An EBF Maiden stakes (Plus 10) over 1m 1/2f on good to soft going.
Ten two-year-olds take part: an equal measure of debutante and horses with a smattering of form.
Charlie Appleby has proven a powerhouse all season and Ispolini is priced 5/4f at the time of writing. This bay colt is a son of Dubawi purchased at the yearling sales for 1,200,000G. It is worth noting he was given a National Stakes (Group 1) entry many months ago. It is likely this February foal has been a little slow to come to hand. I would keep an eye on the betting because there is a chance he may be a little ring rusty or even in need of the run. This hasn't been the case for their juveniles all season, but in the closing throws of the turf campaign, it pays to be careful. If strong in the market, it would be a positive.
One of the main rivals has to be Rich Identity who hails from Roger Varian's stable. Another son of Dubawi, this grey colt has raced twice and been pretty fancied in the betting. He ran well on debut when runner-up at Yarmouth. However, punters got their fingers burned when returning for action at Redcar finishing third, beaten half a length, at 4/7f. Bookmakers were smiling after he dwelt and then pushed along someway from home. This April foal never looked to be going or an odds-on shot. De Sousa didn't give up the ghost and the horse ran on in the closing furlong to give backers a slight hope for a stride or two until coming to the conclusion it was a bad day at the office. Perhaps the debut effort wasn't as good as it seemed or maybe Rich Identity just ran below par second start. Varian gave this colt a couple of significant entries which give hope. This step up in distance looks a good move and I would suspect he will travel much better today.
Come On Tier ran well on debut even though he was priced 20/1. David Simcock is a class trainer and I always respect his fancied two-year-olds on their second start. This French-bred son of Kendergent was a cheap yearling purchase whose price rose to 65,000E when acquired at the breeze-up sales (2yo). There was plenty of promise shown on that debut run at Windsor. The form of the race looks solid and there could be more to come.
John Gosden can unearth a quality debutante any time of the year. Petit Palais cost 220,000G at the yearling sales and half-brother to Galileo Gold. The betting is a decent guide to this chestnut colt's chances. If priced 13/2 & less SP hold fair each-way claims. If weak in the market it may suggest he needs the run.
Agar's Plough defied his odds of 100/1 on debut when seventh in a hot Newmarket maiden. He did little wrong next time out at Ascot when runner-up. Punters may have been a little disappointed when a beaten favourite at York finishing fifth.
The Lincoln Lawyer makes his debut for Mark Johnston. If priced 16/1 and less SP could figure but the betting suggests he has his work cut out.
Dawn Dancer is worth noting in the betting. If seriously backed it would bring greater hope.
Trevithick, Chikoko Trail and Seaborough are best watched.
Conclusion: These end of season maidens can be difficult to call. Debutante may be class horses and ready to take a maiden before a sleepy winter or already for hibernation and send for a little bit of experience. Ispolini cost a lot of money and that in itself suggests his son of Dubawi will be primed. I would let the betting settle just in case there is a marked drift in the market which would be a concern. Rich Identity didn't look good at Redcar. He was always a touch outpaced and will appreciate this step up in trip. With valuable experience on his side, we could see a better performance today. If the favourite is very short priced, he could be a fair price for each-way backers. I still have a slight concern about that last run as he just looked hard work. Come On Tier holds fair each-way claims if priced 13/2 & less SP. Agar's Plough has possibilities. The betting will help detail the ability of Petit Palais. If strong in the market, it would add to the strength of this race. A race of ifs and buts in many ways. If the favourite is strong in the market I would respect his chance but betting debutantes can seem very hard work if they lack experience. Rich Identity, Come On Tier and Agar's Plough could make decent each-way alternatives but a couple of those have slight question marks. David Simcock's charge is likely to go well in his second start. I would have to take a watching brief unless the favourite is very short and one of the form horses drifted to a big price, which may just give a touch of value.
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