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Acomb Stakes preview

The Group 3 juvenile race mightn't be a big field but it's very competitive.. plus one horse running for £1,480 prizemoney for fifth. TheYoungRacegoer, Calum Madell (@calummadell), returns to the blog with his detailed analysis of this contest.

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Acomb Stakes

Afonso De Sousa
Contested two decent maidens, including when fourth in the same maiden Dundonnell was third in at Newmarket. Did have two attempts at breaking his duck but clearly improved for better ground when a comfortable winner when last seen, beating a 78 rated rival (beaten since) by 9 lengths. Clearly a decent prospect for a good yard and has to be respected.

American Impact
Well beaten third in a Yarmouth 6f maiden on debut and did show good speed latest when just getting home dropped to 5f at Musselburgh. Beat a 70 rated rival by a short head that day and the fact he went off evens shows it was a pretty below par maiden. Officially rated 72 and has to improve by far the most of these to take a hand even though 7f should be okay for him.

Dundonnell
Made good ground when third behind Ghurair in a soft ground Newmarket maiden but it was tough to make up ground and it helped to also be on the stands side. However made no mistake at the second attempt when a 1/4 favourite, beating a newcomer and an okay enough yardstick in third (not disgraced in good company before that) and breaking a course record that has stood since 1978. Clearly a colt of significant potential and interestingly the only progeny of First Defence to be running at the moment in the UK. Step back down to 7f not particularly a positive but he could be absolutely anything and he warrants considerable respect.

Ebn Arab
Very smart winner of a C&D maiden on debut, beating a subsequent winner into 2nd. Showed good attitude and looks straight forward while the fact he went off favourite showed he had been showing something at home and it was expected Nothing else in particular was behind but it was still a pretty smart performance. More probably needed now into a race like this but it's hard to know how good he is and he also cannot be ignored.

Steeler
Runner-up to a well thought of Tom Dascombe colt and although slightly flattered by the margin (winner eased down) he came on notably for it when finishing late to get up in what looked a well above average Goodwood maiden, running on really well to get on top near the line. The third had beforehand finished ahead of both Dundonnell and Afonso De Sousa on soft at Newmarket and although that form can't be taken literally, it shows that he shouldn't be dismissed. Interestingly is virtually the only horse from the Johnston stable to hold big entries and he is nicely placed to run a big race even taking into account Johnston's record at York.

Verdict
A fascinating renewal which makes up in potential what it lacks for numbers. American Impact looks likely to struggle but all four other competitors cannot be discounted at all. Ebn Arab is already a C&D winner and has had his form boosted with the runner-up of his maiden going in subsequently. Afonso De Sousa improved rapidly for fast ground when a 9 length winner at the Curragh though DUNDONNELL got the better of him when they both met at Newmarket and although that was on soft ground, he has since hacked up at Lingfield in course record time. He could be extremely smart and he's the one to beat. I couldn't have too much confidence in backing him as a single though because I'm `lso finding it hard to oppose STEELER. I really liked his performance at Goodwood in what was an above average maiden and in a form line with Improvisation he must come right into the reckoning. Both selections are going to get further in time but have the best futures of the lot for me and a forecast is advised.

Advice - Dundonnell/Steeler 1pt reverse forecast (quinella)

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