Alben Star 14/1 2pt win
Secretinthepark 16/1 2pt win
This is an interesting sprint, and one that to my eye will be shaped by the draw. (thanks to Horseracebase.com and geegeez.co.uk -pace analaysis in particular) All of the burning pace appears to be drawn middle to high. Based on their last 4 runs, the trailblazers appear to be Kimberella (drawn 12) Ashpan Sam (16) and Zero Money (19). There are no confirmed/consistent front runners drawn 1-11. Swiss Cross (5) has made running before but tends to run midfield. Baddilini (1), tamayuz star (2) Ninjago (3) Secondo (7) Crew cut (9) are all hold up horses, based on their running styles to date. Those drawn 4,5 and 8 are not front runners, and usually tend to track leaders/run mid division. Now something will have to press on from that side of the draw, and if they split, I expect Kimberella will come stand side. If he goes far side/stays straight in a centre group, those low drawn horses may have lead in. However, I think the draw is a disadvantage for the fav and Yeeoow in particular. If Yeeoow was drawn high, he would have been considered, as he ran very well lto. So, all of the pace appears to be draw 12 and higher. There are also many more horses who like to chase the pace drawn high,this should ensure a good string gallop and should favour those in mid division/just off the pace.
Having looked at the form/profile of all the runners and those proven in conditions/in form, or likely to improve, my shortlist consists of:-
Alben Star; Zanetto; Ninjago; Seeking Magic; Secret in the Park; Secondo;Outdo. Kimberella
I have discounted Ninjago and Secondo because of the draw. On form they have obvious chances. If the race pans out as i expect,anything drawn low that goes close, will be worth following. Zanetto – he has been gelded and was highly tried at the back end of last season. He clearly has the ability to win a race like this , however I discounted him because of questions over his fitness. Historically he has needed a run after a break, and that was enough doubt for me to discount. Clearly if he is fit enough, he should run well. Kimberella – he won very well in class 4 lto, and is clearly improving for change of stable. However that was class 4, this is a big step up on that last run and this, together with his apparent liking for some give underfoot, was enough for me to discount. Hopefully he will give a lead for 4f or so before fading. Of course he could lead pillar to post! Outdo – he is interesting, as is any horse having their first start for David O’Meara. His form of his last run at Goodwood is solid,and ties in closely with Seeking Magic. However, he has been off the course for long enough, and the trainer isnt enough for me to back him. The trainer is also only 2/28 with 4yo+ at the course which is a negative for me. Seeking Magic – well he won for me at Goodwood, by a nose, and deserves his chance. He benefited from the best of the draw in that race, and it is possible that the handicapper may just have him. He has ran well after a break, without winning, and I expect him to run a solid race,and probably be placed. I would be slightly surprised, and annoyed, if he did win!
Alben Star – well he won a very competitive race last time out and has only gone up 3lb. It was interesting that Fahey said he had been treated by the vet before his last run,and was fancied. With only 9 turf runs, he could improve further on this faster surface. Obviously that last run wasn’t a handicap and some could argue that his OR is now too high. However,based on treatment from the vet, which clearly had dramatic impact,together with limited turf runs, I think he could defy the mark. He is fit, in form, proven at distance,class and is drawn the right side. He ticks lots of boxes for me, and providing jockey runs him midfield, rather than held up right at the back, he should come late and fast and go close. He could meet trouble, bu that is the nature of these races. With a clear run i would be disappointed if he didnt go very close. It will be clear if the handicapper has caught up with him.
Secretinthepark – I am very excited about watching this horse run. He is a CD winner in C2 who loves fast ground and doesnt mind a big field. He has won on both of his seasonal reappearances to date so I am not concerned about fitness. He ran some very good races as a 3yo and no doubt he will have developed further and I think he will be a 6f/7f horse to follow this year. I think he may be better at 7f in the future, but the strong pace and stiff finish should help. He will improve on last season, and that will be good enough to go very close here. 16/1 is too big for me.
For me, the rest have enough questions to answer and I do not think will be good enough to win:-
Jimmy Styles – very exposed, no win in(in UK, did win at Deauville) last 3 years. Surely he wont be winning this. He is consistent so may be bang there,but no horse over 6 has won this race in 10 years.His last win in a handicap was rated 100, and it would be some performance with this weight.
Zero Money – will hopefully help set a strong pace, but he has very poor big field form, and he normally needs his seasonal return.
Ashphan Sam – Jockey booking interesting but he is exposed, and all good form on softer ground. he also usually needs his seasonal reappearance. Again, I hope he sets a strong pace.
Tamayuz Star – now he has left the Hannon’s, and I would like to look at some stats for horses that have left that yard, I am not sure if it is a positive but they have so many horses maybe it isnt a bad thing, although clearly he isnt going to be top class. Despite this, he appears to need his reappearance runs and there are questions over his liking for big fields.
Pearl Acclaim – he is unexposed, and has a jockey on board who is very good in these races, especially at judging the pace. Sometimes he leaves it too late but more often than not he is spot on. he is another who has left the hannon’s and he needs to improve. That, with question over fitness, are enough for me to leave alone today.
Yeeow – now i like him, yes he doesnt win often enough, only 1/14 on turf, but his run lto was very good and has been franked since. That will turn out to be a race to follow. He does need to prove his class however, and liking for fields this big. I am not sure if he is still improving and all of these factors, together with his poor draw (in my opinion) were enough for me to say no this time.
Goldream – only 1/13 on the flat, 2/20 in total. not the type of horse I like to back! Questions over the break, class and fitness. Not for me.
Baddilini – 2/14 flat, question over big fields. all wins 11 runner or less. Break not ideal. No.
Swiss Cross- exposed, 3/29 on flat. Questions over class, break and field size. No.
Crew Cut – exposed, 3/21 flat. question over class, break and current rating. No.
Hadaj – the trainer is in flying form, and jockey booking is interesting. 3/19 although he needs to prove class. Question over field size and he seems to peak later in the year. With the poor draw, not for me.
Go far – enough questions as 100/1 suggests. Would be a big shock. Calss question.
Hannah’s Turn – only 1 flat run, prefer all weather, big class question. No.
All in all I think I have two runners who are drawn well, tick lots of boxes and should run well.