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Thursday 26 April 2012

Up a bit, down a bit - 26th April

With the flat season only just getting going and there being plenty of wet weather about its going to take a few weeks to get to grips with the form, however we shall carry on with our weekly look at the sprint races.

Fisrt up is the Class 5 Betdaq Mobile Apps Handicap over 6f at Kempton on the AW which was won in taking fashion by Henry Candy's Larwood by 4 1/2 lengths from Auntie Mabel. The winner was rated 67 for this and a result of his win has been raised 12lb to 79, he clocked a topspeed figure of 83 in winning easily and his trainer commented afterwards "He´s had two wind operations and a gelding operation since his last run. Even when he won at Bath last year his head was a bit high and he was just finding it all a bit tough. He still races in a cross-noseband but he hasn´t stopped smiling since he got here tonight. His ears were going back and forwards and he´s a much happier horse now. I thought he looked incredibly well handicapped".

At Newmarket on 18th April the Tattersalls Millions 3yo Sprint over 6f went to Jeremy Noseda's Valbchek who was having only his second start. He beat the running on Swiss Spirit by half a length with a further 1 3/4 lengths back to Tidentime back in third. Pre race Noseda had said that Valbchek was working nicely and that he felt he would perform well and his only concern being whether he was mentally ready for this type of contest. Well he definitely was and afterwards his trainer commented "I took him to Lingfield to get a run into him over six furlongs, specifically for this. For an inexperienced horse, this was a good performance to go and win a race like that. He has plenty of potential but is going to have to step up in class now - he could run in the Carnarvon at Newbury, a Listed race the day before the Lockinge. Sprinters can take longer than others to find maturity and he will get there in time. I had half a mind he could be a Jersey (Royal Ascot) horse and Ryan said he was a 6f horse who might get a bit further but we´ll stick at six for now". The second Swiss Spirit finished strongly out wide and pre race Elsworth had said that although they had aimed him at the race their horses were a little behind. Ken Pitterson in the Weekender reported that he looked far from feady in his coat and his overall performance suggested that the run would have put him spot on. The winner has yet to receive a rating but his topspeed figure here was 95 and Jeremy Noseda commented "It was a good performance from Valbchek and we were very pleased with him. Hopefully, he will keep improving and I believe he will. We will give him another 10 days, then get him back into fast work and decide where we take our next step.”. The second remains on 98, whilst the third goes up 1lb to 93.

The afternoon ended with the 6f Class 2 Handicap which was won by Mark Johnston's improving Es Que Love by 2 lengths from Sans Loi with a neck back Heeraat in third. The winner was following up his win at Pontefract and is now 3-3 on stiff tracks having also won at Beverley and he has been given a couple of Group 1 entries. His trainer commented afterwards "He was difficult being a free-runner last year, often falling in a hole late in his races. We went to Pontefract last week over six furlongs thinking about going a mile after but Silvestre [De Sousa] said drop him back to five. There weren´t any races for him so we came here under a penalty wondering if he would see it out. It´s going to be difficult now for him as he has won off 92 effectively". The second did well having been held up in the rear and then making his move towards the stand side and he looks capable of winning a decent prize.

The Listed Abernant Stakes at Newmarket over 6f saw Mayson (100) win by a convincing 3 1/2 lengths after running on strongly up the hill. In doing so he beat the 8yo Jimmy Styles (105) with Internationaldebut (101) a further 1 1/2 lengths back in third. The pace of the race was slow and did not play to the strengths of Genki and Sirius Prospect who finished behind, whilst the winner was able to settle and quicken at the business end being just off the leaders throughout. Richard Fahey commented in his column "It's the first time he has relaxed in his races, I've been raving about him for a while now and he hasn't had many races still. When things go right he's pretty sweet and he'll go to the Duke Of York now. We wanted to take a bit of cover but Newmarket was a bad place to try it as there wasn't much early pace. Paul (Hanagan) said he fell out of the stalls and quickly relaxed, it was like a little hack canter for him through the early stages. Hopefully he'll improve again for this".
Roger Charlton commented the following day on Genki " Nothing really went right for Genki yesterday at Newmarket with the heavy showers of rain, the ground had become rather loose on top. He does not seem to mind soft ground or fast ground but if he starts to slip and lose his footing, he then loses his confidence, this has happened in the past particularly at Ascot after heavy rain. The slow early pace made the race a bit of a muddle and it would appear that they went faster over the first two fences in the Grand National than they did over the first two furlongs in the Abernant. Hopefully the race won't have done him any harm and he could run either at York or Newcastle".
Also behind was High Standing for Jeremy Gask and he commented "High Standing ran a good race running out of room as he made his run up the hill. It was very pleasing to see him show some spark late and we'll sit down and come up with a plan now that he looks as if he retains some interest".

BHB Handicappers Blog
GO ON MAYSON!Even though understandably the Classic trials took centre stage at last week’s Craven meeting there was some decent sprint action on show, with the 6f listed Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes being the pick of it, writes Stewart Copeland.
The race itself was a somewhat unsatisfactory affair, with a modest early gallop probably compromising the chance of some of those held up, which included the favourite Genki, making his seasonal reappearance and trying to follow up his success of last year. He failed to land a blow from off the pace, but given the race wasn’t run to suit, too much shouldn’t be read into it in my view and he remains on his rating of 114.
The spoils however went to the four-year-old colt, Mayson, trained by Richard Fahey. Always travelling well up with the pace, Mayson quickened clear in taking style over a furlong out and came home a comfortable three and a half lengths clear from the pacesetting Jimmy Styles.
This represented a marked turnaround in form from their placings in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster last time out, and in my view a career-best performance from Mayson. I’ve credited him with an improved rating of 110, which is roughly on par with the average performance we’d expect for an Abernant winner over the past decade.
Mayson’s next port of call is apparently the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes at the Knavesmire next month, and on this effort he’s well worth his place in that field. That race often produces a winning performance in the mid-teens though, and probably explains why recent winners of the Abernant don’t have a great record in it.
In fact we have to go back to 1995 to find the last horse to complete the Abernant/Duke of York double in the same year. That was no less a horse than the top-class Lake Coniston, who subsequently romped home to an impressive success in the July Cup at Newmarket.

At Ripon on 19th April Fast Shot stayed on strongly to win the 6f Class 4 Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths from Trade Secret with a further 1 1/4 lengths back to Toby Tyler. The winner was rated 81 and recorded a topspeed figure of 90 and has been raised 6lb by the handicapper to a mark of 87. Granted the same conditions he should be capable of following up.

Beyond Desire continued Roger Varians good run by winning the 5f Listed Fiilies Stakes beating the fast finishing Caledonia Lady by a head. Pre race hertrainer had said "She's in good form and has done really well over the winter and looks stronger for another year. The ground is a bit of a concern" after winning he said she will be suited by a sharper course than this as she has got quicker as she has got older. She also holds a Group 1 entry. Pre race the second was said to have wintered well and that the ground would be no concern and although she would come on for the run she had a fighting chance.

At Newbury on 20th April Mirza won the 7 runner 5f Class 2 Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths from Blue Jack with the same distance back to Lui Rei. Commenting afterwards Rae Guest said " He loves the ground and that´s why we came here. We wanted to run over six [furlongs] but there are no races for him. He´s in at Pontefract on Monday so we´ll see how he is before deciding. He´s a decent horse but has to have this ground". At Pontefract on Monday he finished 2nd of 17 to Seal Rock in a Class 2 Handicap on soft over 6f.