12.20 Lingfield – TRUE SPIRIT (nap)
The opening maiden on the card has the potential to be a better-than-average race of its type for the time of year, featuring one or two that have already shown a fair amount of ability and who possess the potential to better, while there is also a well-related newcomer from a decent stable.
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 three weeks 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 come good at the third time of asking under a promising 7lbs claimer.
The Mark Johnston-trained Tribal Path is a son of Giant’s Causeway who was well-supported in the market prior to his debut outing in the valuable 7f Convivial maiden at York’s Ebor meeting last summer, travelling well for a fair amount of the way but shaping at the business end as though lacking both experience and fitness, coming home a soundly held sixth behind Wentworth. He was again strong in the market (15/8) when contesting a heavy-ground at Carlisle the following month, leading/prominent and going okay for two-thirds of the way but soon struggling once the race began in earnest over two furlongs out, fading right out of things to finish last but one behind Van Percy (beaten 15½ lengths). He hasn’t been seen since that tame display at Carlisle and returns to the fold with his stable in poor form, but the all-weather surface should at least suit better and may be worth another chance to build on the promise of his debut effort in a strong race; reportedly had his problems and not been the easiest to train.
The Jeremy Noseda-trained Silver Dixie is a US-bred son of Dixie Union who debuted in a 7f maiden at Wolverhampton last November, breaking slowly from his wide draw and racing at the rear of the field, meeting trouble in running when looking for a way through passing the two furlong marker, shaken up approaching the final furlong and staying on nicely to take fifth behind Yarroom (beaten 11½ lengths). He took a small step forward when contesting a good 1m maiden at Kempton the following month, going off a 9/2 chance; raced in midfield until dropping towards the rear of the field three furlongs out, pushed along soon after and making steady but sustained progress to eventually take fourth behind El Buen Turista (beaten 9¾ lengths). His finishing effort once again promised better to come in due course, and the race itself has already produced four individual winners; absolutely no surprise to see him heavily involved at the business end of matters.
The Gary Moore-trained Tenure is a nicely bred son of Dansili who shaped better than the bare result suggested when finishing 10th of 18 behind Mukhadram in the Wood Ditton at Newmarket last April (trained by Sir Michael Stoute), in rear and running green before making some late gains under very considerate handling (beaten 10 lengths). However, he failed to miserably to build on that when contesting a 1m maiden at Sandown three months later, for which he was sent off a 5/1 chance; raced at the rear of the field and was pushed along fully three furlongs out, making only limited progress over a furlong out and beating home just three rivals behind Invisible Hunter (beaten 18½ lengths). He was sold for 10,000gns to current connections last autumn and has a bit to prove after his laboured performance at Sandown, for all his debut promise shouldn’t be completely forgotten; gives weight all round and handicaps an option after this, so perhaps best watched for the time being.
The Michael Wigham-trained Charter is a son of Elusive City who shaped with some promise on his debut outing (for Michael Bell) in a heavy-ground 7f maiden at Yarmouth last October, ridden over two furlongs out and keeping on inside the final furlong without ever threatening the wide-margin winner, coming home 6 lengths adrift of Teophilip at the line. He was sold on soon after and debuted for current connections in a 6f maiden at Kempton last month, sent off an 11/2 chance; tracked the leading pair and was ridden to challenge over two furlongs out, leading briefly entering the final furlong but soon collared by Whipper Snapper, having to settle for second best as he came home 1¼ lengths adrift at the line. It was a respectable effort in defeat, finding only a good yardstick too good for him, whilst the third and fourth have won since; should stay 1m and respected on his two efforts so far, but the main worry here is the form of his stable so far in 2013 (0-8).
The newcomer in the field to make the most appeal on paper is stablemate St Georges Hill, 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 very 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 enduring a quiet year so far this month after a good end to 2012.