Rhys Williams struck with his only bet yesterday and has two selections in the juvenile hurdle at Wetherby...
"I think he achieved as much that day as New Reality achieved at Perth."
Showed ability in France
New Reality is the odds on favourite for the opening juvenile hurdle at Wetherby following a slightly fortunate victory on hurdling debut at Perth. That form is of a decent but not insurmountable standard and I think there are two horses in this race whose chance of exceeding that level has been underestimated by the market.
Royal Regard made his debut on the flat at Deauville in December last year. Officially he was trained and owned by Fabrice Chappet for that race but records and an interview with Tom George suggests that the horse was in his care prior to that so the horse running in Chappet's name is likely to have only been a very temporary matter, perhaps for administration reasons. He ran well that day to finish sixth in what turned out to be a very strong newcomers race with two of those finishing ahead of him having won Listed races since and another pair having been placed at Listed and Group level since.
He was in George's name when making his hurdling debut at Compiegne in late April and cheekpieces were applied. He raced handily in the chasing group behind Surprising and generally jumped well. He was in second turning into the home straight but couldn't match the pace of the eventual winner as that rival quickened away. He was still in contention for a place at the last before fading on the run in to finish eighth.
As with plenty of 3yo hurdles in the Spring, the subsequent performances of his rivals are of a mixed standard but he was against two previous winners that day and the fourth and sixth have won conditions chases since and I think he achieved as much that day as New Reality achieved at Perth.
Royal Regard ran badly when pulled up over the same C&D under three weeks later and has been off the track since so he may have had an issue or that race came too quickly and he needed time to mature. He's also been gelded since then so they may have felt that still being a colt was part of the reason for that performance.
He does have to bounce back and show that he can finish a race off strongly as he was quite weak at the finish on both completed starts on the flat and over hurdles but the potential he showed on his first two starts suggests that he can be competitive in a race of this quality and any 11/2 or bigger appeals.
Potential improver on switch to hurdling
The other horse of interest at a bigger price is Turaco who makes his hurdling debut having had two starts on the flat last season when trained by Harry Dunlop.
He made his debut over a mile at Salisbury and ran well to finish fourth despite being green in the closing stages. He was well away from the stalls and soon in a prominent position. He was in a share of the lead two furlongs out but wandered around and initially looked clueless when asked for his effort, being left behind before running on again late when realising what was required of him.
He made his second start a couple of weeks later over the same trip at Lingfield. He was pushed along to race prominently and went to the front after two furlongs. Shaken along on the final bend, he was still in front turning into the home straight but again looked quite green under pressure and quickly dropped away late on to finish sixth.
Turaco has been off the track since, which is a bit concerning, and now makes his first start for Gary Brown. When racing at two he looked the type for long distances handicaps on the flat as a three-year-old so I'm hopeful of him being able to stay well enough for hurdling and there could be some improvement in him given the greenness he showed on both starts at two.
How he will take to hurdling is an unknown but in a race with little depth I think his chance is being overlooked by the market and any 12/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
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