Sky Sports Racing’s Elliot David returns with five horses to follow from across the four meetings on the channel this Bank Holiday Monday.
Having struck at an incredible 31 per cent strike-rate from just 67 runners as his stable decreased in size last season, Owen Burrows impressed many with his evident training ability, not least due to a staggering 55 per cent strike rate in Group company.
There are a few characteristics of Burrows’ training methods and one that stands out to me is a relative lack of debut winners. Since 2016, Burrows has seen just 15 of his 172 (nine per cent) newcomers successful first time out and those that did manage to win have often gone on to prove smart horses.
The outlook changes dramatically on their second run, with 29 of 152 qualifiers (19 per cent) able to win with the benefit of that debut experience.
With that in mind, I think we’ll see a good deal more from Elraaed in this Novice Stakes contest. Having gone off a 5/2 second favourite for his Ffos Las bow in August, he ultimately had little chance up against some experienced rivals with useful form in the book. He was given a very easy time of things by Jim Crowley that day and has been given plenty of time to develop.
I’d be anticipating a much-improved performance here and as with any Novice event, positive market signs would surely be indicative a good run is expected.
Though he’d have to improve on what he was able to show in three all-weather starts between March 10 and April 17, Jonathan Portman’s Lynwood Lad could be a different beast now he’s been switched to soft ground on turf.
His sixth on March 29 came in a race from which the second, third and fourth have each earned ratings of 77 and being beaten under six lengths there doesn’t look a poor effort.
Heading back to the Sunbury-on-Thames venue on April 17 looked no more than a run to obtain his handicap rating of 60, upon which I think he’ll improve.
By soft ground sire Mayson, he’s out of a half-sister to a host of useful performers, including Mick Appleby’s Zealot and perhaps more notably, she also performed well when meeting some cut in the ground.
Portman won this contest in 2018 with a well backed horse making just a second handicap start and I think there’s every chance this horse is also well found in the market if an improved showing is indeed expected.
It’s hard to get away from Peter Chapple-Hyam’s hat-trick-seeking son of Tasleet here, having seen off the re-opposing Ticket To Alaska with seemingly plenty in hand at Kempton on April 17.
The keen-going three-year-old has clearly shown the benefit of the gelding operation he underwent after leaving Kevin Ryan for Chapple-Hyam and overcame that tendency to pull through his races with ease.
That recent win saw him pulling away at the finish and can be marked up, given his early keenness, and ultimately I think Wildfell is a horse who will benefit from the stronger pace he’s likely to get in better races.
He’ll face some new rivals at Southwell and I think Mr Gloverman is certainly worth mentioning for an in-form Kevin Frost stable, representing a nice each-way option against the likely favourite.
Three of the Notts-based trainer’s last four runners have been successful and this son of Lethal Force gives the hint of a horse yet to show his true colours after wind surgery in January.
He was well backed for a Wolverhampton handicap when last seen, but couldn’t get involved having raced in rear and has now caught the eye on both starts in 2023. If they go a good clip from start to finish here, he could be another suited by a strong pace.
ORANGE N BLUE
I’d advise having your ATR tracker at the ready for the two divisions of the Windsor 10-furlong Maiden Stakes contest as a race which has seen a whole host of smart horses graduate with victory. Aspetar (peak rating 116), Sinjaari (108), Stay Well (96) and Deauville Legend (116) have all won this race and all eyes will be on both the victors and any eye-catchers in behind.
Jane Chapple-Hyam’s three-year-old Orange N Blue looks a good place to start in the opening division following a promising first effort in Newmarket’s Wood Ditton Stakes, in behind what looked a very smart winner. He looked green that day, lugging to his right entering the dip before being straightened up to keep on nicely at the finish once meeting rising ground and is sure to benefit for that run.
As mentioned, that looked a good race and the winner has been handed a Listed Dee Stakes entry at Chester this week. He arrives with the benefit of that run over a handful of debutants and looks the one to beat.
Of those debutants, I’ll give mention to Circuit Breaker, the second foal of a half-sister to 2015 Juddmonte International winner Arabian Queen and Mineko, a daughter of Wootton Bassett who comes from a family of winners who have handled soft ground.
This 0-70 Handicap looks packed with potential improvers, but my gut feel says Nigel Tinkler’s well-related Dandy Man gelding could be on a lenient opening mark of 70 here.
Two starts at Redcar in October and November saw him show little to no promise, tailing off at big odds, but his Newcastle return over the mile was a big step forward in a race where he likely had no chance up against the 89-rated favourite.
Nevertheless, he had 84 and 75-rated three-year-olds in behind him that day and the third has since ran well once more in another novice contest back at the track.
Tinkler has trained four other racing foals from dam Sidney Girl, amassing 20 wins between them and there are clear comparisons to be drawn between the three-year-old profiles of this horse and half-brothers Isla Kai and Dougies Dream and half-sister Kilbaha Lady in particular.
Though I’m sure they’d tell you otherwise, many trainers are creatures of habit and particularly when training multiple generations of the same family. It may not be in this race, but I’m confident Sidney’s Son will get off the mark sooner rather than later.
Of his opposition, mentions must be given to fellow handicap debutant Banquo, who was reported to have spread a plate leaving the parade ring when well backed here on April 14, and also the Michael Dods-trained pair of Brocklesby and Roaring Ralph for a yard who roared into life with a fantastic across-the-cards treble on 2000 Guineas day.
Watch every race from Windsor, Southwell, Newcastle and Worcester all live on Sky Sports Racing on Monday, May 8.