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Ross Millar's Juvenile Watch: Bradsell rates an intriguing prospect

By Ross Millar@rosscojmill
Wed 25 May 2022

In his latest column focusing on the two-year-olds, Ross Millar nominates his star of the week, two potential winners in waiting and writes about Havana Grey after the first-season sire's excellent start.


Click here to read Ross Millar's previous Juvenile Watch columns.


STAR OF THE WEEK

This is another tough call this week, and Blackbeard warrants a mention after taking a huge step forward in the Group Three Marble Hill Stakes. He raced stylishly at the head of the field and quickened smartly before seeing out the trip well from a field full of previous winners.

Blackbeard now seems bound for Royal Ascot bound with the Coventry Stakes looking his likely target, and his relative experience compared to many he will face there is an asset that shouldn’t be undervalued.

However, my choice this week is Bradsell who was visually ultra-impressive at York on Saturday. The Archie Watson-trained debutant looked very professional, despite being forced to race wide and without cover, and showed tremendous speed to clear away to win by a huge margin of nine lengths.

My enthusiasm is slightly tempered by two factors; first of which is the relative lack of substance to the form - although he did pulverise a couple of opponents with previous placed form.

But secondly and more importantly, I’m concerned by the price tag of just £47,000 (below the sale average) he cost connections at Goffs April Breeze-Up sale. It’s often the case that a cheaply-bought yearling can go on to prove themselves top-class given that they can be passed over at the sales for myriad issues, for example if they’re too small or by an unfashionable sire – and these views can change in time.

However, at the breeze-ups I think fewer mistakes are made. Trainers and agents can utilise stopwatches, stride analysis and get to watch a horse that is virtually ready to race which all helps them gain a far better understanding of the potential ability of each lot.

Bradsell was prepped for the sale by experienced breeze-up consignor, Mark Grant. Can Archie Watson really have improved him that much in just a month? Did seasoned agents and trainers really not notice his potential? He impressed me but I want to see him do it again before fully signing up to the fan club.


WINNERS IN WAITING

Clenched (Harry & Roger Charlton)

Clenched carries the Juddmonte silks for fifth on her first start

She made her debut in a decent-looking fillies’ maiden at Haydock. She missed the start badly and was some way adrift in the early stages, showing plenty of greenness. Initially she was slow to respond when asked for her effort and looked to hang left, but slowly the penny dropped and she made good late progress without being overly forced.

Her dam, Grasped, won at eight and ten furlongs while her sire, Cityscape, also showed his best form at eight furlongs, so I’d expect her to stay further and improve with time. She did however show enough to suggest that, if more professional next time, she would be capable of winning a similar contest.

Corporate Raider (Robert Cowell)

Corporate Raider breaks from stall 7 and finishes eye-catchingly in the Fitri Hay silks

He made his debut at Catterick over five furlongs and broke from the gate well but found himself outpaced at the back of the field after just one furlong. He rallied well late on as the strong early pace began to tell on the leaders to finish an eye-catching fourth under a hands and heels ride.

His dam, Zenella, was a winner on debut over six furlongs and stayed as far as a mile, while many of her progeny stay seven furlongs and further. A step-up in trip will almost certainly see Corporate Raider to better effect, though given how he finished here a stiff five furlongs would also suit. He must be of interest if taking up his entry at Beverley on Saturday.


SIRE IN FOCUS

Havana Grey has really started to fire with seven winners in the last week, meaning he is now operating at impressive 25 per cent strike-rate of winners to runners from his first crop.

 Havana Grey makes all in the Molecomb back in 2017 (Photo: PA)
Havana Grey makes all in the Molecomb back in 2017 (Photo: PA)

Trained by Karl Burke, Havana Grey was a tough and talented performer with four wins from eight starts as a juvenile and all over five furlongs, the highlight being his success in the Group Three Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood before finishing runner-up in the Group One Prix Morny with a typically tenacious display at Deauville. He retained his ability as a three-year-old and gained a much deserved top-level success in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, with Sioux Nation - another of this season’s first-season sires – back in third. Havana Grey stands alongside another smart speedster in Showcasing and has been well-supported since retiring to Whitsbury Manor Stud. He covered around 135 mares in his first season and is likely to have plenty of ammunition in his bid to capture leading first-season sire honours.

The shrewd Middleham Park Racing operation have been well rewarded for their support of his stock at the sales with no fewer of four of his winners coming in their colours. Mylandsea, Cuban Mistress, Shoulvebeenaring and Eddies Boy all look capable of progressing yet further.

Havana Grey has plenty of representatives entered up in the coming days, with previous Bath winner Rumstar engaged in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.

Of his newcomers with entries, Riverside Girl for the in-form Karl Burke and Nick Bradley Racing catches the eye most. Her half-sister Adaay In Asia was a three-time winner as a two-year-old, so there is every chance that Riverside Girl can add to her sire’s already impressive start at Carlisle on Thursday.

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