betting will be the best guide.
Elemento cost just £5,500 when purchased at the yearling sales. This chestnut gelding hasn't been seen since last May when unfancied in the betting at Leicester and comprehensively outclassed. Phil McEntree is an interesting trainer who likes a bet. Doesn't look the most likely on paper but if substantially backed may spring into life.
Jashma was an expensive yearling purchase at 110,000E. This son of Power is trained by Richard Hughes and twice raced. He has been quite fancied on both starts and very well backed from 14-1 at Kempton just ten days ago. This May foal travelled nicely and looked to hold ever chance but weakened in the closing stages. This step up in distance should help and a progressive type. The sales tag suggest to me there will be more to come.
The sole debutante is quite interesting.
I always keep an eye on Reg Bond's horses as he can find a talent and if so they usually make their presence felt. Eddiebet is a son of Monsieur Bond [pictured] out of an unraced mare. This chestnut gelding was sent to the yearling sales but bought in by the vendor for 28,000G. David O'Meara is a talented trainer who can prime a debutante. A difficult horse to assess but not without a chance especially if fancied in the betting.
Trotter was further behind and needs to find substantial improvement.
Six Of The Best & Gameskeeperwilly are best watched.
Conclusion: I can't say I'm chomping at the bit about this race. Harlequin Star could improve past Poetic Queen. By race type, this is a step up in class. However, a number of these races are won by 60-rated horses which suggest maidens this time of year are often limited. Prazeres needs to be rejuvenated. A change of stables may help but a few question marks. If seriously weak in the betting it would be a concern. Jashma cost good money and been fancied in the betting on both starts. This horses could improve for a step up in distance and something tells me we haven't seen the best of him. Could hold each-way claims. Interesting to see how Eddiebet goes. If fancied in the betting, I would take note. On balance, a watching brief.