Horses To Follow » Hatton Flight

Hatton Flight

There was a lot to like about Hatton Flight’s performance in landing the 12-furlong heritage handicap at Newmarket on Sunday. Settled nicely in third place by William Buick in the early stages, the five-year-old always travelled well through the race. One of the last horses to come off the bridle, he picked up nicely when Buick asked him. At the furlong pole, it looked like he had a battle on his hands as Boz appeared to be going forward at a similar rate, but Hatton Flight has a really likeable willing attitude, and he galloped on resolutely up the hill to pull away and win by a length.

Andrew Balding’s gelding has now won his first three starts this season, and it looks like there is even more in him. William Buick said afterwards that he came out of Epsom very well, and that he was pleased the way he galloped to the line on Sunday. He is a horse who appears to only just do enough, which is exactly what you look for in a progressive handicapper. They didn’t go a great gallop here, which wouldn’t have suited Hatton Flight, with the result that his rider had him closer to the pace than he would ideally have liked and that he got to the front sooner than ideal, so it was a fine performance to keep on as well as he did. His best form is on fast ground, but he does go on easier ground as well. He has now won seven of his last 10 races, which is quite a remarkable feat for a handicapper, yet he hasn’t been raised more than 7lb for any of those wins, which is understandable given the manner of his victories. The handicapper can’t give him too much for this either, he is still progressive, and he could be one for the Class 2 Northern Dancer Handicap at Epsom on Derby day, as long as the handicapper doesn’t raise him by more than 6lb and put him over the 100-rating threshold for that contest.

3rd May 2009