Horse Racing Eyecatchers
Things are about to hot up with the Craven meeting underway and Newbury’s Greenham meeting following swiftly on. My horse racing eyecatchers from the past week and thoughts on their future prospects.
Heaven Forfend was promising as a 2-year-old and then on his 2nd season debut when runner-up here at Windsor. Since then, things have gone a bit awry.
Now with Michael Bell, Heaven Forfend clicked here, running out an impressive 5 length winner off an official mark of 73.
No doubt he was favoured by the near rail bias, but this was a sudden and significant step forward from a horse that always hinted at his ability. His revised mark will be in the ’80s, now he’s taken a step forward I’d not be surprised to see Heaven Forfend improve further and prove capable of defying a rise.
On his 5th racecourse appearance, an improved run from Astro King in defeating the talented and fairly handicapped Finest Sound.
Astro King has the profile of a typical Sir Michael Stoute horse who will go on to show himself better than thus far. A race like the John Smith’s Cup would seem like a mid-term target?
Lightly Raced Improvers
Dexter Belle impressed with both the fashion of his Pontefract win and on the clock. Winning in a time almost 3 seconds faster than the first division, won by the useful Spycatcher and in a comparable time to the 0 – 95 3-year-old handicap won by Bickerstaffe who carried 4 lbs more.
His pedigree would suggest further than 6 furlongs would be within Dexter Belle’s scope. Judged on his Pontefract win I wouldn’t be surprised to see connections stick to sprint distances for the foreseeable.
In the coming months, there are some valuable 3-year-old sprint handicaps, Dexter Belle looks a likely sort to progress through handicaps on to better things.
Trawlerman is bred to be very good, another beautiful pedigree. With the class of Golden Horn and stamina on the dam’s side from the Monsun line, he has a pure middle-distance pedigree.
The style of his Pontefract win was there for all to see and it was notable how strung out a field of mixed ability were at the winning line. The 80 rated King Frankel was 8 ½ lengths behind in 2nd!
Bounced out in front, James Doyle set relatively even fractions throughout and Trawlerman galloped away from his rivals in an impressive final 3 furlongs.
This was a big step forward on his 3rd at Wolverhampton 3 weeks prior. Under John Gosden’s tutelage, I’d expect further progress from an exciting middle-distance prospect.
Improvement Angles - Pedigrees
Annandale (& Taravara)
In winning what was probably a decent 10-furlong 3-y-o handicap at Nottingham, Annandale reinforced previous impressions. His run style is that of a horse who will be better suited by a greater test of stamina, as is his pedigree.
Better to come over 12 furlongs plus, Annadale is a decent staying handicapper in the making.
In the past, it’s been the case that the early season Nottingham 3-year-old handicaps have been the starting point for some progressive types. Taravara looks a similar type and one to note.
Moved from John Gosden to Clive Cox over the winter, this was a significant step forward on his 4th run. While he’s been raised 6 lbs to a mark of 83 for the Nottingham effort, he and Annandale came 4 lengths clear of the 3rd horse in what looked a competitive race and I think there are still handicaps to be won with him off the revised rating.
Debutants and Novices
There will be an abundance of talented horses making their debuts or reappearances in the next few weeks.
The Redcar maiden won by Camelot Tales looked a fair race, Military Mission brought the best and a good level of form into the race, Camelot Tales is a promising type but the one who will likely prove the best of those contending here is Jack Kennedy.
Like all Gosden debutant’s, we can expect an improvement on his next run. Jack Kennedy stayed on very eye-catching style in the final furlong without being subject to a serious ride. As a son of Galileo out of Oaks sixth Jack Naylor, Jack Kennedy looks sure to be suited by a greater test than the Redcar 10 furlongs.
Mashoor, Dubawi Sands & Noble Patron
The Nottingham Novice won by Mashoor looked like an interesting contest beforehand. Packed full of big yard runners with decent pedigrees.
With the time recorded for the race, I’m slightly cautious, this being the slowest event on the card which could have led to some false evidence on the runner’s ability. That said the front 3, Mashoor, Dubawi Sands and Noble Patron pulled 6 ½ lengths clear of the 4th finisher and all looked to have some ability and are worth noting for progress and future runs.
Gustav Holst has a beautiful staying pedigree, he’s bred to be pretty useful, out of Arc winners Sea The Stars and his dam’s sire Peintre Celebre.
On debut at Leicester, Gustav Holst was no match for the more streetwise Law Of The Sea, himself a potential useful performer, but Gustav Holst encouraged with a promising first run. It played out like a truly run event, with the field finishing well strung out and Gustav Holst stayed on promisingly without ever mounting a serious challenge to the winner.
As a betting prospect, a lot will depend on how Gustav Holst campaigns and whether connections adopt to go down the slow burn handicap route or opt to aim higher.
Gustav Holst has a 5-day entry on Newbury’s Greenham card, more info will be gathered then but for now, he’s one to be keeping a close eye on.
Horse Racing Eyecatchers - Hot Race
Love Is Golden & Intello Boy
The David Baron trained Contact looked to be on a decent mark judging on his Ripon 3rd last season and after being very heavily backed in the 5 minutes before the off, duly obliged in what looked a fair 3-year-old handicap at Redcar.
Looking back to the Ripon event last year, Love Is Golden & Intello Boy finished in front of Contact that day.
Contact raced off a mark of 74 when winning at Redcar. Love Is Golden starts the season on an official rating of 81, Intello Boy is on 74. Last season, both performed below par post Ripon and start this season on marks they are capable of winning handicap races from.
The Ripon race was over a mile on soft ground, looking at the pairs pedigrees for clues I’d suggest both will be better horses when there is a greater emphasis on stamina. Dosage Profiles for both indicate 12 furlongs plus will be optimum distances.
Two to watch for in staying 3-year-old handicaps.