ITM Import Analysis – January 23rd 2021


A quick note as we continue to expand our content on the ITM Network…Assessing European form for horses showing up for the first time in North America can be a daunting task.  We are leveraging our connections to provide some form analysis and any other relevant insight on FTNA horses.  We are calling this the ITM Import Analysis and a massive thank you to Steven Bonnick!  Let us know if you find this kind of thing helpful.

Saturday Race 7 @ Fairgrounds: Sliabh Aughty – ex-Ger Lyons new gelding by Elusive Quality. The immediate standout here is the US breeding on the distaff side, and it’s no surprise that this horse has shown his best form on an artificial surface. He has handled turf reasonably well in the past, finishing 5/15 in a Leopardstown maiden, but has run to a pretty low level in every start on the grass. His three starts on Polytrack have all been good, finishing second twice over 7f, including on his most recent start. He has been tried over 9.5f but looks more of a speed horse to me and might do better over 6f having been run out of it late on over seven. Should be competitive in Optional Claimers and Allowance races when he finds his level. He is a maiden after six starts and hasn’t done anything exciting on the clock in his career to date.

Saturday Race 5 @ Golden Gate: Party Spirit – ex-Mark Johnston filly by Night Of Thunder. Made a very promising debut back in July when throwing in some fast closing splits despite tender handling behind a subsequent Group 3 winner at Ayr on good turf, the pair well clear. She has not kicked on from that run at all, having been beaten favourite three times in her next five runs, including at odds-on. Has placed on turf and Polytrack and on breeding should prove best over at least 10-12f and might stretch out to 14f, although worth nothing that she has a short-stride and a very high cadence (one of the highest I’ve ever seen), with the latter far more typical of a sprinter. Both of her siblings have handled artificial surfaces well, and it’s interesting to note that her half-sister has turned out to be a Fibresand (the closest we have to dirt in the UK) specialist this winter. Look the type who might derive above average benefit from medication and her best run was when fresh, but temperament is suspect at this stage.

Saturday Race 9 @ Golden Gate: Dutch Painting – ex-Michael Bell filly by Dutch Art. Fairly exposed as a moderate handicapper, but was successful on her most recent start, landing a 10f Polytrack handicap at Chelmsford off a rating of 75 and displaying a good attitude. She seems equally adept on fast turf and could probably cut back to a mile so should give her new connections plenty of options. This strong-traveller seems well suited to sharp tracks and is reasonably consistent, and looks the type to pay her way at the appropriate level in the States.

Saturday Race 1 @ Gulfstream Park: Vividly – ex Charles Hills filly by Charm Spirit. Looked a promising sort when scoring in a 7f maiden at Glorious Goodwood in 2019, overcoming a wide draw and displaying a good attitude to beat some fair types. Cut little ice in Stakes company on her last start of 2019 and didn’t show a tremendous amount last year, finishing 5/12 in a mid-grade Ascot handicap and then failing to beat an opponent last time in a similar sort of contest. Sold relatively cheaply (22000 GNS) at the August Horses In Training sale subsequently, which is a little more disconcerting than usual given the success that Juddmonte, her previous owners, have had with imported fillies. Pretty hard to weigh up at this point, but she should handle an artificial surface on breeding, and she has the pedigree to be competitive at minor Stakes level, although she has not yet shown that level of ability on the track.

Saturday Race 8 @ Santa Anita Park: Escape The City – ex-Hughie Morrison mare by Cityscape. Exposed performer and not getting any younger, but capable on her day. Winner of a novice and a minor handicap but no win since September 2019. Has looked in the grip of the handicapper since that victory and has struggled off marks in the 70s. She has form on artificial surfaces and different types of ground – seems to have a preference for firmer going – and is adaptable in terms of distance, running well over a mile in August and shaping as though she will stay and easy 12f. Hard to expect too much of a six-year-old mare who is 2/34 lifetime, but she has run well fresh at least.

Saturday Race 8 @ Turfway Park: Abby Hatcher – ex-James M Barrett filly by Acclamation. Improved with each of her three runs last winter, culminating in a victory in a maiden on her third and final start. All runs to date have been on polytrack at Dundalk but little in her pedigree to suggest she will not handle turf of some description. She still looked green when landing her maiden but travelled powerfully and showed an excellent attitude, seeing off a pretty solid yardstick who is now rated in the mid 80s, although the time was moderate. She has done all of her racing over 7f but should stay a mile easily and has plenty of potential to mix it at minor Stakes level if she can continue her progress.

Leave a Reply

  • They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well, Mr. Bonnick, here, has that rarified gift of conveying a thousand invaluable insights in just a few well-chosen, masterfully arranged, words. I first came across his analyses in last year’s BC package and found them to be richly informative and pleasing to read. His analyses hit all the thorniest FTNA starter questions: where the horse likely fits in the U.S. pattern (class), probable distance and going preferences, and even running style and stride analysis where notable. This stuff is Absolute Antimatter! Please keep it coming, and Thanks.—KM

Further reading