8.15 Wolverhampton – COPAL (nap)
The second division of the extended one-mile two-year-old novice contest on the card looks a decent enough event, a twice-raced colt bidding the build on the promise of his first two efforts over 7f against a once-raced colt likely capable of better than he showed on debut and a handful of interesting newcomers representing good yards.
The selection, trained by Ralph Beckett, is a nicely-bred son of Dark Angel who shaped with promise in a 7f novice contest at Salisbury early last month (4/1 chance), slowly away and racing towards the rear of the field, pulled out wide and shaken up passing the three furlong marker, keeping on well inside the final furlong to come home in sixth behind Senza Limiti (beaten 8½ lengths). He didn’t improve as expected in a similar contest at Kempton 19 days later (4/1 chance), waited with in midfield and ridden over two furlongs out, unable to quicken initially but keeping on inside the final furlong to come home in fourth behind Bayroot (beaten 4¼ lengths). This colt has shown just a fair level of form to date, but he’s also left the firm impression there’ll be a bigger performance in him at some point, particularly once upped in trip. He gets an additional furlong and a half here, and his previous experience could count for plenty in a race where his main market rivals will likely be newcomers; hailing from an in-form stable, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see this son of Dark Angel put it all together now and make it third time lucky.
The Ed Walker-trained State Of Affair is a son of Giant’s Causeway who debuted in a 1m novice event at Newbury three weeks ago (20/1 chance), slowly away and racing at the rear of the field, shaken up and running green over two furlongs out, keeping on near the finish as he came home 10th of 14 to Good Birthday (beaten 9½ lengths). This colt was held back by inexperience on that occasion, only really getting going as the line approached, very much ridden with an eye to the future. He is entitled to know a lot more this time, and his pedigree offers hope he’ll take well to an artificial surface; stable a bit quiet of late, however, and it could be this colt will be a longer-term project.
There are some interesting newcomers in the field, none more so than Roger Charlton’s Great Bear, a son of Dansili who is a full brother to Irish 1m winner Althib and a half brother to useful 8-10f winner Dubhe, out of an Irish Oaks winner who was a sister to King George/Eclipse winner Nathaniel, a three-parts sister to high-class 7-12f winner (including at Group 1 level)/Irish Oaks runner-up Playful Act and Yorkshire Cup winner Percussionist and a half sister to Park Hill Stakes winner Echoes In Eternity. This colt makes obvious appeal on paper, his brother a modest sort but half brother Dubhe a useful handicapper and the dam an Irish Oaks winner counting several at least smart performers among her siblings, most notably Nathaniel. It is a pedigree that suggests he will improve with time and distance, but there are a good number of first-time-out winners in the family; stable can get them ready to strike on debut now and again and it’ll be interesting to see how this colt goes in the betting beforehand.
The John Gosden-trained So High is a son of Nathaniel who is a half brother to smart UK/Canadian 7-11f winner (including at Grade 2/Listed level) Utmost and 12f 3yo AW winner Keltie, out of a smart US 5.5-8.5f winner (including at Grade 3 level) who was a half sister to US 1m 1f Grade 2 winner Anthony’s Cross and three other winners out of an unraced half sister to US 1m 1f Grade 2 winner Smart Bid. This colt makes obvious appeal on pedigree, half brother Utmost a Grade 2 winner in Canada who won on his only start at two for this stable, whilst his dam was a smart performer related to some above-average sorts. He represents an excellent stable that does so well in contests such as this on the AW, and no surprise to see their representative here play a leading role on debut.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Madeeh is a son of Oasis Dream who is a half brother to 1m 2yo AW winner Mahaarat out of an unraced full sister to 12f 3yo AW winner Saraha out of a smart French 10-11f 3yo winner (including at Listed level) who was a half sister to very smart French/US 9.5-11f winner (including twice at Grade 1 level) Lahudood out of a granddaughter of excellent producer Height Of Fashion, dam of Nashwan, Nayef and Unfuwain and grandam to 1000 Guineas heroine Ghanaati. This colt is another to catch the eye on pedigree, but it is a family that seemingly improves with racing and the presence of a tongue tie on debut sounds a note of caution; stable’s youngsters rarely wound up first time out either and it is likely this son of Oasis Dream will benefit for this outing more than most.
The Marco Botti-trained Hadeer is a son of Rock Of Gibraltar who is a three-parts brother to 10f 3yo Flat/very useful triple 2m hurdle (including at Grade 2 level) winner Kashmir Peak (by Tiger Hill) and a half brother to very useful triple 6f winner Unabated and 12f AW winner Courtsider, out of a 5f 2yo AW winner who was a half sister to 5-6f winner Figaro Flyer out of a useful dual 5f winning half sister to Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up Fa-Eq. This colt makes plenty of appeal on pedigree, his half brother a debut winner at two for these connections and the dam a winner on the AW at two who came from a good family; stable’s youngsters generally improve for the run and it is perhaps slightly surprising to see this colt start out over an extended mile, but unwise to underestimate him completely.