Declan Rix

Declan Rix is thinking about the future in this week's blog, as he assesses a pair of juvenile maidens run at Newbury last Saturday.

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Miss Helen Flies into ATR Tracker

I was really taken by the performance of Richard Hannon’s inmate Fly Miss Helen last Saturday at Newbury. Starting off in a juvenile fillies’ maiden, the daughter of Le Harve was well-found and well-backed in the market, before going on to score by a classy-looking 2¼ lengths under Sean Levey.

Having jumped well she was immediately impeded, an incident that seemed to light her up a touch. She threw her head around early, buzzed up, but Levey did well to get her back under him; the partnership looking a lot smoother soon after.

A €76,000 purchase by Mags O’Toole as a yearling; Peter & Ross Doyle paid €75,000 for her as a yearling at last season’s Goffs Orby sales. This pair also sourced the likes of Barney Roy, Canford Cliffs, Dick Turpin, Mehmas and Paco Boy for the Hannons and while all those were colts, Tiggy Wiggy was a high-class filly sent the way of East Everleigh-based team from the Doyles.

They may well have another good one of their hands here, as Fly Miss Helen did exactly that, once her rough early passage was over. In the mid-part of the race, she travelled well while also still looking a touch green. She went through the gears impressively however, responding to Levey’s pushing and changing of his hands.

Half-a-furlong from home, she changed her legs and took off for hands-and-heels riding, hitting the line nicely with her ears pricked. You get the feeling she had plenty left in the tank and is sure to step forward, especially with Hannon juveniles now known for making significant progress from their first runs.

To my eye, she looks to have a miler/10f pedigree, a pedigree that doesn’t look massively precocious. A first foal, for her to make the track in mid-July and win over 6f on debut, I think it tells us a lot about the natural ability Fly Miss Helen possess.

While there was nothing special-looking about her time, the field were nicely spread out come the line, and it was the visual impression left that marks her down as a horse to follow. You know she will come forward for the run so longer-term, we could be looking at a potential 1000 Guineas filly, for all I am well aware it is too early to be concrete on this kind of chat.

Either way, she is a horse to add to your ATR Tracker.

Two colts impress in Newbury maiden

Preceding Fly Miss Helen’s impressive maiden success was an intriguing juvenile maiden over 7f. Pre-race, on paper at least, it looked an exciting race that could prove to be quite informative going forward. From this regard, we were rewarded and it looks like a maiden that will be worth following.

Plenty of the top southern-based yards were represented with well-bred sorts and come the post, it was the John Gosden-trained colt Guru who just pipped Sir Michael Stoute’s Maximal.

In a race that wasn’t run at a strong gallop, both horses came from further back than ideal and it’s maybe a sign of their class, that despite the lacklustre pace, they still managed to pull three lengths clear of the third horse home.

Guru was a touch awkward away under Adam Kirby, who was riding for owner/breeder Lady Bamford. He got into stride nicely however, and went through his race fine. Approaching 3out, Kirby was asking his partner to pick up – Guru maybe a touch outpaced and/or green. Given it was the horse’s first start, at the moment, the latter is more likely.  

While it wasn’t sexy what happened from 3out, Guru put up a seriously impressive late display of galloping, coming home strongly and hitting the line hard. A son of Kingman out of Dream Peace, who was a high-class mare for Robert Collet and Chad Brown from 2010 through 2013, Guru is clearly bred to be a quality animal.

This goes down as a fine start and you imagine his sights will be raised going forward. It will be interesting to see if this race wakes him up mentally with regards trip, but on this evidence, I can’t see a mile this season being an issue.

In finishing second, Maximal at least has the option of another maiden race, should connections chose to go down that route for further education, before stepping up in class. He was quite slowly away here, but impressed with how he travelled through the race, steadily picking off rivals, for all there was no gallop on.

Ryan Moore was unable to get any good cover throughout on this son of Galileo x Joyeuse, who is from the family of Frankel, and that maybe just told late on when he was picked off in the last stride, but he has made a beautiful debut. A seriously fluent-mover, flat tracks and nice ground look tailor-made for him, as does this trip of 7f in the short-term.

Again, however, it’s always interesting to see how juveniles take their first race mentally, but I look forward to seeing him run again, especially with that pedigree.

By Dubawi and out of top-class mare Speedy Boarding, Legend Of Dubai was back in third for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni. He probably had a better set-up than those two horses who beat him. Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s horse sat closer to the pace and got plenty of cover, but couldn’t go with the front two. Still, it was a lovely debut from this 500,000 Guineas yearling purchase and he is entitled to improve.

Another 500,000 Guineas yearling buy was Rushmore, for Andrew Balding. He could only finish a well-held seventh, but the fact he was sent off 11/4 favourite was interesting. Balding trained the fourth home, Calcutta Cup, who had an SP of 18/1 so it’s fair to assume Rushmore didn’t show us what he had been showing at home.

Declan Rix
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