31 Mar

Philip Sale | Thursday March 31 2022, 8:17pm | Racing Comment

Week One Advice:

Back Mascapone on his next three starts.

Watch Jiffy Boy and Evolicatt at Leicester (Friday 1st April, 1pm) to gauge the Brocklesby form.

Back Midnight Toker on his next outing.

Within the space of ten minutes, the first two-year-olds of the turf season hit the ground at Doncaster and the Curragh. With both races offering the usual selection box of pedigrees, all eyes were on the representatives of first-season sires Expert Eye, Havana Grey, Massaat and Sioux Nation. 

Having recently produced winners of the Middle Park (The Last Lion, 2016) and the Windsor Castle (Chipotle, 2021) the Brocklesby has been going through something of a renaissance. Time will tell how good this year’s winner Persian Force is, but Saturday’s performance alone suggests the Mehmas colt (a full-brother to Gubbas, bought for €225,000 as a yearling) is Royal Ascot material.

Such was the rout, it is easy to dismiss those in-behind. But rather than 40/1 runner-up Primrose Ridge, or indeed third place Jiffy Boy (well-backed throughout the week and scheduled to reappear at Leicester on Friday), it is Adrian Nicholls’ Mascapone who caught the eye back in fourth. 

"On pedigree, it must be assumed Mascapone will improve for a rise in trip"

Whilst no trainer would take their chance in the Brocklesby unless their juvenile was showing some sort of readiness, Mascapone is a sizeable colt who must surely improve over time. “It’s not all about this race with him and he’s a lovely big horse for the year ahead” were Nicholls’ observations prior to the race. 

Bought for €12,000 as a foal and £4,500 as a yearling, Mascapaone was one of two colts in the race representing Massaat (the other being Evolicatt, who finished immediately behind Mascapone in fifth and also runs at Leicester on Friday).  

On pedigree, it must be assumed Mascapone will improve for a rise in trip. He ran green in the race, but stayed on noticeably well. Out of Cape Cross mare Capelita – a winner over a mile on the all-weather - Mascapone is related to Rainbow Dreamer, a winning hurdler for Alan King, but more pertinently a gelding that excels over staying distances on the flat. 

Persian Force is self-evidently a different type all-together, and his performance certainly whet the appetite for the season ahead, but sticking with Mascapone on his next three runs could reap rewards for punters. This was an eyecatching debut and it will be interesting to see if Jiffy Boy and Evolicatt can give the form an instant boost at Leicester.

Midnight Toker, third at the Curragh behind Ocean Quest (an immediate winner for Sioux Nation) and Forceful Speed, is a little more of an obvious eyecatcher given he was beaten just half-a-length under a considerate ride. 

The Acclamation colt made €330,000 as a yearling and being out of Street Sense mare Big Boned, he is a half-brother to K Club (a Group 3 winner in Germany) and Back To Brussels (both a juvenile winner and successful over six furlongs at three).

"One senses this was another strong renewal of a traditionally strong maiden"

Midnight Toker, representing Ger Lyons and Colin Keane, looked the likely winner approaching the final half-furlong, but racing on the outer and struggling for cover, he was eventually beaten in a pulsating finish. Winner Ocean Quest, meanwhile, was able to get plenty of cover throughout the race under a canny Shane Foley ride.

One senses this was another strong renewal of a traditionally strong maiden (immediately behind Midnight Toker was Jim Bolger’s impeccably bred Finsceal Go Deo, a €500,000 filly and daughter of the great Finsceal Beo, making her a half-sister to Beresford Stakes winner Ol’ Man River) and the first four home could all conceivably progress to stakes company. 

All things considered, Midnight Toker looks a winner in waiting and the one to take from the race. Ger Lyons’ colt has the profile of a horse that can progress to a high-level, meanwhile Mascapone is one who should be followed on his next three outings given progression is likely with both experience and a step-up in trip.

Image: kuriosatempel, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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