The Flat season is now in full swing and this Monday afternoon sees one of the first evening meetings on the turf at Marseille-Borely. This is an 8-race card, with the Class 1 feature, the Prix Via Milano taking centre stage at 4:45 (UK time). With the ground officials forecast as Good (3,2), the meeting looks set to be very informative, with some potential stars of the future on show in the 3-year-old maidens. I will leave those races to the notebook and focus instead on the 2-year-old maiden at 4:12pm (UK). We only have a field of 6 going to post for this 5-furlong debutantes race, but the 2021 running threw up 4 subsequent winners from just 5 starters so the race could be one to note for the future.
Camacho x Ali Alexandra (Areion)
A May Foal, L’OPEN is the second foal that his dam Ali Alexandra has had reach the track. She won 5 of her 48 starts, winning between 6-furlongs to a mile, though she did make a winning debut over 1700 metres at Pornichet (AW) in 2014. Her first foal didn’t achieve a great deal in his only start last season, but she is a half-sister to Outburst, who won a 6-furlong Toulouse maiden for Francois Rohaut and who went on to win a Grade 3 at Tampa Bay in the US. The Vermeulen team have had 40 winners already in 2022, with 3 winners from their last 10 runners, so we can be certain that the yard is in decent form and with a fair amount of speed in his pedigree, L’Open is one of the more likely types in this field.
Twilight Son x Penny Lane Forever (Pivotal)
NEWKIDONTHEBLOCK looks just the type that these connections do well with. The Marnane silks are synonymous with precocious early season juveniles and this son of Twilight Son is out of an unraced Pivotal mare, so there should be plenty of speed. Since winning the opening 2-year-old race of the season at Lyon-Parilly, the Gudayer juveniles have looked slightly behind their contemporaries and it is worth noting that there is a lot more stamina on the dams side, with her half-brother Alessandro Volta a good example, he won the Lingfield Derby trial in 2008. Their juveniles will come good at some point and if he gets to the front, he could easily make all the running, but there would be a slight concern about taking what is likely to be a short price given the yard form.
Johnny Barnes x Loumaxaye (Hold That Tiger)
The Escuder team had a double at Hyeres on Saturday, so it would be foolish to entirely write off their son of Johnny Barnes, but HAYEJOHN does have the look and feel of a longer term project. He’s a February Colt and should be slightly more mature than some of his rivals, but his dam won just once in her 17 starts and the majority of the winners that I have found in the pedigree won over a mile and beyond. He is the 2nd juvenile runner of the season for Christophe Escuder, but his first runner, Chopinambour ran very green on debut at Lyon and the suspicion is they may need more time with this colt too.
Footstepsinthesand x Izalia (Iron Mask)
A well-bred son of Footstepsinthesand, IZASTEP fits the bill on paper. His dam won 4 of her 11 starts, including a Group 3 as a Juvenile and she is a half-sister to 3 winners, most notably Tara River. The yard have a 15% strike rate at the track and could make a winning start with their juveniles this year when Izastep takes to the track for the first time. Well drawn in stall 6 under stable jockey Antonio Orani, he should be clear of any early trouble and should be able to get into a prominent position for the yard who won this race 12-months ago with Lesslepasser.
Johnny Barnes x Le Tania (Siyouni)
The yard aren’t renowned for winning debutantes and although she is a January foal, POUP’S looks slightly up against it on paper. Her dam was a 5-race maiden who struggled to beat a rival and Poup’s all be her first runner on the track. It is not entirely bad news however, as the grand-dam Courchevel was precocious enough to finish a creditable 5th in the Group 3 Prix du Calvados on just her 2nd start and she has produced 4 winning progeny of her own. She will probably need to be above average to beat the colts, but she isn’t the forlorn hope she first appears to be and it should be noted that Fillies have won 2 of the 3 mixed juvenile maidens so far this season.
Motivator x Perfect Stranger (Invincible Spirit)
The second runner from the Escuder yard, CLEMENZA is a daughter of Motivator, out of an Invincible Spirit mare who won over 7-furlongs, although she did not make it to the track until her 3-year-old campaign. Clemenza is her fourth foal, though her progeny currently have a record of 1 win from 35 starts combined and that win came in a claimer at Pompadour. The family does include some talented horses, most notably The Famous Five, who won 2 of his 6 starts on the level and is now with Venetia Williams in the UK. Like her stablemate, the suspicion is that she will need more time and distance to be seen to her best effect.
This probably isn’t the deepest 2-year-old maiden that will be run in France this year and with nothing leaping off the page as an above average type, the race will most likely revolve around the tactics. If NEWKIDONTHEBLOCK is mentally ready for his debut, he looks the most likely to lead into the first bend, but the Gudayer Colts have looked slightly behind so far this season and so preference would probably be for IZASTEP. The Reynier team won this race 12-months ago with a well bred Colt and he looks the most likely horse on paper.
Longer Term Prospects
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