2.10 Salisbury – FORSETI (nap)
The opening two-year-old maiden on the card is a race with a good history at unearthing a smart performer – past winners including Priors Lodge, Passing Glance, Norse Dancer, Perfectperformance, Graphic and Here Comes When – and this year’s renewal sees a handful of promising once-raced colts tackle one or two interesting newcomers.
The selection, trained by Andrew Balding, is a son of Charm Spirit who debuted in a 6.5f novice event at Newbury 13 days ago (33/1 chance), settled in at the rear of the field until making good progress two furlongs out, short of room approaching the final furlong but finishing off strongly once in the clear to take fourth behind Confiding (beaten 2½ lengths). In what was an unsatisfactory race, this colt was one of a few that didn’t get the chance to express themselves fully (the fifth won last weekend), alongside the winner two furlongs out but that rival rather beating him to the punch for the gap when it came. He hails from a stable whose youngsters tend to improve significantly for their first run, and it’s interesting he comes here for this race given the stable has won in it with high-class milers Here Comes When and Passing Glance (also won it in 2009 with one that came from the same Newbury race as this colt). The experience gained on debut allied with the additional yardage he tackles here is likely to bring about above-average improvement, and it’d be rather disappointing if this son of Charm Spirit couldn’t go very close.
The Hugo Palmer-trained Dombra is a nicely-bred son of Frankel who made his debut outing in a 7f novice event at Haydock 13 days ago (9/2 chance), in rear and showing signs of greenness from outset, pushed along from halfway and making progress over two furlongs out, switched out to challenge approaching the final furlong but proving rather one paced as he came home in fourth behind Certain Lad (beaten 5 lengths). This colt’s inexperience that day was plain for all to see, off the bridle from an early stage and unable to go with the leaders inside the final furlong, but the move he made into contention before flattening out suggested there would be better to come at some stage. He is entitled to prove sharper for that initial outing, as do most youngsters from the stable, certainly bred for the job (out of the high class Chigun, who improved with age); ought to be more competitive second time out.
Alan King’s Sephton is a son of Shamardal who debuted in a 7f maiden at Sandown 12 days ago (28/1 chance), settled well off the pace and receiving a bump from another rival early on, shaken up and making progress over two furlongs out, staying on nicely inside the final furlong to come home in sixth behind Julius Limbani (beaten 6¼ lengths). There was quite a bit to like about this colt’s debut effort, well off the pace until making good progress into midfield around two furlongs out, never a threat to the leaders but keeping on nicely throughout the final furlong without being subjected to anything like a hard time. For all he’s entitled to improve for that outing, there’s a fair chance the bulk of his improvement will come further down the line/once faced with a stiffer test of stamina.
The Richard Hannon-trained Dirty Rascal is a son of Acclamation whose first start came in a 6f novice event at Windsor 16 days ago (25/1 chance), tracking the leaders and pushed along two furlongs out, making headway under pressure approaching the final furlong and, despite edging right, staying on to take a 3¼-length second to Dunkerron. It was a promising first effort this colt, knowing enough to sit in behind the pacesetters but showing some signs of inexperience off the bridle, keeping on well to take second close home. The extra furlong on offer should suit and he’s obviously a key player here, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that he had a hard enough race on debut and it could just be that one or two of his rivals will take a greater step forward second time around.
Stablemate Motafaawit heads the list of newcomers, the son of Intikhab a half brother to smart 6-7f 2yo winner (including at Group 3/Listed level) Tajaanus out of a 6f 2yo winner who was a half sister to Listed-placed 6.5f 2yo debut winner Raaqy and French dual 1m winner Mankib out of a very smart 5f-1m winner (including the Cheveley Park Stakes/1000 Guineas)/French Derby third. This colt makes obvious appeal on paper, being a half brother to connections’ smart 2017 juvenile Tajaanus, a debut scorer at two, whilst the dam was successful first time out and a half sister to another debut scorer (grandam is the very smart racemare Natagora). He is very much bred to make an impact in his first season, and he comes from a stable that has enjoyed past success in this race; for all he faces one or two interesting once-raced sorts, a bold first showing from this son of Intikhab would come as no surprise.
The Mark Johnston-trained Nayef Road is a son of Galileo who is a full brother to 9-10f winner Apres Midi and a three-parts brother to Listed-placed French dual 1m 3yo winner Middle East (by Frankel), out of a Group 3-placed 5-7f winner (including twice at Listed level) who was a half sister to Group 3-placed 6f 2yo debut winner Roseraie (later dam of 2017 May Hill Stakes runner-up Dark Rose Angel). This colt fetched 100,000gns as a yearling at auction and is of obvious interest as a son of Galileo, but he was bought relatively cheaply for one by his sire and it’s worth noting his sister was nothing more than a fair handicapper. That said, there are plenty of smart performers in the pedigree, including useful two-year-olds/debut scorers, and he represents a top northern stable that is more than capable of having them ready to strike first time up; interesting to see how he goes in the betting beforehand.
Roger Charlton saddles a couple of newcomers with the clear pick of the duo being Momkin, a Bated Breath half brother to French 1m 3yo winner Orbaan out of a 10f 3yo winner who was the daughter of 12f Group 3 winning half sister to smart sprinters Invincible Spirit and Kodiac, smart 7.5-14f winner (including twice at Group 3 level) Sadian and Group 2/3-placed triple 6f winner (including at Listed level) Massarra (later dam of Gustav Klimt, Cuff, Nayarra etc.). This colt can hardly fail to catch the eye on pedigree, hailing from a wonderful family that has served his owner/breeder with distinction over the years; however, he comes from a stable that tends to adopt a patient approach with its youngsters and is likely best watched on debut unless the market strongly suggests otherwise.