Horses To Follow » Census


Only one of the previous nine renewals of the Geoffrey Freer was won by a three-year-old, and that was Kite Wood, who was sent off the 9/4 favourite for the St Leger, so the fact that Census and Brown Panther pulled clear of the highly talented Times Up in the Newbury race on Saturday suggests that they are both big St Leger players now. Census won the race, beating Brown Panther by a length and a quarter, and the way he stayed on all the way to the line, never looking like getting caught by the strong-staying runner up, marks him down as the one to take out of the race with Doncaster in mind.

Census missed the kick and Richard Hughes rushed him up along that rail, wanting to secure a prominent position, but he got checked by Claremont as that one took it up and drifted down towards the inside rail, which meant that Hughes had to check back a bit and had to race slightly further back than he would have liked. He travelled powerfully into the straight, three horses back against the rail, but Hughes switched him three wide early in the straight and he soon made apparently effortless progress to come and breeze into the lead just over three furlongs out. That was probably sooner than ideal but he picked up impressively from the front, kicking into a two-and-a-half-length lead. It never looked like Brown Panther would catch him, but Tom Dascombe’s horse pulled nicely clear of Times Up late on. Brown Panther is highly talented, a most impressive Royal Ascot winner, and the winning time here was very good indeed, by far the fastest comparative time of the day and the only one to dip below Racing Post par.

Census has a massive chance now in the St Leger, he has obviously progressed significantly since he looked green and slightly awkward running downhill in finishing second to Masked Marvel in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on his previous run. He is without doubt one of the most progressive horses in the St Leger. Also, stamina should not be an issue for him, his dam is a half-sister to Leadership who won the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano over a mile and a half, and Richard Hannon’s colt saw this one-mile-five-and-a-half-furlong trip out strongly. He heads to Doncaster as a leading player.

12th August 2011