A Novice Stakes over 5f on Standard going.
Seven two-year-olds take part: three with racecourse experience.
Charlie Appleby was a real powerhouse last season. He started this campaign in good fashion when String Of Life won at Newmarket. Shellbrook is an American-bred son of Shamardal out of a once-raced mare. The stable have serious clout and reason why this horse is short in the betting.
*Hard Forest has been kept busy this season having her third run for Mark Johnston. This daughter of Hard Spun has pace although looked a short runner in a couple of her races where the ground was on the soft side. This all-weather surface is likely to suit and a turning course should help save a little extra for the finish. Her form is ok without being anything special. A relatively wide draw isn't ideal but I can see her being directed to the front and get to the rail. Will make the most of her experience but looks vulnerable to a smart horse.
Robert Cowell has had a lot of two-year-old runners this early season, so much have an increased string. A number have run well. He has two juveniles going here and both have some interest.
So Hi Speed wasn't strongly fancied in the betting on debut at Newcastle. This American-bred son of Central Banker was very keen which didn't help his chances. This colt was with the leaders but faded in the closing stages to finish 5th. He had received a significant entry which suggests more is expected if settling.
The other runner, Pocket Dynamo, ran a stormer at Brighton over five-and-a-half furlongs. This American-bred son of Dialed In was sent off a 14/1 chance on debut but must have touched odds-on in running and looked to be a likely winner until It's The Only Way gathered his stride and won well enough. He has since won again making it two from two, franking the form. A wide draw isn't ideal. He looked a little inexperienced on debut and wouldn't want to be running wide on the bend if trying to get to the rail.
*One One Seven raced on Wednesday at Brighton and most likely be withdrawn.
Hugo Palmer is a trainer who should be respected with his two-year-olds and his first runner of the season ran on very well at Leicester when runner-up. Dragon Kuza wears the hood for debut which may be a negative. This Irish-bred son of Dragon Pulse cost 25,000G as a foal and presently in the ownership of the trainer. Drawn one could be a plus or a minus depended on his start. Certainly a few of the form horses may be eager to get to the rail which could find him struggling unless away well. The betting is the best guide. If weak in the market best watched.
Richard Hannon has started the season in decent order with a winner or two. Jaayiz is an Irish-bred son of Zoffany and £68,000 yearling purchase. I always find this stable to predict on debut but the shorter the price the better the chance.
Conclusion: An interesting race. A mix of form horses and those from bigger stables. It is likely One One Seven will be withdrawn leaving a field of six. Charlie Appleby's Shellbrook is going to start favourite. Whether he will be value is another thing. The betting is the best guide for Jaayiz and Dragon Kuza. The form horses have an advantage on a turning course. However, all have relatively wide draws. This may not be a problem but I can imagine some trying to get to the rail. It wouldn't be good news to be stuck wide on the bend. Hard Forest has good pace although looks limited in ways. This turning course will help her get home. Pocket Dynamo has the best form and quite a big horse. He looked a little bit awkward at Brighton but did well after being keen for much of the race. Should go well. So Hi Speed is open to improvement and may be something of a dark horse if settling today. I will be taking a watching brief.
NR: One One Seven, Hard Forest