1.35 Redcar – LAHESSAR (nb)
The opening two-year-old novice event on the card looks a potentially above-average race for the track, with a trio of once-raced colts in particular showing enough to suggest a race of this nature will be well within their capabilities, while there are also one or two newcomers that make a reasonable amount of appeal on pedigree.
The selection, trained by George Scott, is a son of Exceed And Excel who made his debut outing in a 6f maiden at Newbury 36 days ago (10/1 chance), towards the rear of the field and shaken up approaching the two furlong marker, making some progress but keeping on at just the one pace inside the final furlong to come home in sixth behind Advertise (beaten 6¼ lengths). This colt essentially shaped as though in need of the run, making progress to get onto the heels of the leaders over a furlong out but unable to sustain his effort, not given a hard time in a lost cause thereafter. The five that finished ahead of him have either won or run very well in defeat since, with the winner finishing second to Calyx in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday, and this colt was the last of a sextet that came a little way clear of the remainder. He boasts a good pedigree (dam a half sister to Dominant, Es Que Love and Zhui Feng) and his stable’s youngsters almost always improve for the experience, so, for all this does look a useful enough race for the track, it would be rather disappointing if this son of Exceed And Excel couldn’t go very close.
The Tom Dascombe-trained Liberation Day is a nicely-bred son of Iffraaj who debuted in a 6f maiden at Leicester last month (16/1 chance), racing freely on the outer close up, ridden over a furlong out and holding every chance, sticking to the task well inside the final furlong to finish second behind Fanaar. He was beaten little more than a length by a useful prospect with previous experience and also fared best of the newcomers, whilst he did well to see things out given that he’d raced without cover on the wing from the outset. For all some horses from this stable don’t always improve as much as expected from their first run, it would be extremely surprising if this colt wasn’t in the thick of things at the business end of matters here. Richard Fahey’s Absolute Dream is a son of Dream Ahead who kicked off in a 6f novice event at Haydock last month (11/1 chance), slowly into stride and running green in rear, driven along and making some progress two furlongs out but never a threat to the principals, coming home in sixth behind Arthur Kitt (beaten 8½ lengths). He is entitled to be more clued up on this occasion, off the bridle from the outset on debut, but he does need to take a fair step forward in order to make it second time lucky here.
The Adrian Nicholls-trained Hafeet Alain is a son of Elzaam who debuted in a 6f novice auction contest at Thirsk 11 days ago (14/1 chance), pulling himself through to the lead and racing keenly on the front end, pressed from halfway and headed over a furlong out, battling on well to take third behind You Never Can Tell (beaten 1½ lengths). It was a meritorious effort from this colt, keen early and headed with over a furlong left to run, sticking to his task well to hold third place. His rookie handler has only had two winners from 40 runners, but the second of those came with a two-year-old earlier this week boasting an identical profile to this colt; contender. The first of the newcomers worthy of a mention is Bryan Smart’s Swiss Connection, a son of Swiss Dream who is a half brother to very useful 5-6f 2yo winner (including at Listed level) Alicante Dawn and Listed-placed Italian 6f 2yo debut winner Recob, out of a maiden half sister to modest 6-7f winner Dream Express. This colt fetched 48,000gns as a foal and looks the type to make an impact in his first season, half brother Alicante Dawn a 6f 2yo Listed winner for this stable and another sibling successful first time out over this trip at two in Italy. Not to be underestimated by any means.
The John Quinn-trained Balance Of Power is a son of Slade Power who is the third foal of a 7.5f-1m 3yo winner who was a half sister to Irish 6f 2yo Group 3/Norwegian 1000 Guineas winner Dingle View, prolific 5-7f winner Vhujon and 6f 2yo winner An Chulainn. This colt was picked up for 30,000gns at the Craven Breeze-Up sale in April and is certainly bred to make a two-year-old, his dam a later-maturing type herself but a half sister to a smart multiple juvenile scorer and an impressive 5f 2yo debut winner. His year older half sister also went close first time out at two, and market support for this colt would look most significant. One other newcomer of note is the Tim Easterby-trained Packington Lane, a gelded son of Heeraat who is a half brother to dual 5f winner Young Tiger and 5f 3yo winner Glyder, out of a dual 5f 2yo winning daughter of an unraced half sister to 5f 2yo debut winner Divine Wind. He ought to make his mark at some stage in his first season, though it’s a bit surprising to see him starting out over six furlongs; likely best watched on this occasion unless the market strongly suggests otherwise.
2.10 Newmarket (July) – NEVERLAND ROCK (nap)
The opening two-year-old event on the card is often an above-average race – notable past winners including Halicarnassus, Unnefer, Silver Grecian, Chesterfield, Outstrip and Apex King – and this year’s renewal features quartet of once-raced sorts taking on an equal number of newcomers, including one particularly well-bred type.
