Horses To Follow » Corsica


Corsica put up a big performance to win the Glasgow Stakes over a mile and three furlongs at Hamilton last Friday evening. Leading from flagfall, the son of Cape Cross set a fair pace, he was actually very free for Joe Fanning as they began to race around the loop, but time and again we see these Mark Johnston horses setting a good gallop and quickening from the front, finding more when it looks like they should be surrendering. That is what Corsica did here. He led them into the home straight, came away from the rail as Layali Al Andalus challenged on the near side, which allowed Admission get up on the far side, but he kept on galloping, repelling the Godolphin horse first and then running all the way to the line, showing admirable enthusiasm to repel the final thrust of Admission.

Johnston had won the previous three renewals of this contest, but he said afterwards that he was struggling for a horse for it this year, and he chose Corsica from just two entries. Corsica had 22lb to find with his ex-stable companion, the Godolphin horse Layali Al Andalus (who, in fairness, didn’t run his race at all), and he had 8lb to find with Admission, but he is a hugely progressive sort, and his handicap rating of 88 obviously under-estimated his ability considerably.

Raced exclusively over a mile last season as a juvenile, winning a Class 4 maiden at Ayr on his fourth and final attempt, he has shown improved form as a three-year-old stepped up to a mile and a half, winning all three of his starts this term, each one a step up in class from the previous one. The handicapper has taken exception to this performance, raising him 16lb to a mark of 104, which makes a tilt at the King Edward Handicap at Royal Ascot a lot less attractive than it might have been. However, he has every chance of staying two miles on this evidence, and he is the type of progressive 12-furlong horse who could go very well in the Group 3 Queen’s Vase. Johnston has won five of the last nine renewals of the Queen’s Vase, and he won it last year with a similar type in Holberg, who had never been beyond a mile and a half before and who finished third behind his stable companion Parthenon in the Glasgow Stakes on his last run before Ascot.

14th May 2010

© The Irish Field, 22nd May 2010