Marten’s Perspective: Observations from Newmarket

May 7th, 2013 | Marten's Perspective

It was good to be racing again at Newmarket after missing the Craven meeting last month.

Unfortunately the heavens opened just as the horses were entering the paddock for the 2,000 Guineas, but Sunday was glorious for the most part enabling us to see the 1,000 Guineas fillies at their best.

It was hard to make notes for much of the time on 2,000 Guineas day with the horses being rugged up due to a cold wind and heavy showers.

I was not particularly taken with Danchai in the first. He is by Authorized, who has been disappointing as a sire. To my eyes he was not overly keen to go past the game Boonga Roogeta, but perhaps the ground was a little quick for him.

Dawn Approach left me with the impression that he still has plenty of scope to improve. He is a strong individual with a good shoulder, but he was not quite in his coat – mind you, few horses were – and there is a depth of girth about him. He will continue to be hard to beat at a mile or ten furlongs. As for the Derby, for me there is not enough stamina on his dam’s side to be confident of his staying the trip.

George Vancouver was the sharpest looking of Aidan O’Brien’s three colts. He will be sent sprinting from now on. Mars does not have a great presence while Moohaajim is well put together but lacks size. Toronado is attractive and well made, but he became edgy in the paddock and Richard Hughes had a look of concern when he was legged up in front of me.

Toronado, who was weakening quickly inside the final furlong, has since coughed. However I would prefer to take his running at face value before accepting excuses, even though connections will argue that on home form he should have finished ahead of eventual third Van Der Neer.

I have always had doubts about Toronado staying the Derby trip, but Richard Hannon has been keen on the idea for a while now so if the colt shows he is fine at home they may pitch him in at Epsom.

Glory Awaits ran way above himself, rated 95 against the winner’s 124. Van Der Neer may run in the Dante while Mars did enough in sixth to warrant a place in the Derby field. Garswood will do best at trips short of a mile. The same comment applies to Moohaajim, although he was beaten before stamina became an issue.

Keep on the right side of Vallarta, who missed the break in the 6f sprint handicap. The handicapper has dropped him a pound this week and he looks the right type for a decent sprint handicap. Fast ground is important for him.

Centurius is a nice scopey sort for Marco Botti. He ran well against the impressive Windhoek, who looks destined for Group class status. There is talk of Windhoek being aimed at the Derby. If he runs in the Dante then he will set a good marker for Telescope and others to aim at.

On Sunday I was intrigued to see how Opinion ran for Sir Michael Stoute. The son of Oasis Dream does not have any specific interest for me apart from the fact that he had recently worked with Derby hope Telescope, apparently trailing 15 lengths in his wake. He ran well, finishing third to No Heretic beaten just under two lengths at the line.

Top-weight Stencive was confidently expected to go close here. The son of Dansili travelled well for a long way before weakening inside the final furlong. He pulled up lame immediately afterwards, so it may pay to give him another chance. The feeling beforehand was that he was a Group horse in a handicap.

Sir Michael Stoute has made a much better start to the season than the last two years, which augurs well for Epsom next month.

We saw another of his older horses win when Dank fought off the challenge of Chigun in the Dahlia Stakes. This was a very good effort from the filly, as she was conceding weight to the entire field and with Darshaan as her maternal grandsire she is bred to stay further than nine furlongs. She is a possible for the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The ground and trip were against Shirocco Star here. She was unlucky last season but should make up for lost time when she is back over middle distances with some cut in the ground. She has en entry for the Coronation Cup.

Goldream impressed me physically as an individual before the 6f handicap, where Doctor Parkes ran very well in fifth. Former trainer Eric Alston really liked this horse, who was bought by Stuart Williams for 21,000gns. He will land a decent handicap sprint at some point this season.

Not much really stood out in the paddock before the 1,000 Guineas.

Hot Snap was the biggest filly in the field and I would attribute her poor performance to the fast ground. She is heavy-topped and her sire Pivotal strongly predisposes his progeny to easier conditions. Just The Judge looked strong and well. Ollie Olga also looked well but she has not grown much. Sky Lantern has scope to improve further.

The result was a triumph for my 1,000 Guineas essay in the Dark Horses, where I recommended the first and second each-way at 16/1. To my eyes, Sky Lantern ran like a filly for whom the mile may soon be too sharp. She needed every yard of the trip, with her stamina-laden distaff side coming to the fore up the stiff climb to the line. I expect her to get a mile and a quarter without any trouble. Her connections have always said the faster the ground the better it will suit her.

Moth seems to be attracting the interest of Oaks backers and she was noticeably putting in strong late work at the finish. It all depends on how Liber Nauticus runs at York next week but at this stage, and with Just The Judge reported an unlikely runner at Epsom, Moth warrants her position at the head of the market.

They looked a good bunch in the two-year-old maiden. Windfast, trained by Brian Meehan, had the most scope and ran on well at the finish. He will win his maiden very soon.

Keep an eye on Pure Excellence for when the rain returns. Mark Johnston’s filly is steadily slipping down the weights. Barnaby Brook ran poorly but is much better than that. Keep him in mind for softer ground as well.

Bye for now

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