Nurseries are handicaps for two-year-olds and can be the hardest races to work with thanks to a lack of form and the massive amount of improvement (or not) that these youngsters can make from race to race with experience. Richard Fahey won it last year with 16/1 shot Holy Grail and looks to have a good chance of following up this afternoon with Clef (8/1) who has won two of her three races after a debut third on soft ground at Leicester. Showing the benefit of that run she took her maiden at Beverley by a neck and followed that up with a game head win at Doncaster stepped up to this six-furlong trip, battling all the way to the line, but her narrow margin victories have left her on a decent enough rating of 73 this afternoon, a mere four pounds up from last time which seems more than fair for a horse looking for her hat trick.
Tiburtina (25/1 Each Way) was our original tip but was declared a Non Runner at 9.55am. She’s one to keep an eye on for her next entry.
We did note that Michael Bell’s Parsnip (7/1) was entered in better races earlier in the week but connections have decided that this nursery represents her best chance of further success. Clearly a bit of a character, she was allowed to wear a hood in the parade ring ahead of her debut but that didn’t stop her showcasing her abilities with a very easy two and three quarter length win from Bazwind and as a half-sister to Kodi Bear she is fully entitled to be a lot better than a handicapper and could be thrown in here off a rating of just 80, though her suspect temperament has to be enough to put us off backing her at the prices today.
Meanwhile, Eve Johnson Houghton is a superb trainer and after winning this in 2014 with 20/1 chance Zifena, she will be looking for more of the same with Funky Footsteps (20/1). After winning on her debut at Newbury over this six furlong trip on softer ground she was sent to a nursery at Doncaster but found three too good for her when finishing fourth to Clef, beaten two lengths at the line. Five pounds better off with her conqueror this afternoon, if she can break on level terms today (she was slowly away last time), then she may yet be able to reverse that form and could yet represent a bit of each way value.
As we all know, whether he likes it or not Richard Hannon is still best known as a master of training two-year-olds and he has Rajar (9/1) in here as the daughter of Archipenko looks to make it three wins in a row after victories at Kempton and Newbury. She pulled way too hard for her own good last time but still had enough to get up by half a length at the line and off a rating just five pounds higher she seems sure to run another game race this afternoon.