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Two-year-olds made easy by statistics and insight; Betting On Two-Year-Olds - The Inside Track.

Byline: Nick Attenborough

NICK ATTENBOROUGH has been an owner for 25 years, enjoying particular success with a number of good juveniles: Weatherbys Super Sprint winner Siena Gold, Listed winner Amaretto Bay and last year's unlucky Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy third Wave Aside to name but three.

Through his close association with the likes of Brian Meehan, David Elsworth, Mick Channon and Peter Cundell, Attenborough has accumulated a wealth of knowledge about what makes a smart two-year-old and how they should be placed to best effect. In 190 pages here, he attempts to condense those lessons for the benefit of punters who tend to steer clear of such contests.

Numerous variables that affect two-year-old performances are given their own chapter: breeding, training, courses, jockeyship and weight. There is also a chapter on betting, an assessment of race types and an especially helpful section that analyses the top 37 races for juveniles in the British calendar and profiles the type of horses that win them, listing positive and negative indicators.

Given his history of success as an owner in sales races, his thoughts on these events are especially interesting - he reasons that the inexperienced Wave Aside did well to go so close at Redcar, as the typical winner had at least five previous outings.

Most of Attenborough's findings are based on statistics. There are tables illustrating trainers to follow with their juveniles month by month, and some illuminating pointers regarding top trainers and their choice of venue for their two-year-olds' first and second outings. Sires' influence and foaling dates are dealt with in the breeding section, while a number of leading jockeys and retired legends are canvassed for their views on the best two-year-olds they ever rode - Lester Piggott plumps for J O Tobin.

Some of the advice and pointers can be applied to all Flat racing rather than just two-year-old action - effects of the draw and topography of racecourses, for example - but much of it comes over as solid rather than revelatory advice for the experienced bettor. Still, there are enough nuggets to keep followers of all levels engaged, such as "early in the season stick to two-year-olds who are actually two" and "get to know which tracks are tricky for newcomers".

And there are some unique insights from an owner's perspective. When Siena Gold won the Super Sprint, she had to overcome an aversion to the stalls to do so. "Frankie McDonald told me that he had practically made love to her in the gate to keep her calm and relaxed," writes Attenborough. That's one mating you won't find in Bloodstock World.

Mark Blackman
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 10, 2009
Words:433
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