A Novice Stakes over 7f on Standard going.
Nine two-year-olds take part: all raced bar one debutante.
The betting suggests five horses have some hope here. I will detail three who may well fill the frame.
Sir Mark Prescott has had an indifferent season with his juveniles. A few winners but no horses of above-average ability. On The Warpath is an American-bred son of Declaration Of War. This chestnut colt was a 33-1 shot on debut when fourth over 7f at Chelmsford, losing by less than three lengths. Prescott's juveniles often improve for the run and although starting at 14-1 on his next start at Lingfield, ran a sterling race to finish a head behind Charlie Appleby's Statehood, the fast-finishing Il Primo Sole, not quite catching the leaders who listened to his fast hooves echoing at the line. This April foal (born on April Fools Day) sets the standard.
Interesting to see the return of James Givens' G Eye Joe. This chestnut colt is owned by The Cool Silk Partnership who is no stranger to talented juveniles. This son of Lethal Force was a breeze-up purchase for 85,000G. That isn't the greatest sum for this outfit but this trainer/owner combination are worthy of respect. It is telling this February foal was strongly fancied in the betting when making his debut at Ascot back in July over 6f. He was backed from 6-1 to 9-2 but showed little when finishing last. Clearly, something was expected that day competing for win prize money of £12,000+. The stats for G Eye Joe indicated a big run was expected that day so it is fair to assess he disappointed and being off course for months indicates that point.
Givens gave this colt a Gimcrack Stakes Group 2 entry, one of a handful of the stable's juveniles to receive any significant entries for the season. This could well prove significant. Added to the betting on debut, a race with high-end prize money, it gives hope this youngster has a level of ability. It is also a positive to come out this time of year because if they didn't have some ambition it would be logical to wait until next season.
On the negative side, from a statistical point, the stable doesn't have such great win and place rate with fancies juveniles on their second start. However, the stable do well at Southwell racecourse and all the other positives bring a fair level of interest. If available at each-way price is worth a bet.
Andrew Balding is another trainer who I respect with juveniles on their second start. Dawn Dancer didn't achieve a great deal when making his debut at Nottingham, a 40-1 chance. Could improve for that first start and if priced 9/1 & less SP may have each-way claims. If weak in the market best watched.
Conclusion: An intriguing race.On The Warpath sets the standard but in ways holds up the price for the likes of G Eye Joe and Dawn Dancer. James Givens' representative is interesting because there are a good few signs indicating he has a level of ability. However, he does need to be fit and ready after a long absence. If priced 13/2 & less SP has each-way claims. If very weak in the market it could be a sign of lack unless Sir Mark Prescott's favourite is just backed to big odds-on. Dawn Dancer is best judged by the betting guide.