A Conditions Stakes (Plus 10) race over 5f 10y on soft going.
Eight two-year-olds take part, all unraced bar Mick Channon's first time out winner, Izzer, who took the Brocklebsy Conditions Stakes in good style.
Izzer was very well backed at Doncaster. This son of Clodovil seemed to enjoy the testing conditions and after looking weak in the betting was seriously backed from 14/1 - 4/1. There was some confidence behind this horse. Experience counts a lot at this time of year and this grey colt looks a professional horse who should know his job. A four pound win penalty isn't too extreme although it is a burden of some sort.Should go well but there could be opposition.
With this race being a Class 2 and very good prize money there will be a few trainers sending their better early type to battle this out.
Mark Johnston can set the standard early season. He has proven that in previous years with some very smart horses who have won impressively on debut and progressed to go well at Group class.
Deep Intrigue is a well bred son of Dark Angel and costly yearling purchase at £200,000. The dam was Listed class. A potentially smart juvenile for this time of year. Johnston's horses seem to fall into two camps: easy winners or poor losers.
Bill Turner's Brocklesby runner, Arthur's Spirit, did little on his first start. He fields John Betjeman, who is a son of Poet's Voice. This £4,500 yearling may be fit and ready but the stable's two-year-olds are not the force of old.
Richard Hughes seemed to struggle with his two-year-olds last season although getting his act together later in the season. Owner Jaber Abdullah often buys cheap purchases and some go well. Wolf Hunter is a chestnut son of Sir Prancealot who has done fairly well as a sire. Probably best watched.
Charlie Hills isn't the type of trainer to send out early juveniles for no reason so it is interesting to see Ynys Mon who is a son of Olympic Glory. An 85,000G yearling is a respectable sum of money for this time of year. May have claims especially if backed.
Mark Johnston has stolen the glory from Richard Hannon in the last few years. Certainly early season, the stable have lost out to a stronger team. Hannon is no stranger to a good juvenile and *Dixieland is worthy of respect. This April foal is sired by Red Jazz and a £60,000 yearling buy. Definitely one of the major hopes.
Nakakande is best watched.
Arbuckle is unlikely to figure.
Conclusion: These early season two-year-old races can be tricky to call. Izzer ran well to win on debut and a four pound penalty isn't a huge weight to carry. A professional type, he could go well. The downside is trying to assess the level of form, which is difficult to know. Sets a decent level but could be vulnerable to a smart opponent. Deep Intrigue hails from a class stable who have proven they can win well early season and often very talented juveniles. A price tag of £200,000 is a lot of money and Clipper Logistics know a good horse when they see one. Interesting, but not sure I would jump in at short odds because any sign of inexperience can be costly. Dixieland has claims. Ynys Mon may have a chance if well backed. I would have to take a watching brief.
* NR: Dixieland