Ross Millar's Juvenile Watch: Grounds for optimism with Fearby

By Ross Millar@rosscojmill
Thu 16 Sep 2021

Ross Millar’s weekly column on the two-year-olds includes a Mill Reef fancy, winners in waiting and analysis of the National Stakes.


Friday: 2.10 Ayr - Vertiginous

Vertiginous showed tremendous speed on her last start at Haydock over 6f, only to be headed in the final strides. She has posted some good efforts without yet winning, including a decent fourth in the Lowther Stakes at York. I’d hope she can make use of her fillies allowance and expect the drop back in trip to suit.

Saturday: 4.00 Newbury - Fearby

I respect Dhabab but cannot see what he’s achieved to be the favourite for the Group two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

Fearby looks overpriced at 7-1 with William Hill given he’s likely to get ground on the soft side of good, which seems to suit him.

He endured a troubled passage when fourth in the Gimcrack last time but still stayed on well on fastish going that I’m sure wasn’t ideal for him. He has untapped potential and he can step up again.


Enjoy a full replay of the National Stakes

Both Native Trail and Point Lonsdale carried unbeaten records into the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday.

Native Trail was the one to emerge with his flawless record still intact and his reputation well boosted.

Ebro River looked to set a strong gallop from the off, with Ryan Moore settling Point Lonsdale just off the lead in second.

Native Trail was able to hold his position just behind in third, though its worth noting he was squeezed along for a stride or two by William Buick on a couple of occasions.

At the two-furlong pole he was being strongly pushed along, and a sustained duel with Point Lonsdale looked on the cards. But as they reached the furlong pole he was well in control and drew further clear all the way to the line, showing a nice combination of finishing speed and stamina.

I have seen it suggested in some quarters that he might have benefitted from the second and third placed horses taking each other on from a long way out, but I couldn’t disagree more. At no point in the race was he ever more than two lengths away from the leaders, so any suggestion that he picked up the pieces of a collapsing pace is wide of the mark.

Charlie Appleby told Kevin O'Ryan more about Native Trail

He undoubtedly appreciated the strong pace on this stiff track, and I would see him as vulnerable in a race with less emphasis on stamina. However, this seems an unlikely scenario as his trainer, Charlie Appleby has suggested the Dewhurst at Newmarket will be his next target.

Regular readers of this column will know I’ve been decidedly underwhelmed by Point Lonsdale in the belief he had not beaten anything of much substance in establishing his unbeaten record. My opinion has only hardened as he was well beaten here and I struggle to see a scenario where he could reverse the form with the winner.

Ebro River was last off the bridle and ran a solid race. I’d expect him to drop back in trip for his next start, as he certainly didn’t appear see out the extra furlong on this track. Pleasingly, his previous tendency to hang is starting to look like a thing of the past.

Ultramarine, an unconsidered 100-1 chance, travelled well just off the pace and looked likely to pick up the pieces late on. He was denied room on the rail, though, and then struggled to pick up.

He’s still a maiden but if getting a strong pace, in a slightly lower grade, he is well capable of winning a nice prize.


Mother Shipton (Kevin Ryan)

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This daughter of Showcasing was sent off favourite for her debut at Haydock but she was badly hampered exiting the stalls and got carried to the near side rail.

Danny Tudhope, an excellent rider of juveniles, gave her time to get organised before moving her to the far side of the track. She travelled well before getting tired, most likely due to the extra distance she had travelled.

She moved through the race like a smart sort and I’d expect her to win over this 6f trip next time.

Greyart (William Knight)

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Displayed significant greenness on his debut at Yarmouth. He was slow away and looked to be finding it all a bit too much in the early stages.

He was then under strong pressure fully three furlongs from home before eventually getting the message, staying on in taking style in the closing stages.

He was gelded in April and, for a debutant, was given a notably vigorous ride by Callum Sheppard. This possibly suggests that connections believe he doesn’t always concentrate as well as he might.

Watch out for him over a stiff 6f or even 7f. I’d be doubly interested if he were to be equipped with headgear in his next couple of starts.


Fresh Hope (Charlie Fellowes)

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I’m going to bend the rules slightly and give you a horse, trained by Charlie Fellowes, that has already been to the races.

Fellowes said after that run: “Fresh Hope really pleased me on her debut at Newcastle; she travelled very well through the race before tiring into fourth place. She would have been green going there and will improve plenty for the experience. Her dam, Weiner Valkyrie, was placed in a group three and I’m excited to see what Fresh Hope can achieve.”

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