Horses To Follow » *Atletico

Atletico

Atletico did well to finish third in the six-furlong handicap at Ripon on Wednesday.

Slowly away on this, his first run in 676 days, Roger Varian’s horse travelled nicely for Andrea Atzeni through the early stages of the race. He had a nice draw in stall 14, next to the stands rail but, because he missed the break, there was always a chance that he would struggle for racing room, as all but one of the 11 runners concertinaed up against the near side. Still on the bridle but with a wall of horses in front of him a furlong and a half out, it wasn’t until after they had left the furlong pole behind them that he got rolling, and that was just too late. He finished well under just a hands and heels ride to take this place, three lengths behind Piper’s Note and Snap Shots, who had disputed the lead from early.

It was still a highly encouraging run from Alan Spence’s horse. Second on both his runs as a two-year-old in 2015, he won just one of his three races as a three-year-old, a six-furlong maiden at Wolverhampton for which he was sent off at 8/11. But he won that maiden nicely, and he stepped forward from that on his next run, when he finished second in a Class 3 handicap at Newmarket off a mark of 88. That was the last time we saw him until Wednesday, almost two years later when, racing off the same mark, he performed with sufficient encouragement to suggest that he is well up to this mark off 88. The race is working out well too, with winner Piper’s Note winning again at Doncaster on Sunday, away from his beloved Ripon, off a 3lb higher mark, and runner-up Snap Shots running a big race to finish a close-up third in a good handicap at Haydock.

Atletico was strong in the market, so he was probably impressing at home.

He has only raced six times in his life now, each time over six furlongs, and Wednesday’s run was his first run since being gelded, so there could be plenty more to come. Six furlongs is probably his trip, but he would also be worth a try over seven – his dam is a half-sister to Dream Ahead, who won the July Cup and the Sprint Cup over six furlongs, but who also won the Prix de la Foret over seven, when he beat Goldikova. He does handle this easy ground, but he goes well on good ground too, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

7th June 2017