Tuesday 21 March 2017

3:15 Southwell Racing Tips (21st March) Median Auction Maiden Stakes (Class 5) (3-5yo)

A Median Auction Maiden Stakes over 1m on Standard going.

Six runners: one four-year-old with the others aged three. Four horses have race experience. 

Billy's Connoisseur is the only four-year-old. Tim Easterby's bay gelding has done little in two starts and has to contend with a hefty age penalty which makes his task difficult, to say the least. Looks better suited when gaining a handicap mark. 

Twice-raced Melo Magic has finished plum last on both starts and another who will need a lowly mark to taste success. Will be the rank outsider for obvious reasons. 

Scott Dixon hasn't been flying with his juveniles and I doubt he has too much strength in the three-year-old division. This stable likes a gamble. That is the best sign of interest for debutante Lakeski. This bay daughter of Sir Percy cost just 5,000G when purchased at the yearling sales. 

As readers will know, I'm a big fan of Karl Burke. Testbourne is making his debut in the ownership of Tim Dykes. This Irish-bred gelding is a son of Big Bad Bob and a relatively cheap yearling purchase at 18,000G. By the nature of these races, it is unlikely any will cost a small fortune but that isn't always the case.

The betting suggests this is one of three horses to have any real hope of winning. Burke can ready a debutante. In fact, they feature fair win and place statistics when priced in single figures. However, it such a limited race there is a very good chance the betting for this horse may be skewed. That doesn't mean he cannot win or isn't a talent. It simply means if this March foal is limited he is likely to still feature at the forefront of the betting. It makes this gelding difficult to assess. 

The bookmakers will try and match the two favourite in hope of both being beaten. That looks unlikely unless Testbourne has ability and fired-up. 

Do you go for an experienced horse who hasn't managed to win or the lightly-raced who will be primed for a big run?

Magical Forest looked a winner waiting to happen after a debut which could have seen her victorious if not a touch unlucky. Eight runs later and still no win. Marco Botti and punters who have backed this daughter of Casamento must be showing grey hair after finishing runner-up on four occasions and many place efforts. This £22,000 yearling purchase has raced from 5f - 1m 1 1/2f. Her latest efforts saw her outclassed when racing at Meydan including a Group 3 contest. This is a marked drop in class. She has ability and should be competitive here. In fairness, there may be just one major opponent. There is a fear with a horse who loses time after time that they will eternally make hard work of winning. It is a negative in ways because so often this type of horse continues to lose. 

Ed Vaughan is a capable trainer. His horses often win on their second start. Whosyourhousemate was priced 50-1 on debut giving the impression this son of Bahamian Bounty needed the run. He looked to have little chance after a slow start and out the back for the most part before staying on to finish third. The first and second are both rated about 80. There is always a concern that a horse running so far from off the pace may be flattered. It probably isn't anything to be concerned about but it can happen. The odds on debut may indicate this horse needed the run or, perhaps, he hadn't shown a great deal of ability at home. These factors need to be considered when tempted to bet at short odds. This 32,000G yearling purchase hasn't been seen for a couple of months although he was meant to race a few weeks back but withdrawn. That was a decent effort based on his finishing position but he was very much an unconventional third after such a tardy start. The trainer has decent stats for this horse.

Conclusion: Basically this looks a two-horse race. Testbourne may have something to say about that. The betting is likely to suggest a big run from this debutante but with such a weak race the betting could be slightly misleading. It may be a worry if drifting markedly in the betting. It would be a positive if strongly backed. This race type is usually won by an experienced horse. The two favourites have shown ability but also indifference. Magical Forest has enough ability to win a race of this nature. However, she seems to either bump into better or disappointing. It must say something that Botti sent her to Meydan to contest a Group race. If you are betting on guaranteed form this horse has to be the selection. The negative is that she has had nine attempted and still waiting. Whosyourhousemate wasn't fancied on debut and ran a strange race. Was he a huge price because he needed the run or hadn't he shown much ability at home? If that third place came as a surprise to connections he could well drift markedly in the betting which may indicate he was flattered. It is possible. That kind of question mark is enough to keep me from betting at restricted odds. You may gain much bigger odds in running if slow from the stalls. Whichever favourite I backed, I would be fearful of the other. Added to the mix, the possibility that Testbourne could be a thorn in their side. 

I would have to take a watching brief.