We round up the week's eyecatchers from Timeform, including a two-year-old to note from the Curragh on Sunday.
Eternal Gold faded into fourth in the fillies' maiden that opened the card at the Curragh on Sunday but she was on terms entering the final furlong and should do better with this initial outing under her belt.
Eternal Gold was slowly away on debut and wasn't able to secure much cover, racing on the flank just off the pace. The move she made to get into contention over two furlongs out was striking, though, and she still held every chance as they approached the final 200 yards.
Eternal Gold is bred to be sharp - she is by King's Stand winner Profitable and out of a mare from a speedy family - so it is understandable that she tired in the closing stages of a race run in such testing conditions. She should progress from this and can land a maiden when there is a greater emphasis on speed.
Holly Golightly was the only one of the 12 runners in this three-year-old fillies’ handicap with a small ‘p’ still attached to her Timeform rating, denoting that she was likely to prove capable of better than she had shown so far. In the event, that assessment proved accurate as she took her form up another notch in defeat, having to settle for second this time but showing more than enough to suggest she starts life in handicaps on a good mark.
Sent off the 4/1 second favourite, Holly Golightly was never far away and briefly held the outright lead as the front-running Hazel weakened entering the final two furlongs. She was soon joined by Create Belief, the only horse shorter in the betting than Holly Golightly, and Magic Carousel, who arguably looked to be travelling best of all. As it turned out, Magic Carousel’s effort proved short-lived but, unfortunately for backers of Holly Golightly, the same could not be said for Create Belief, who came out on top by a length after a sustained battle in the final furlong.
The first two are both unexposed sorts who were making their handicap debuts here, so it certainly appeals as form to view positively. Holly Golightly is unlikely to go up much in the weights for this and may yet have more to offer given that this was just her fourth start. She will be one to keep on the right side the next time she runs and could eventually live up to her smart pedigree.
Incidentally, Holly Golightly is from a family which has excelled on this weekend over the years. After all, she is by Gleneagles, who won the Irish 2000 Guineas in 2015, out of Cassandra Go, who was successful in the Temple Stakes back in 2001. For good measure, Holly Golightly’s half-sister Halfway To Heaven also won the Irish 1000 Guineas in 2008.
Magnolia State has a speedy pedigree - she is by Kodiac and is a half-sister to a useful five-furlong winner - so testing conditions over six furlongs would not have been ideal. However, she showed plenty to work with on her racecourse debut for Richard Fahey and could be difficult to beat next time if progressing for this initial experience as expected.
Magnolia State had to settle for second, ultimately well held by a well-bred rival with the benefit of previous experience, but she caught the eye travelling best. She was denied a run entering the final furlong, just as the winner was starting to open up, and she then showed her inexperience when asked for her effort, but the way she moved through much of the race marked her down as one to be interested in.
She posted an extremely encouraging performance under conditions that were far from ideal for newcomers.
BEZZAS LAD has had to settle for minor honours on all three starts since joining Mick Appleby but he has shaped as if in good form, and he looks capable of winning soon.
Bezzas Lad was only fourth at Wolverhampton on Thursday, filling the same spot as at Newmarket last week, but he again raced with plenty of zest, leaving the impression that a drop in trip from six furlongs back to five could make all the difference. He also contested a stronger grade of handicap than necessary at Wolverhampton, so he is certainly one to watch out for if dropping in trip and grade next time.
The fact Bezzas Lad has had only three starts for Appleby is also significant. Appleby has built a reputation for improving recruits to the yard so there is a good chance that he can coax a bit of improvement out of the horse, who hasn't had many goes over five furlongs since his two-year-old days.
The form of this novice event is tricky to pin down, with newcomers dominating the bunched finish to what had been a steadily-run race. However, plenty of them had something to recommend them on paper beforehand and look sure to improve for the experience, not least the third KING OF GOLD, who was almost certainly the horse to take out of the race.
King Of Gold was left poorly placed after a slow start, racing freely in rear behind the modest gallop set by I’m A Gambler. I’m A Gambler still held the lead before hanging left in the final furlong and handing the initiative to Tolstoy, who was never far away and kept going well when asked for his effort to land the spoils by half a length.
Just a neck further back in third was the fast-finishing King Of Gold, who was simply left with too much ground to make up and did well under the circumstances to finish as close as he did. He can certainly have his effort marked up given where he came from in relation to the pair who beat him, with nothing else managing to get involved from off the pace.
By Kingman out of the listed winner Lamar, who was also fourth in the Nell Gwyn Stakes, King Of Gold is bred to be smart and this certainly represented an encouraging start to his career. He looks banker material for a similar event in the coming weeks and is very much one to keep on the right side.
This fillies’ handicap probably took a bit less winning than looked likely beforehand, especially as the favourite Horsefly failed to meet expectations, but there are still reasons to be positive about the pair who pulled clear at the finish.
The winner Myristica showed improved form to get off the mark at the fifth attempt, with her stamina really coming to the fore on softish ground and probably proving the difference on the day after the hat-trick-seeking OMANY AMBER had travelled best of all.
Settled just behind the leader in the early stages, Omany Amber certainly looked the likeliest winner when produced to lead entering the final three furlongs, still on the bridle at the time with Myristica seemingly hard at work on her inside.
Omany Amber quickly moved into a lead of at least two lengths under Clifford Lee, but that advantage was steadily eroded as Myristica rallied, and she was unable to respond once headed deep inside the final furlong, with three quarters of a length splitting the first two at the line.
Despite this defeat, Omany Amber is almost certainly worth crediting with further progress given that she lined up from an 8 lb higher mark than when easily winning her previous start on the all-weather at Wolverhampton.
She has a generally progressive profile and should remain competitive even once reassessed, with a drop back in trip likely to be in the offing given how she shaped here. She has done most of her racing at around a mile and is likely to be suited by better ground on turf, a surface she was encountering for just the second time at Nottingham.
Stef Keniry has not had a winning debutant since she started training in 2018 but she went close at Carlisle on Monday with TOMMASO, who was only beaten half a length after finishing with a flourish.
Tommaso, who failed to make the track as a juvenile and had been gelded ahead of his debut, showed obvious signs of inexperience at Carlisle as he was very slowly away and had to be pushed along with over three furlongs to go. He understandably took time to get to grips of what was being asked of him, and he still had plenty on his plate over a furlong out, but the penny dropped late on and he powered up the hill to finish third, close behind a pair with the benefit of previous experience.
Tommaso is entitled to improve significantly with this initial experience under his belt and he should also be suited by stepping up in trip beyond seven furlongs, mindful of how strong he was at the finish and that his dam won over a mile and a quarter.
May 10-16 - We round up the week's eyecatchers from Timeform including a two-year-old to note from the Sunday meeting at Ripon.