Start Of The Flat Season 2021
Eyecatchers and notes from the first week of the Flat season 2021.
Improvement Angles - Pedigrees
A son of Australia out of the Saddlers Wells mare Fountain Of Honour, Annandale is bred to be suited by a test of stamina and 12 furlongs plus is likely to prove his optimum.
Successful twice as a 2-year-old and then 2nd on his return behind the unbeaten Godolphin inmate Tamborrada. Mark Johnston does well with stoutly bred horses as they step up in distance in their 3-year-old season. Expect better from Annandale once he gets to tackle 12 furlongs and further.
Throne Hall has the profile of a horse who we have yet to see the best of, a lightly raced improving winner.
Related to Apparate and Appeared, both decent performers who stayed 12 furlongs. Throne Hall, a son of Kingman has stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree and evidence of his run style gives hope that he’ll prove better once tackling 12 furlongs.
There’s a Class 2 12 furlong handicap at York’s Dante meeting that may be on the agenda. More mid-term, a race like the Duke Of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot may be a target.
Zwelela (& Mighty Power)
Quite a nice race for a Class 5 handicap on the all-weather with 2 of the more lightly raced types coming to the fore. Zwelela had a piece of back form that suggested she was fairly treated off an official mark of 70 and she took this race with the minimum of fuss.
Raised 9lb for the win, the manner of her victory suggests she is capable of improving and winning again off her revised mark.
Mighty Power finished 2nd and on what the grey colt had shown in 3 runs so far he wasn’t entitled to go off a well-backed 7/2. This was a big improvement on anything shown on course so far and someone thinks he is better than the hand he’s shown.
Unsuited by the run of the race, slowly away and out the back off a uniform gallop, his effort can be marked up here. A sizeable type, he may prove better away from the tight turns of Lingfield and he looks capable of winning off a revised mark of 73.
Aced It (& Blow Your Horn)
3 runs with Camilla Poulton since transferring from Joseph O’Brien and Aced It is on an upward curve.
Aced It impressed with his finishing run at Kempton the time before, then followed up at Doncaster in what was probably a fair race for the grade, 3rd placed Cozone has been running consistently and to the top end of his ability.
As an improving winner, I want to keep Aced It onside in the near future.
Blow Your Horn ran 2nd in the Doncaster race. He’s becoming a little frustrating, though at Doncaster his finishing position was impacted by a ‘not so great ride’. Held up off slow early race fractions, he not surprisingly couldn’t make up the deficit on Aced It as the runners quickened through the final 3 furlongs.
Blow Your Horn looks on a winnable mark.
Lincoln winner Haqeeqy is an obvious one, but still a horse I want to keep onside.
He’s likely to go up in class now and with just 5 racecourse appearances and an impressive Lincoln performance, there likely is a lot better still to come.
There wasn’t a lot in Fashion Advice’s previous 14 runs to suggest she was going to win the Musselburgh handicap with such authority.
She has been running regularly on the all-weather over the winter and as recently as the end of March. On all evidence she looks like a better horse on turf.
She finished last season on soft ground with a previous best performance. It’s worth noting that her Catterick win as a 2-year-old also came on soft ground, so while the Musselburgh win was under faster conditions, we could see a better horse still when she is back on a softer surface!
Whatever clicked with Fashion Advice at Musselburgh, horses who show sudden and significant improvement are worth consideration in future runs while they are in a phase of improvement.
Lightly Raced Improvers
Russian Virtue caught the eye in finishing 5th in the Doncaster handicap won by Tahitian Prince. He’d previously hinted that he was on a winnable mark when 7th in what has turned out to be a fair Newmarket Novice race. He’s given the impression that he is very capable of winning off his current mark and probably higher.
A lightly raced 4-year-old, I’d be pretty confident that his astute trainer David Menusier will find a couple of handicaps for Russian Virtue.
Russian Virtue an eyecatching 5th at Doncaster
Any Andrew Balding runner is of interest on its second run, more so when a debutant shows up well on its racecourse debut.
Carolus Magnus fits the bill.
In a race run at a slower than efficient use of energy for the first 4 furlongs, before runners quickened through the final 3 furlongs. Those racing to the fore will have been favoured by the run of the race. Carolus Magnus was held up in touch and covered the final 3 furlongs of the race in a quicker sectional than any other runner. His performance relative to the first and second can be marked up slightly and given normal progression between run one and two then I’d expect Carolus Magnus to finish in front of those who beat him should they meet again on the same terms.
As with a lot of the stable’s runners, Carolus Magnus may be a longer-term project. One to view for progression and handicaps further down the line.
Awkward at the start and slowly away, Hello Zabeel made good progress through the field in the final 3 furlongs. With the benefit of the experience, he can do better.
A son of Frankel, 7 furlongs is likely to prove a trip short of his optimum. One to watch for handicaps when up to 10 furlongs.
The Betway Royal Mile Handicap at Musselburgh was the classiest 3-year-old handicap of the 2021 season thus far.
Mark Johnston horses dominated, Naamoos coming out on top from Forest Falcon. Both will no doubt win more races this season. This looked a decent effort by Naamoos under top weight and it’s worth looking back at his previous efforts to see how he was assigned what looked before the Musselburgh race to be a tough handicap mark of 91.
Naamoos ran 3 times as a 2-year-old, on his final outing he was a well-beaten 6th, 8 1/2 lengths behind Pythagoras in the Silver Tankard at Pontefract.
Two horses that contested the Silver Tankard have run subsequently, Naamoos & Mystery Angel. The Pontefract form looks solid with the success of Naamoos and the performances of Mystery Angel – Listed placed.
Two lightly raced horses from the Silver Tankard look of interest in the coming season.
Roseabad had 3 runs as a 2-year-old. On pedigree and size, she looks like an animal that will improve and want a sterner test of stamina at three. The best offspring of Roseabad’s dam, Dayrose, have been Dubday & Dannyday, both of who progressed with age and a test of stamina.
Watch out for Roseabad in handicaps when stepped up to 10 furlongs plus.
By Sir Percy, Percy’s Pride’s full brothers and sisters, Blakeney Point, Lady Tiana & Rake’s Progress all inherited stamina from their bloodlines. Percy’s Pride is going to be better than he has shown so far when he steps up to middle distances.
Blakeney Point, Lady Tiana & Rake’s Progress were fully effective on softer ground, the same may play through for Percy’s Pride who could be worth looking out for in handicaps when stepping up in distance on soft ground.