A Fillies Novice Stakes over 7f 6y on good to firm going.
Ten two-year-olds take part: five with race experience and an equal measure of debutantes who predominantly head the market.
Charlie Appleby is all smiles this season while Saeed bin Suroor shifts his way through the chaff.
Arabian Gift is a brown filly sired by Dubawi out of a debut-winning mare who was limited but liked a trip. This filly cost 525,000G at the yearling sales. She has been detailed on the informative website Group Horse being worthy of note. Appleby has excelled with debutantes this season. They are difficult to oppose although punters always risk getting their fingers burnt if a lesser light hits the course in this purple patch. She holds a Moyglare entry which adds to confidence.
If the betting is correct, Godolphin's starlet has four major opponents.
Mark Johnston fields One Second. Could that be an indicator of exceptional speed? This bay filly is sired by Intello [German stallion] out of a limited but winning mare. This January foal races in the familiar silks of Abdulla Al Mansoori. She cost 42,000G from Genesis Green Stud, purchased by the trainer. Johnston hasn't seen the success of previous years with this crop of two-year-olds. However, he is a capable handler who can ready a debutante. He can be tricky to assess with horses making their racecourse bow. I'm often quoted as saying: ''They are either easy winners or poor losers.'' I would take a watching brief.
Jeremy Noseda hasn't hit the ground running this season. A couple of two-year-olds ran creditably without tasting victory. Quivery is owned by Marc Keller. This American-bred daughter of Violence cost $360,000 when purchased at two [14th March]. She holds a Moyglare Stakes Group 1 entry. Interesting to see Jame Spencer booked to ride, which adds to confidence. The stable can go well with their debutantes, especially when priced 8/1 & less SP. This April foal could go well.
Few trainers can hold a candle to Richard Fahey. His performance with debutantes is exceptional. Compared even to the most successful handlers, they pale into insignificance. His first and second-time strike rate stride rate for fancied two-year-old runners is very similar. It's a stat you do not hear any pundits mention. However, it is a truly astounding factor. What it means is that his debutantes are generally trained to the minute and experienced. Paramount Love ran well on her first start at Doncaster when finishing a creditable third behind the Royal Ascot-bound Natural. This daughter of Pivotal wasn't fancied in the betting that day at odds of 16/1. She was held up but ran on with promise some way clear of the fourth. That experience will see her well today and this extra half furlong is to her benefit.
The next best in the betting is Richard Hannon's newcomer Tig Tog, who races in the familiar silks of Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd. This March foal is a daughter of Dark Angel and 90,000G yearling purchase. The betting is the best guide. She is presently priced 9/1 with bookmakers. If she is capable of winning today I would expect her to start at shorter odds.
The only other debutante is David Brown's Headware, who is owned by John Fretwell. This combination has found a few talented horses over the years but this season has been rather uneventful. Hard Graft proved a disappointment when racing at York the other day after a promising debut. This stable can go well with horses at big odds even though you'd expect Fretwell's better types to be backed off the boards. This daughter of Helmet cost 30,000G, purchased by Fretwell Racing Ltd. Money for this horse would bring further encouragement. They go well when racing at this course but this looks a tough nut to crack.
The others are best watched.
Conclusion: Interesting race. Arabian Gift is difficult to oppose with the Godolphin debutantes winning on demand (almost). This filly costs a lot of money and you wouldn't want to be laying these Appleby horses to lose this season. I'm never sure what to make of Johnston's debutantes. They are either easy winners or poor losers. I respect their debutantes but rarely feel interested in backing them. Tig Tog may have claims if supported in the market. If priced 9/1 [at the time of writing] I would favour the major hopes. Paramount Love has valuable race experience and ran well on debut. She could well improve for that first start and this extra half furlong will help. Looks to hold respectable each-way claims. If one or two of the favourites disappoint she may look great value to hit the frame. Quivery is interesting. I am never too keen on betting debutantes as they can make you look like a loser in ten seconds flat. However, it is a good sign to see this expensive filly has Spencer booked to ride and a significant entry. Certainly, holds fair each-way claims if priced 8/1 & less SP. If the favourite is backed to odds-on she could be a worthy cover bet or most likely each-way punt.