The Brocklesby Conditions Stakes over 5f on forecast good to soft going. The first two-year-old race of the season. The first time in my experience that the Brocklesby has been split into two divisions. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing.
Eleven two-year-olds take part. A field of colts from a mix of trainers.
To most pundits, this would be a nightmare of a race to assess - a field of debutantes. In truth, a number of very talented horses have won this race over the decades including last year's star The Last Lion, trained by Mark Johnston, who went on to conclude a superb season with Group 1 success in the Middle Park at Newmarket.
Other high-profile winners include Mind Games, trained by Jack Berry, Hearts Of Fire, trained by Pat Eddery. There have been a number of a precocious type to win this race on debut, which is hardly surprising because it takes a certain type of juvenile to shine so early in the season.
Mark Johnston has won this race in the last couple of years with The Last Lion and Ravenhoe. Race fans will know another talented trainer who goes well in the particular race in Bill Turner. However, his charge runs in the other division, while Johnston had one entrant at the first entry stage which hasn't been declared.
The most noted trainer in this division regarding previous winners is Richard Fahey. He won in 2007 Mister Hardy and 2011 Chiswick Bey.
To be fair, a number of his two-year-olds have come here in need of the run. The betting is usually the best guide to highlight ability. In general, relatively short priced winners are found rather than rank outsiders. In the history of this contest, very few horses have won at priced bigger than 14-1. The favourites are likely to figure.
Looking at the tissue prices, Almane, is one of the shorter-priced for Fahey. It could be classed as a negative that the trainer owns this son of Sir Percy. A relatively cheap yearling purchase at 18,000E. I would keep a keen eye on the betting of this horse and if very weak in the market best watched.
It is worth noting the betting for all runners because even the smaller trainer can get lucky at times.
Other horses worth noting.
David Evans is a trainer who doesn't let the grass grow under his horse's feet. Last Page is worth noting in the betting although withdrawn from the sales. In the past few years, Evans hasn't achieved a great deal in this race which gives the impression most of his Brocklesby horses improve for the race. A number of failed miserably on debut and won on their second start.
Keith Dalgleish can ready a debutante and Rocket Man Dan will have his supporters although another relatively cheap yearling purchase at £12,000.
In a field of relatively cheap purchases, Santry cost the most at 24,000E trained by Declan Carroll.
Conclusion: The first two-year-old race of the season. A couple of trainers are worth noting but this looks a relatively poor field judged on the price tag. Best watched.