12.15 Lingfield – TRUE SPIRIT (nap)
The opening maiden on the card looks a reasonably interesting affair, the majority of those with previous experience appearing to be nothing out of the ordinary for all one or two are likely capable of much better, while there are a handful of newcomers from good stables that can boast good paper credentials.
The selection is a Paul D’Arcy-trained son of Shamardal who is a half brother to smart 7-9f winner (including at Group 3 level) Violet Park, multiple 8-10f winner Golden Prospect and 6f 2yo winner Speculate; made his sole outing at two in a 5f maiden at Newmarket last May, in touch on the outer until left behind once the race began in earnest two furlongs out, considerately handled from over a furlong out as he came home a soundly held eighth behind New Pearl (beaten 14 lengths). He wasn’t seen again until contesting a 10f maiden here a fortnight ago, sent off a heavily-supported 11/2 chance; raced with enthusiasm out in front and travelled well for a long way, pushed along two furlongs out and challenged soon after, headed approaching the final furlong and fading markedly to come home in sixth behind Little Buxted (beaten 5½ lengths). He shaped a lot better than his eventual finishing position implies, shaping like a non-stayer, though his early exuberance and a lack of fitness may also have been significant factors in his downfall; much better can be expected now dropped back in distance and having the benefit of a recent run to call on, and no surprise to see this son of Shamardal last a lot longer on this occasion.
David Simcock runs a couple here, the first of them being the Martin Lane-ridden Ray Ward, a son of Galileo who is a brother to useful Irish 7f-1m winner Learn out of a 12f 3yo winner who was a half sister to Listed-placed 10f 3yo winner Higher Love and 6f 4yo AW winner Buckland out of a half sister to high-class middle distance performers Amfortas and Legend Maker (later dam of 1000 Guineas winner Virginia Waters). This well-bred colt made his debut outing in a 1m maiden at Kempton little more than a month ago, sent off a not unfancied 11/2 chance; raced at the rear of the field and showed signs of inexperience throughout, pushed along soon after halfway and making only limited progress late on to beat just a couple home behind Ningara (beaten 8¾ lengths). It was a modest start for this €205,000 purchase, but he shaped as though in desperate need of the run and can be expected to be a lot sharper this time around; wouldn’t at all surprise to see him go well, particularly if the market speaks in his favour beforehand.
Stablemate Edwyn Ralph is a son of Sir Percy who is a three-parts brother to smart Italian middle distance performer Pedro Pompas (by Mark Of Esteem) and a half brother to a trio of Italian winners, out of a maiden half sister to French 5f Group 3 winner Run And Gun, very useful multiple 6-10f winner (including at Listed level) Cusoon and fairly useful triple 10f winner Caerau. This colt made his debut outing in a course and distance maiden last weekend, for which he was sent off a 10/1 chance; broke slowly and ran green in last for much of the way, pushed along three furlongs out and making some progress from over a furlong out to eventually finish fifth of nine behind Emerging (beaten 11 lengths). He was beaten a fair distance and didn’t really show a great deal, for all the late gains he made offered a glimmer of hope for the future; appears to have been passed over by Martin Lane, and likely to need further in order to reveal his true colours, so best watched unless proving strong in the market beforehand.
There are some interesting newcomers in the field, none more so than Mark Johnston-trained Ambleside, a son of Cape Cross who is a half brother to smart 10-14f winner (including the Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Australia) All The Good, 7f 2yo AW winner Hudoo and 2m 2f hurdle winner Guardian Of Truth, out of an unraced half sister to Oaks winner Ramruma and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Ausherra, good family. This nicely bred cannot fail to catch the eye on pedigree as a half brother to smart middle distance stayer All The Good and a 7f AW winner, from an excellent family that includes the top-class middle distance filly Ramruma. He hails from a yard that is usually extremely successful in these types of race around this time of the season, but they have endured a wretched start to 2013, saddling no winners from 20 runners; pedigree also suggests a bit further will be needed in due course, so likely that this son of Cape Cross is best watched on this occasion unless ultra-strong in the betting beforehand.
The Roger Varian-trained Nadmah is a daughter of Sakhee who is the first foal of a 2m 3yo winner who was a half sister to dual 1m 2yo winner Yazamaan and dual 2m hurdle winner Jawhary out of an unraced half sister to high-class French 2yo Moon Driver who was out of French 1000/French Oaks winner East Of The Moon and the granddaughter of the brilliant Miesque. This filly is another that makes obvious appeal on pedigree, being the first foal of a winning stayer who was herself a half sister to useful dual 1m 2yo winner Yazamaan and the great-granddaughter of brilliant miler Miesque. Her immediate pedigree suggests she will require a little further before too long, but she represents a top stable that can have them ready to strike at the first time of asking regularly and debuts at a realistic level; another for whom the market will prove revealing.
The James Toller-trained Short Shrift is a daughter of Nayef who is a half sister to Group 2-placed 10f 3yo winner Counterclaim, 7f-1m 3yo winner Hamloola, 7f-1m 2yo AW winner Flag Officer and French 10f 3yo winner Correct, out of a Listed-placed 7f 2yo winner who was a half sister to high-class UK/US 7-9f winner (including at Grade 2/Listed level) Spotlight and to the dam of top-class 6-7f 2yo winner (including at Group 1 level)/very smart miler Zoffany. This filly sold for just 21,000gns at auction but makes her fair share of appeal on pedigree, being a half sister to four winners including one that placed at Group 2 level and another who was a dual winner on this surface, from the family of top-class 2yo/smart miler Zoffany. She ought to find this one mile distance enough of a test on debut and debuts in a winnable enough race, but her stable isn’t exactly renowned for its prowess with newcomers and this daughter of Nayef may be best watched for the time being unless the market beforehand suggests otherwise.
The Michael Wigham-trained St Georges Hill is a son of Marju who is a full brother to 7f 3yo AW winner Walcot Square and a half sister to very useful UK/UAE multiple 7f-1m winner Furnace, smart Italian miler Senza Rete, Irish 6f 3yo winner Lightwood Lady, Italian 7f 2yo winner Paratito and two other winners out of a half sister to top-class milers Black Minnaloushe and Pennekamp. This colt’s sales price increased from€17,000 as a foal to 55,000gns as a yearling, and his pedigree certainly offers a good deal of encouragement, being a full brother to an all-weather winner and a half brother to a handful of scorers including useful multiple 7f-1m winner Furnace and a Listed scorer at this trip in Italy. He comes from a stable that isn’t exactly noted for its success with winning newcomers, but they have had the odd one do the business at the first time of asking (often well found in the market beforehand) and pre-race support would further enhance his paper credentials; stable a bit quiet so far this month after a good end to 2012.