Friday 31 March 2023

1:50 Doncaster (1st April) Brocklesby Stakes 2023

The Flat turf season starts with the Brocklesby Stakes. 

I remember when that wasn't the case for this famous 2yo contest and it was a thorn in my side. With Persian Force winning last year for Richard Hannon and Amo Racing Limited, it is no surprise to see this race upgraded to Class 2 and significant win prize money of £18,039. When you consider last year it was a Class 4 race and win prize of just £6,156 you can see the marked difference. 

The Brocklesby Stakes may be an early two-year-old contest but it has been won by many high-class juveniles. In fact at least three debut winners have gone on to be stallions, namely Mind Games (Jack Berry), The Last Lion (Mark Johnston) and Persian Force (Richard Hannon). The latter is probably one of the most talented Brocklesby winners. Perhaps only Hearts Of Fire achieved a higher level when winning a Group 1 in the mud at Italy's San Siro when victorious in the Gran Criterium for trainer Pat Eddery. 

The upgrading of this race to Class 2 should help keep the standard of juveniles high and I can imagine a good number of these juveniles will be high in the pecking order of stables and will be winning this season. 

A large field of 16 runners, heavy ground, soft in places, and draw bias isn't the best starting point for a bet. Although it should be mentioned that most winners of the Brocklesby are less than 10/1. 

I haven't got time to look through all of these 2yos and will just mention a few but unless something amazing happens this will be a watching race for me. 

Perhaps the most interesting point for this race is noting Amo Racing Limited have placed horses with Dominic Ffrench Davis. This really makes me happy to see a 'less fashionable yard' given their chance to shine. Ffrench Davis has always been a talented trainer who has had a limited number of two-year-olds. Those with a good memory may recall one of his better juveniles being Jelly Monger who won on debut back in 2014 at 66/1. She was campaigned at Group level at two and three. This was her sole win on the Flat although she did win once on the National Hunt. A talented horse. As far as I am aware, this is the only juvenile he ever trained to win on debut. 

It will be an exciting day for connections and stable alike to field Valadero. This son of Starspangledbanner out of a winning mare cost 250,000 (Euros). This March foal (15th) could well start favourite. It's interesting to see that Ffrench Davis had two more horses entered for this race in the ownership of Amo Racing Limited. Considering Persian Force won impressively last year and connections had a wealth of talented juveniles with many and varied trainers this is an exciting prospect. I doubt there will be much value going spare but who knows. Time will tell. I look forward to seeing this colt run well and would relish the words of Ffrench Davis as this must be one of the best moments of his horse training career. 

It's interesting to see Andrew Balding fields a horse this early in the season. In fact, I can't remember him fielding a horse in the Brocklesby. He doesn't train many juvenile winners in the month of April. Loaded Gun, a 75,000 (Euro) colt, is worth noting. 

Indication Call hails from Karl Burke's stable in the ownership of Nick Bradley Racing 5 & E Burke. Connections know the time of day and the stable can ready a two-year-old debutante. In general, Burke doesn't have many winners in the month of April. However, the Brocklesby is, in my opinion, a significant race and the prize alone is likely to tempt a number of potentially smart juveniles. Drawn 15, towards the inside rail. It will be interesting if low or high numbers are favoured on this testing ground. 

Bill Turner deserves a mention as a trainer who has won the Brocklesby six times. He fields No Sinner, a son of Coach House, who cost 5,000gns. It would be lovely to see this Somerset handler go well here although in recent years he has struggled to compete with the firepower of other stables.

There is one filly against the colts: Mullingar Girl. Very few fillies have won the Brocklesby. I think you have to go back to 2008 with Bill Turner's Sally's Dilemma who won at odds of 7/1. 

In conclusion: I would take note of the Brocklesby entrants because many will go on to be winners even if down the field today. Last year eight horses (apart from the winner) went on to win a race in their formative season. So I would keep an eye on these juveniles second start as one or two will most likely win at decent odds. I have no great opinion who will win this race but I would imagine it will be one of the fancied runners. It would make a great story to see Ffrench Davis gain a win with Valadero. The two-year-old season has to start somewhere and it's a great day to see the Brocklesby taking pride of place with it's Class 2 status and significant prize money. 

Good luck to all. 

Author: Jason   

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