Horses To Follow » Dancourt


There was a little bit of a question mark over Dancourt going into the one-mile handicap at Newmarket on Thursday. He had run five times without winning, he had been second on both his previous starts, a drifter in the market on both occasions, and he had looked a little unwilling after hitting the front on his previous start. However, he always shaped like a horse with ability, and in fairness, on his previous start he had hit the front fully two furlongs from home, so it was forgiveable that he would wander up the Sandown hill, and his high head carriage could have been put down to the fast ground on the day. Many obviously retained faith, and the Michael Stoute horse was backed down to 3/1 joint favourite from morning prices of 11/2.

I expected Ryan Moore to ride the son of Cadeaux Genereux patiently, ride him out the back and hit the front as late as possible, given how he didn’t appear to like being in front at Sandown on his previous run. However, you didn’t want to be too far back at Newmarket all week, and Moore rode him close to the pace, just behind the two leaders. Ridden to take it up a furlong and a half out, he had every chance to chuck it if he had wanted to, up the final climb, but he stuck at it well as Dingaan challenged him, and he galloped on well all the way to the line to win by over a length. Maybe it was the stronger handling that he got from Moore than got him home, or maybe it was the slightly easier ground that they had at Newmarket that helped him. He is a brother to Stage Gift, and that Stoute/Ballymacoll horse was at his best when he could get his toe in. There is also the possibility that he is just learning and improving with racing. Certainly, he seemed to be a lot more willing to go forward on Thursday than he had been at Sandown.

There is no telling by how much this fellow could improve. His brother was a Group 2 winner, and Dancourt should prove to be better than a handicapper now. He should improve when he steps up to 10 furlongs also. That was Stage Gift’s optimum distance and Dancourt races like he will get further, especially if he can be ridden with even more restraint. He is certain to receive a fair hike for this from his mark of 77 for Thursday;s performance, but he is progressive enough to take a fair hike in his stride. He is in a handicap at Newmarket on Friday evening, and he should be worth noting in that if he takes his chance. Looking further ahead, they were talking about the Cambridgeshire as a possibility after Thursday, and that makes a lot of sense. A strongly-run nine furlongs on soft ground (as it usually is for the Cambridgeshire) at Newmarket should suit him ideally, and it might be worth keeping him in mind for that.

8th July 2009