Tuesday round-up: potential Stoute improver Mubakker runs at Newcastle
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mubakker may have averaged only two starts a year so far, but that has not stopped the four-year-old doing enough to earn a mark of 95 and a reputation as a horse capable of winning a decent race.
That is the verdict of Angus Gold, the owner's racing manager, and Newcastle's 2.30 is the starting point for a potentially exciting season. Stoute is famous for bringing such talented types along patiently and this $500,000 yearling purchase is expected to make up for lost time this season.
"He's a very nice horse, he's lightly raced for his age, so we're still learning about him," said Gold. "He's been working well at home and with any luck he could win us a decent race.
"He's never won beyond six furlongs. We've wondered if he'll get seven but he seems to have plenty of speed, so we'll see how he gets on."
The Sheikh Hamdan silks will also be carried by debutants Kawaalees (2.45 Kempton) and Mutazawwed (3.05 Newcastle), but while both are well bred and prominent in their respective markets Gold said they were on fact-finding missions.
On Kawaalees, he said: "He's a two-year-old and it's first time out, but they seem to like the way he's been working at home. Owen [Burrows] and his team like the horse."
He added: "The same applies to Mutazawwed. He'll be one of the Johnstons' first two-year-old runners, so there's not much of a line to judge him on, but he's working well with some of the sharper ones. He's the second foal out of a decent mare and he's always been a neat, sharp sort. He's bred to be relatively fast."
Juvenile action heats up
With Royal Ascot just around the corner and connections desperate to get their juveniles qualified, the two-year-old races, of which there are five on Tuesday, look potentially hot.
With two divisions of the maiden stakes (3.05 and 3.40) and maiden fillies' stakes (4.15 and 4.50) all over five furlongs at Newcastle, and a six-furlong maiden at Kempton (2.45), there could be clues aplenty and trainers are all too aware of the potential to bump into something special.
A big price tag is never any guarantee of ability on the track, but Golden Bear, Kawaalees, Science (2.45 Kempton) and Strike Red (3.05 Newcastle) are all six-figure purchases in action for the first time.
Kevin Ryan's yard got off to a flying start on Monday, with a second (beaten a nose) and a one-two from three runners.
Ryan saddles eight runners on Tuesday, including five juveniles, and said: "It's nice to get a few of them out and see where we are with them, get a line on them. We have a lot of nice two-year-olds and I wouldn't want to pick one over the other just yet, we'll let them sort that out themselves on the track."
Which is as it should be.
O'Meara hoping for Star turn
David O'Meara's Star Shield (12.45 Newcastle) has plenty of experience and his trainer is hopeful previous course experience can be a factor.
The five-year-old was sixth, beaten just a length and a quarter, over course and distance in November and O'Meara said: "When horses haven't run at the course previously it can be an unknown, but he ran pretty well at the course on his last start. He's in good form and we hope he can go well."
Racing's back! For all our exclusive free bet offers and must-have daily promotions the free bets button or go to racingpost.com/freebets