Horses To Follow » Lightning Spear
Lightning Spear ran a big race to finish third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, but he probably ran even better than the bare form of the race suggests, given that he probably raced against a pace bias and a track-position bias.
Slowly away from stall seven, he moved towards the stands side after a furlong, which was probably onto the worst of the ground. There appeared to be a significant advantage to be gleaned from racing towards the far side all day on the straight track at Ascot, with low-numbered stalls favoured.
The field in the QE2 split into two groups, with Lightning Spear settled at the back of the group that raced along the stands rail, in the worst position on the worst of the ground. He was still travelling well at the three-furlong pole, however, he was the only horse who was still on the bridle on the run to the two-furlong pole, and he picked up nicely when Oisin Murphy asked him to. Moved towards the centre of the course, he had fully three lengths to find with Minding on the run to the furlong pole, and it was never likely that he was going to make up that type of ground. Minding is a top class filly, and she had raced in the box seat, in the far side group and just behind the pace-setter Barchan. He and runner-up Ribchester closed on the fill all the way to the line, and the front three were nicely clear of their field, with Lightning Spear going down by a total of a length and a half to Minding in the end.
It was a fine effort from David Simcock’s horse. It was probably a career-best effort, and it is an effort that can be marked up a fair bit. The son of Pivotal has always been held in the highest regard by his connections, and he is now growing into that potential. He is a Group 2 winner, he won the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on his previous run, but this was a step forward from that, he was the only older horse who got in among the top six in a race and in a division that was and has been dominated by three-year-olds this season.
He is five, but he is lightly-raced for his age, and he can continue to progress. He shapes as if there is a Group 1 prize in him, and it would not be surprising if he was kept in training next year in order to try to win that Group 1 race. The Lockinge Stakes would be the obvious early-season target for him next year.
15th October 2016