Good morning all,
Managed to squeeze in half an afternoon's entertainment at Leicester yesterday before coming back home to finish off a few more jobs. As such, the first two races on yesterday's card, the novices contests, are written up on the main piece, with one or two to go into trackers.
I haven't had chance to look at Doncaster today, but I will for the rest of the week, so will do some previews as the week progresses.
2.20 Leicester – 7f Novices Stakes
On paper this looked a decent race, with a few interesting newcomers, but only four made any appeal on the day.
Unsurprisingly the first two in the market, Woodhouse and Amber Fort, both made plenty of appeal. Woodhouse is a strong, typical Stoute type that had done plenty of work and just about got the nod over Amber Island, who looked very straight after a couple of runs and although no star, has scope to do better.
Woodhouse was already being niggled along at halfway and in truth, looked quite one-paced once the taps were turned on. She might break her duck, but you get the feeling it'll be at Beverley or Catterick rather than Newmarket.
Amber Fort put her experience to good use and won this with a solid front-running display. She should go on from this, but what the form is worth is open to question.
Of the rest – Chosen Star has some growing to do and looks one for next year. Fleet Street was one I liked, she has plenty of scope about her and once getting more of a trip, should step up. Hesssa stayed on late too and on the way down was giving the ground a right old thump, so maybe softer underfoot conditions might suit her too. Princess Bride was very green on her debut, having a shout as she came in the paddock but has some length about her and should progress. Didn't like Turaath at all, green and a little out of proportion (needs to fill out at the back). For the (very) long term I didn't mind Ed Dunlop's Lyrical, who walked around the paddock like she'd been doing it all her life. She has plenty of size and should win a 3yo handicap or two next year once stepped up in trip (she's a half-sister to the useful Grey Britain). Into trackers and monitor for the time being.
2.50 – 7f Novices
Again, on paper, a good looking lot but like the first race, I was, in the main, pretty disappointed.
Pick of the paddock was Godolphin's Warning Shot, who had had plenty of work for his racecourse debut and looks a very strong, racey individual. However, he dropped a clue on the way to post as to what might happen in the race as he started taking a real hold and pulling hard. Jason Watson finally got a hold of him but he repeated those tactics in the race and blew any chance. If he settles better, there's probably races in him, but he can only be watched at the moment.
With that, I went and had a decent e/w bet on second in Black Comedy who has scope and looked very forward after his solid second on debut to It's Good To Laugh, who himself looks useful. With so many of these unfit, I couldn't see him out of the frame and so it proved, as he tried to make all but was run down in the final furlong. He should win an ordinary novice on this.
However, all was not lost as my small e/w saver went on the winner, Amaan, who I had third best on paddock looks and was plenty fit enough. He had two handlers but seemed perfectly relaxed (already gelded, so was clearly a handful at one point). I thought that, despite the fact he was fit enough, he would definitely improve for a run and in truth, I thought he might finish third/fourth and then I'd have been on next time. But he did this nicely and will get further no problem. I like him, and he should win again.
The rest – Bottom Bay was very green, and badly in need of the run. In the end his fourth wasn't a bad effort and he should come on. Similar comments apply to Court Of Appeal, another that looked badly in need of the outing, and Global Esteem, who on fitness I had down for last three but has run on well to grab third here. I can't work out whether the form of this is modest or there's some good types that have probably exceeded what I thought they would do here! Time will tell.
Saeer had the rug on for much of the time but when it came off, there wasn't a lot to look at. He needs a winter of growing. Itoldyoutobackit is a giant and was outclassed, and Diyari was okay, quite small, and shouting a bit. I wasn't mad keen on him but it's not inconceivable he could go on from this. I shall be monitoring this race closely….
Uttoxeter for the selection today and it's good to see Alex Hales having a decent time of it lately. He's a trainer I have a lot of time for, always willing to have a little chat and tell you about his horses (I was very sorry this summer to hear he'd lost Quarry Leader, a horse of great potential) and his Just Marvin (4.55) is now getting the hang of things after some promising runs in novices early in the year. His staying-on third at Worcester last time was a much better effort and he's now learning how to settle. This is very winnable and I've had an e/w bet, although I've also an eye on Jetstream from David Jeffrys yard (another winner for them at Kelso last night, btw) in the same race. If they come for him I may have to have a saver, but at the moment, Just Marvin is the one I want to be with.
Good luck with all your bets today,