Nine two-year-olds take part five with racecourse experience and a quartet of newbies.
Sir Michael Stoute's Scandaleus is a progressive daughter of War Front. Racing in the familiar silks of Flaxman Stables Limited, this January foal is an attractive type with size and scope. As mentioned, this homebred disappointed on debut at Kempton, the scene of all her races to date. That defeat was as much to do with inexperience. Turning courses are never the easiest of encounters for debutantes who need to be primed: fast from the stall, handle bends and the hustle and bustle of racing at close quarters. She wasn't seen from May to October so there may have been an issue or connection probably considered she needed a little time to mature.
Punters hadn't forgotten this imposing filly when she returned to Kempton five months later. Once again, racing over 6f, but this time partnered by Ted Durcan. It was a fair effort at 3/1 to chase home Mushahadaat who had proven a thorn in the side of many a greying bettor.
Scandaleus stepped up to 7f next start at Kempton where she had a real tussle with Cavatina who is held in fair regard by connections. Losing by a neck was a fair effort. She didn't lack in enthusiasm and led for most which may prove a valuable trait from stall one.
She will go well today.
As for the opposition.
William Haggas should have a fair line with Ghanimah who finished fourth behind Sir Michael Stoute's charge on debut just over two weeks ago. This Irish-bred daughter of Invincible Spirit should improve and could hold serious each-way claims if prices allow.
Sylvester Kirk has an able string of juveniles this season after a few horror years. Bubble And Squeak finished second on debut at Kempton when a 33/1 chance. This stable features fair each-way claims with runners on their second start with an SP of 13/2 & less. A wide draw isn't ideal. She wouldn't want to be slow from the stalls as seen on her racecourse bow.
John Gosden's West Palm Beach has the widest birth and will need to either head straight for the rail or settle in behind. Not the best starting point for this daughter of Scat Daddy. She wasn't overly fancied on debut but that looked a fair maiden. Punters may have been put off with a wide draw that day which saw her dwell and struggling off the pace before running on with some promise. A slow start on her second outing at Chelmsford had favourite-backers looking on in bewilderment. West Palm Beach kept on in the final furlong but never involved. She doesn't want a slow start today.
Interesting to see Clive Cox training Moon Song who is owned by Cheveley Park Stud. This partnership is worthy of note. This grey filly is a daughter of Lethal Force. If backed to 13/2 & less SP it would bring some confidence. If weak in the market it may suggest she will need the run.
Ralph Beckett sends Edge Of The World for her second start after finishing seventh of eleven at Chepstow. This 110,000 euro purchased wasn't overly fancied in the betting that day and most likely in need of the run. The betting is the best guide here. If supported it would bring some hope. If weak in the betting I would take a watching brief.
I find Richard Hughes a difficult trainer to assess with his debutantes and Noteworthy is best watched.
Very few of Ed Dunlop's two-year-old debutantes win when priced over 16/1. Tajarrob wears the second colours for Hamdan Al Maktoum. Strangely, I often fear the horse with the black cap. The betting will tell the story.
Black Lace is best watched on debut for trainer Steve Woodman.
Conclusion: I would let the betting settle to see if a few of these are drifters in the market. It may help filter the debutantes of any real note. Scandaleus will most likely set the pace from this low draw and should take some pegging back. She is probably priced to chance. If drifting to 11/4 would give value. I would be tempted to lay my bet at shorter odds in running, especially if touching odds-on. William Haggas has a line with the favourite. If Ghanimah is well backed it would be a sign of confidence. Even priced 13/2 & less SP, she holds respectable each-way claims. West Palm Beach has ability but needs to be a bit sharper from the stalls. A wide draw is potentially a problem. If slow away, her supporters will be looking glum and need a flying finish. I would rather bet in running because I get the feeling much bigger odds will be available. A difficult horse to back in ways but one who should be feared. Bubble And Squeak has each-way claims if fancied in the betting. If weak in the market I would take a watching brief. Another who may figure if supported is Edge Of The World. Moon Song is best assessed by the betting. If fancied to go well could be a chance but may need the run. These turning courses are not ideal for debutantes. If seriously backed, would be of interest. At the time of writing, the betting suggests others are favoured. The rest are best watched. Scandaleus looks to hold a decent chance. Ghanimah could prove to be an each-way alternative.