5.45 Newcastle – ISLAND GLEN (nap)
This two-year-old novice auction event looks a particularly modest event, with the pair of last-time-out winners achieving a modest level of form and the majority of the others with experience offering little in the main so far.
The selection, trained by Heather Main, is a son of More Than Ready who debuted in a 6.5f maiden at Newbury three weeks ago (66/1 chance), recovering from a tardy start to race on the outer in midfield, pushed along soon after halfway and losing his place, one paced thereafter as he came home 13th of 16 behind Thrilla In Manila (beaten 14 lengths). There wasn’t a massive amount of promise to take from this gelding’s debut performance, but it came at a top track in what was likely a decent enough maiden, whilst the rain-softened ground probably wouldn’t have suited. He comes from a stable that very rarely has its newcomers wound up, and, as illustrated as recently as Wednesday at this track with Mostawaa (debuted on the same Newbury card as this gelding), its youngsters can improve significantly second time out. This looks a much weaker contest than the one he tackled first time out, and, allied with natural progress, the switch to Tapeta is likely to elicit some form of improvement given his pedigree (sire’s progeny do better on AW surfaces and the dam has produced three dirt winners in the US). For all he needs to step up significantly on that low-key debut effort, there are reasons to believe he can do so, and the standard set here is far from insurmountable; ought to be a lot more competitive this time and no surprise to see him go close.
The Mark Johnston-trained Arms Of The Angel is a daughter of Jukebox Jury who made her debut in a 1m novice auction event at this track a month ago (10/1 chance), slowly into stride and waited with in midfield, shaken up two furlongs out and making progress approaching the final furlong, keeping on to take third behind Mulhima (beaten 1 length). She didn’t improve as expected when contesting a similar event at Brighton nine days later (13/2 chance), recovering from a sluggish start to track the leaders on the rail, ridden two furlongs out and unable to get on terms, one paced inside the final furlong as she came home in fifth behind Water Diviner (beaten 4½ lengths). For all she hasn’t achieved anything out of the ordinary in her two runs to date, she has shown enough to suggest she’s a player in a race like this, still unexposed after all just two races into her career. She is stoutly bred and has rather shaped in kind to date, so the step back to seven furlongs poses a slight question; the stiff finish will suit and this isn’t much of a race at all, so not too difficult to envisage this daughter of Jukebox Jury playing a leading role here.
Keith Dalgelish’s Lexington Palm is a daughter of Elzaam who left behind a modest debut effort to land a 6f median auction novice event at Catterick at the start of last month (28/1 chance), soon leading and driven along approaching the two furlong marker, strongly pressed entering the final furlong but responding well for pressure to hold off the challenge of Tie A Yellowribbon and score by a neck. She showed a good attitude to get the job done on that occasion, albeit was well placed in a race where it paid to race handily; quite whether the additional furlong at a track such as this will suit remains to be seen and likely to prove vulnerable under a penalty for that success.
The Ollie Pears-trained Queen Of Scheme who shaped none too badly on debut at Redcar (5f) back in May and confirmed that promise with a good third in a valuable York seller (6f) next time, only just missing out in claiming company at Thirsk when returned to 5f next time out. Having finished fifth in a 6f seller at Wolves, she came good at the fifth time of asking in a 7f selling event back there 34 days ago, waited with and making progress from the top of the straight, staying on well throughout the final furlong to lead near the finish and see off Five Helmets by half a length. She was well placed on that occasion and quite clearly has her limitations, but she does at least escape a penalty for that success and has been found a weak novice event; sure to give it her best shot once again here.
The James Bethell-trained Tuscon is a son of Lawman who made his debut in a 6f novice event at York 27 days ago (16/1 chance), in rear and soon pushed along, running green and outpaced from halfway, making no impression and eventually coming home a well-beaten seventh of eight behind Jonah Jones (beaten 23 lengths). He didn’t show anywhere near enough on that occasion to suggest he’d be of interest in most novice events, but this is a much weaker affair and his stable tends to bring its youngsters along gradually; additional furlong and the booking of PJ McDonald are obvious plus points, so a much improved showing from this colt would come as little surprise.
The only newcomer in the field is Tim Easterby’s Kilburn Jerry, a son of Dandy Man who is the first foal of a maiden half sister to South African 10f Group 3 winner Hawk’s Eye, 10f 3yo winner/Oaks fourth Inchila, prolific 7-8.5f winner Saharia, 7-10f winner Celtic Step, dual 1m winner Kassar and 12-13f 3yo winner Inchwood out of a 12f 3yo Listed winner, family of Inchinor. This gelding fetched €13,500 as a yearling at auction and makes some appeal on pedigree, his dam related to some very useful sorts including ill-fated 2014 Oaks fourth Inchila, though there are also one or two quirky characters among her other siblings, notably prolific AW selling/claiming winner Saharia. His stable is hardly renowned for its prowess with first-time-out scorers from this age group, particularly at this stage of the season, but interesting to see how he goes in the betting beforehand given he starts out in a modest contest.