Mark Johnston will look to win the traditional opening two-year-old race of the season for the third year in the row when Faifthful Promise lines up in Saturday night’s Brocklesby at Doncaster.
With the exception of last year’s hero The Last Lion the Brocklesby doesn’t tend to produce the exciting juvenile prospects of yesteryear. In fact back in the golden years of the race, much like the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, it was a common tactic among punters to back everything that ran in the race in future engagements. A tactic nowadays that would see your bank quickly emptied.
With virtually no form to go on, it can be a tricky task to pick the winner but it has been a race which has often fallen to trainers well known for producing leading early season types.
Mark Johnston won the last two year’s renewals and will rely on Acclamation filly Faithful Promise in the colours of Saeed Manana and with a large stable full of forward juveniles she would be expected to go well.
2016 winner The Last Lion went on to win a further three times in a 10-race career which included a Listed and Group 3 win before remarkably signing off with a shock win in the Group1 Middle Park at Newmarket. The son of Choisir was bred for speed and will be unraced at three having been sent to stud.
That was Mark Johnston’s second winner of the race, which considering his ability at training forward juveniles, is perhaps a surprise that it hasn’t been more. Ravenhoe won for the stable back in 2015 and is still racing at the age of four. Like The Last Lion he was bred for sprinting being by Bahamian Bounty and out of a Roman Ruler mare. He only developed into a low-level handicapper and really illustrated just how out of the ordinary his stablemate’s success was last year.
Other trainers to fare well in the Brocklesby include Richard Fahey (winners in 2007 and 2010) and he has entered Almane, Jasi and Requinto Dawn at the five-day-stage.
However king of the race is without a doubt Bill Turner with a remarkable six wins starting with Indian Spark in 1996. Mick’s Yer Man was the trainer’s latest winner in 2013 and he is set to be represented by Hellovaqueen who will almost certainly be prominent in the betting.