Horses To Follow » Vocalised


Vocalised put in a really professional performance for one so inexperienced to land the Loughbrown Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday. The plan was apparently to take a lead and sit in behind, but there was no pace on early, so Kevin Manning was happy to allow the son of Vindication stride on. He didn’t set too fast a pace through the first couple of furlongs, and a couple of those in behind, most notably Douze Points and Liebermann (who was in a lather of sweat in his first-time blinkers), pulled quite hard. By contrast, Vocalised settled nicely in front, ears pricked, picked up the pace at the three furlong pole, then took two lengths out of his field when Manning asked him to quicken, and it never looked like he would be caught. He stretched clear well, and there was a lot to like about the willing attitude that he displayed.

The substance of this performance may be lacking a little. Vocalised’s main market rival, the Ballydoyle horse Gluteus Maximus, who finished third in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at the end of last season, could never really get competitive on his seasonal debut, and the time of the race wasn’t impressive – it was more than three seconds slower than Mad About You’s time in the Gladness Stakes an hour later. Also, there was a sense that Manning had ridden the perfect race from the front, stacking them up in the early stages before kicking for home, a sense that was given further credence by the slow time.

That said, this was visually a really impressive performance, and the fact that the normally reticent Jim Bolger was deliberating over which Guineas he would contest afterwards, rather than whether or not he was up to Classic standard, speaks volumes. Vocalised ran just twice last season, finishing fourth to subsequent Beresford Stakes winner Sea The Stars (who had had the benefit of a run) on his racecourse debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in August before running out a nice winner of a maiden over the same course and distance three weeks later, when he was able to sit in behind in the early stages. He is American-bred, by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Vindication out of the Mr Prospector mare Serena’s Tune, a daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Serena’s Song and a half-sister of Coronation Stakes winner Sophisticat, who won over five and six furlongs in the States.

Furthermore, Vocalised’s birth date is May 30th, so there is every chance that he will progress markedly as he moves through the season. He looks uncomplicated, he proved on Sunday that he can be ridden from the front, and he may be even better when he can be covered up. He obviously handles ground with a cut in it, but he is bred to be better on fast ground. He is an exciting individual and he should be followed wherever he goes next, even if his next run is in a Classic.

© The Irish Field, 11th April 2009