An EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10) over 5f on Standard going.
Ten two-year-olds take apart. Eight colts, two fillies, four horses with one race to their name.
The tissue prices indicate bookmakers are being careful, which isn't a bad idea at this time of year.
The 3 better form horses have valuable experience.
Lihou and Gingersdunthelot made their racecourse bow in the Brocklesby Stakes. The former, trained by David Evans, is a compact son of Mayson who wasn't best away from the stalls but progressed nicely losing by two lengths. This was a professional performance. He looks the type to enjoy this faster surface and most likely use that experience to sit handy. The winner of the Brocklesby, Izzer, has won again under a penalty which suggests the form is fair although, still, difficult to assess at this time.
Evans is represented by Disruptor who is well drawn in stall 2. This French-bred son of Siyouni cost £52,000 at the yearling sales. Interesting to note this youngster was entered for a Class 2 Stakes. Lihou looks the first string but it wouldn't be a surprise to see this January foal show ability. If significantly backed, it would be a positive.
Gingersdunthelot was backed from big prices and showed pace until tiring into ninth place.
The ground at Doncaster was testing which makes assessment very difficult because if better ground is needed there could be improvement.
The other form horse, John Betjeman, hails from Bill Turner's stable who has shown his worth with this juvenile and Arthur's Spirit who ran terrible in the Brocklesby but ran well when returning to Southwell a different horse. John Betjeman was beaten one length by Izzer, when contesting a Class 2 Stakes race at Bath. The ground that day was horrendous and the 5f race was over 10 seconds slow. Turner's charge was priced 25/1 but belied those odds. This son of Poet's Voice led and lost a little bit of ground when wandering on the dog leg bend before rallying in the closing stages. By all accounts, it was a decent debut. On form lines with Lihou, there wouldn't be a great deal between them. One thing you can say, is that John Betjeman will run to the line because that debut was akin to 6f.
Richard Hannon's Dixieland was entered to run at Bath but withdrawn due to the going and makes a return here. It is a positive this son of Red Jazz was entered for that Class 2 race worth £12,000+ to the winner. A fair draw in stall 5. He was fancied in the betting at Bath and gives the impression connections fancy this horse to run a race.
Mick Channon has done well with his two-year-olds this season with Izzer scoring twice and Jungle Inthebungle winning on debut too. The stable have detailed they have a decent string which is proven to a point by these early victors. Kinks is a son of Sixties Icon and relatively inexpensive yearling purchase at 14,000 euros. This March foal is not best drawn in stall eight. The betting is the best guide. It is a positive to note he was entered for a Class 2 Stakes race. With decent form horses in the stable, the betting will tell the story. If strongly fancied I would expect a show. Conversely, weak in the market would be a negative. Remember, very few of the debutantes win when priced over 8/1.
Robert Cowell's Sir Ox is an American-bred son of Oxbow. Racing in the familiar silks of Khalifa Dasmal this juvenile was purchase by the trainer at the Keeneland sales for $215,000. The mare raced once at Grade 1 class when second at Hollywood Park. The betting suggests this horse isn't overly fancied - perhaps needing a greater test of stamina. The stable had a decent performance by Vikivaki when contesting a Newcastle Stakes race. A wide draw isn't ideal. If backed it would give more confidence.
Archie Watson proved a star trainer last year with the likes of Corinthia Knight, Yabass, Ghost Serge and So Hi Society. Luchador is an Irish-bred daughter of Holy Roman Emperor. This home bred races in the familiar silks of Al Asayl Bloodstock Ltd. A prime draw in stall 1 can be a blessing or a curse. The betting is the best guide.
Arbuckle & Vena D'Amour are best watched.
Conclusion: An intriguing race with a mix of form horses and few with fair entries which suggest they have some merit. Lihou and John Betjeman have shown ability and professionalism. Experience goes a long way at this time of year, especially on a turning course which can prove an obstacle. I can see both horses running well. Dixieland was fancied in the betting when withdrawn at Bath, so it is fair to expect a horse with some ability. The betting should tell the story for Kinks and Luchador. The former hails from Mick Channon's stable who has won three of the early two-year-old races. He has a good measure of these and Kinks was entered to run at Class 2 which suggests they feel this colt has ability. Disruptor is another horses to hold a similar entry. David Evans can be a tricky customer and the stable are not against pulling off a surprise. If backed, it would be worthy of note. Sir Ox looks weak in the early tissue prices but a well-bred two-year-old and a costly purchase at $215,000. A wide draw is far from ideal. However, money for this colt would bring more confidence. The betting is a good guide to the debutantes who will need to be pretty smart to beat the form horses who have experience and decent draws. A turning course favours form horses. I would take a watching brief.