Horses To Follow » Clayton


Clayton was just too free early on through the Class 2 one-and-a-quarter-mile handicap at Newmarket on Saturday on his first start for four months. He broke well and just wanted to get on with the job down the centre of the track, probably because of over-exuberance more than anything after his time off the track. Paul Hanagan took him away from his rivals a little after two furlongs to try to settle him, but the others followed him across and it took him nearly half a mile to fully settle into his racing rhythm. Soon after he had though, Tiger’s Tale injected some pace into the race and Clayton got outpaced with over a half a mile to run. It looked as though he might drop right out, but he dug in, seemed to get his second wind going down into the Dip and stayed on well before his early exertions and lack of fitness just told through the last 100 yards, and he relinquished a couple of places to finish fifth.

This was quite a good handicap, the winner, Blazing Speed, is completely unexposed and the second, Prussian, sets a high benchmark. Clayton himself had run a cracker on his previous run to go down by just a neck to Scatter Dice in a Musselburgh handicap, with the pair of them clear, and Scatter Dice had proven the merit of that form by going and winning a good handicap at Ascot on her next run off an 8lb higher mark.

Clayton only made his debut in March, he was having just his fifth run on Saturday, and he should improve again for it. With the freshness now knocked out of him, he should settle better next time, and that should result in a much-improved performance. It is surprising that the handicapper has dropped him 1lb for this run, but that is a nice bonus. He stays a mile and a half and he handles easy ground, so there are plenty of options for him. He is interesting for the remainder of the season now.

6th October 2012