The selection, trained by Richard Hannon, is a well-related son of No Nay Never who made his debut outing in a 6.5f novice event at Newbury nine days ago (11/2 chance), travelling fluently in midfield but denied a clear run approaching the final furlong, switched right and losing momentum before running on well late to take fifth behind Confiding (beaten 2¾ lengths). It is fair to say this colt wasn’t seen to best advantage in a messy race, still full of running when caught in behind rivals approaching the final furlong, his momentum checked on more than one occasion before running on well once in the clear. A €480,000 purchase out of a half sister to this yard’s very smart 2yo/miler Havana Gold, there’s already plenty to recommend him, while it is interesting he started out in a race his stable has won in recent times with the likes of Toronado and Estidhkaar. The additional yardage on offer here shouldn’t inconvenience, and it has been notable just how much his first season sire’s progeny have improved for their initial outing so far; all in all, it’d be a little disappointing if this colt couldn’t make it second time lucky.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Good Fortune is a son of New Approach who made his debut outing in a 6f novice event at Haydock four weeks ago (7/2 chance), soon close up and racing with zest, shaken up two furlongs out and quickly beaten as he came home seventh of nine behind Arthur Kitt (beaten 8¾ lengths). The manner in which this colt quickly faded from prominence that day was disappointing, but the application of a tongue tie here suggests his breathing may have been an issue; much better expected second time around upped in distance. Ed Dunlop’s Khanmurjan is a son of Scat Daddy who debuted in a 6f novice event at Goodwood at the beginning of this month (20/1 chance), slowly away and running green in rear, pushed along from halfway and making some progress on the outer two furlongs out, never able to get on terms and finishing fifth of seven behind Main Edition (beaten 6¾ lengths). He can only improve for that initial experience, representing the same connections that landed this contest two years ago with a once-raced sort, but the stable has endured a rather quiet 2018 thus far (0-12 with 2yos).
The first of the newcomers is by far the most interesting of them, namely the John Gosden-trained Entitle, a Dansili three-parts sister to Group 3-placed French 12-15f winner Contribution (by Champs Elysees) and half sister to top-class 8-12f winner (including the Oaks, King George and Arc) Enable, out of a French 10f 3yo Listed winning sister to French 12.5f 3yo Group 2 winner/French Oaks runner-up Dance Routine (later dam of Flintshire) and half sister to high-class French miler Apsis. This filly clearly boasts excellent paper credentials, though it’s a little surprising to see her out this early in the season; notable that she’s pitched in against the boys first time out, however, and a prominent debut showing wouldn’t at all surprise. Mark Johnston’s Persian Moon is a son of Makfi who is a half brother to Group 3-placed French 8-9f winner (including at Listed level) Monroe Bay and 12f 3yo winner Shining Glitter, out of a Listed-placed French 11f 3yo winner who was a half sister to Group 2-placed French 8-10.5f winner (including twice at Group 3 level) Celimene and French 7f 2yo Listed winner Lunaska. This colt fetched 40,000gns as a yearling and makes some appeal on pedigree, from a good French family, albeit one that tends to better over distances in excess of this 7f trip. However, he comes from a top northern stable that has enjoyed success in this contest, including 12 months ago when sending out the useful Cape Bunting to make a winning debut.
As well as saddling the selection, Richard Hannon also sends out the unraced Mordred, a son of Camelot who is a full brother to 10f 3yo winner Camomile Lawn, a three-parts brother to French 7f 2yo Listed winner Bunker (by Hurricane Run) and a half brother to Listed-placed 5-5.5f winner Imtiyaaz, out of a twice-raced maiden half sister to French 1m 3yo Listed winner Alexis and Irish 6f 2yo Listed debut winner Freshwater Pearl. This colt fetched 175,000gns as a yearling and makes plenty of appeal on paper, a close relation to this yard’s 7f 2yo debut/Listed winner Bunker; ought to prove capable of making an impact at this sort of distance, and interesting to see how he goes in the market in relation to Neverland Rock. Nick Littmoden’s Glutnforpunishment is a Dawn Approach first foal of a Listed-placed 7f 2yo winning half sister to German 1m Group 3 winner Turning Light, dual 1m 3yo winner Ode To Autumn, 9.5-10f winner Mouille Point and 6f 2yo debut winner Exceptionelle out of a German 7f 2yo winner/German 1000 Guineas third. This colt sold for 36,000gns as a yearling and ought to make an impact in his first season, his dam a useful performer at this distance as a two-year-old and related to some useful performers. He comes from a stable that has never been renowned for its prowess with youngsters and likely that he’ll come up short here, but certainly one to keep in mind for further down the line at a lesser level given his pedigree.