1.00 Lingfield – EXCELLENT PUCK (nap)
This looks a typically average median auction maiden for the grade/time of year, the majority of those with experience showing a modest level of form to date, but one or two did hint at better to come first time up and there is also a nicely bred newcomer to add further interest.
The selection is a son of Excellent Art who is a half brother to smart multiple 5f winner (including at Listed level) Emerald Peace (later dam of 6f 2yo Listed winner Vital Statistics), multiple 7f-1m winner Day Of The Eagle, Irish 12-13f winner Lovers Peace, 12f 3yo winner Down Mexico Way and Irish Listed-placed 1m 2yo winner Cobra, out of a 1m 2yo winner who was a half sister to Cheveley Park Stakes winner Embassy and high-class 7-10f winner (including at Group 2/Listed level) Tarfshi out of Cheveley Park Stakes winner Pass The Peace. This nicely bred colt is trained by Jamie Osborne and fetched €38,000 as a yearling, certainly looking the part on pedigree as a half brother to a smart sprinter, a Listed-placed 1m 2yo winner and four other winners, from a good family that includes a pair of Cheveley Park Stakes winners. He hails from a stable that isn’t exactly renowned for its winning newcomers, but this son of Excellent Art is reportedly held in high regard and has been found a nice opening on debut; gives away experience to all of his rivals, but looks the part on pedigree and could well prove good enough to make a winning start to his career here.
The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Lilliana is a daughter of Haatef who has made the frame on all four outings so far, debuting in a 7f fillies’ maiden at Wolverhampton last November and noted as making eyecatching headway from the rear of the field to take fourth behind Miss Avonbridge. She returned to the same venue a month later for an extended 1m maiden, travelling well into contention but unable to see things out fully as she came home half a length down on Magika; followed that with another second-place finish a couple of weeks later over this course and distance, sticking to her task well enough but always soundly held by the winner. Her latest outing saw her contest a 1m median auction fillies’ maiden at Kempton nine days ago, proving keen but coming with a promising-looking effort over two furlongs out, attempting to close down the all-the-way leader but fading markedly close to finish, losing second close home behind Compton Rainbow (beaten 5¼ lengths). She was undone by her earlier keenness back up to one mile last time, fading noticeably close home having attempted to challenge from over a furlong out; sets the standard on her return to 7f, but she quite clearly has her limitations and could well find one of her lesser exposed rivals improving past her now.
The Seamus Durack-trained Shaolin is a son of Footstepsinthesand who is the third foal of an 8-11f winner who was a half sister to French 10f 3yo Listed winner Cartier Opera, 10-12f AW winner Cordier and multiple Spanish winner Dr Garrido out of an 11f 3yo winner who was the granddaughter of top-class filly Miss Toshiba. This colt’s sole outing to date came in a 6½f maiden at Newbury last June, going off a 33/1 chance; raced in behind the leaders and went okay for two-thirds of the way, pushed along well over a furlong out and soon unable to quicken, fading inside the final furlong to finish eighth behind Toronado (beaten 13 lengths). He shaped a bit better than the bare result suggested in what was a good maiden, outpaced once the tempo increased having gone nicely behind the leaders; this easier, and no surprise to see him involved if fully prepared on his return from a seven-month break.
The John Hills-trained Two No Bids is a son of Footstepsinthesand who is a half brother to 12f 3yo winner Hygrove Welshlady and 7f 2yo winner Choral Society, out of a French 10-12f winner who was a half sister to dual US 1m 1f Grade 1 winner Amorama out of a daughter of a sister to Triptych. This colt made his debut outing in a 7f median auction maiden at Kempton last November, going off a wholly unfancied 50/1 chance; raced close to the action from the outset, ridden passing the two furlong marker and unable to quicken with the principals, sticking on at the one pace inside the final furlong to come home in fifth behind Mystical Sapphire (beaten 5½ lengths). He certainly shaped with a degree of promise first time up, close to the action until lacking the pace to stay involved at the business end of matters, not given an overly hard time once held; capable of better with that behind him, for all it could well be that he will need a bit further in order to show his true colours.
The Stuart Williams-trained Jimmy The Snooze is a son of Moss Vale who is a half brother to Irish 8-10f AW winner Little Bug out of a maiden half sister to smart multiple 8-10f winner (including at Listed level) Khibrah and dual 5f 2yo winner Red Power out of a 1m 3yo winner who was a half sister to prolific 7-10f winner Hormuz. This colt made his debut outing in a course and distance auction maiden three months ago, sent off an unconsidered 25/1 chance; raced towards the rear of the field until making headway over two furlongs out, ridden soon after and making steady progress inside the final furlong to take fifth behind Countryman (beaten 4¼ lengths). It was a promising enough debut effort from this son of Moss Vale, never at any stage a threat but noted as making gradual headway inside the final furlong; should know more now, but he does come from a yard that tends to bring its horses along gradually with handicaps in mind, and market likely to give a clue as to what is expected of this colt here.
The Amy Weaver-trained Hammer Shaft is a son of Excellent Art who is a half brother to 14f-2m Flat/dual 2m hurdle winner Star Of Aragon out of a maiden half sister to 15f-2m 1f winner Arian Way and 7f 2yo winner Ruhr. This gelding made his debut in the same course and distance maiden as Lilliana last month, going off a 20/1 chance; broke slowly and was soon ridden at the rear of the field, moving closer past halfway but never proving to be a serious threat, running green and fading approaching the final furlong to finish fifth of sixth behind Sherinn (beaten 10½ lengths). He shaped as though in need of the experience throughout, pushed along in rear and outpaced early before proving unable to sustain his progress at the hottest part of the race, seemingly lacking in fitness as well as know-how; entitled to be that bit sharper now, but does have a quite a bit of ground to find with the re-opposing Lilliana and may be best watched once again.