Horses To Follow » Set The Trend

Set The Trend

Desert Creek was all the rage for the Silver Bowl, the mile heritage handicap at Haydock last Saturday, a thrice-raced three-year-old from the Sir Michael Stoute yard racing off a mark of 87, as evidenced by the fact that he was backed down to 5/4 from morning prices of 9/4, and he duly obliged in impressive fashion. Stoute won this race with Home Affairs in 2005, and his Flawed Genius was unlucky not to win it last year, so it is obviously a race that he targets with his progressive-looking three-year-olds, and obviously Desert Creek is a really exciting prospect now. However, he may not have been as inconvenienced by the ground on Saturday as some of his rivals – he was already a winner on soft ground going into Saturday’s race – and he is certain to be popular wherever he goes next. He is a ready-made favourite for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot, which is apparently his next intended engagement. As a consequence, it might prove to be more lucrative to follow the runner-up Set The Trend, who lost nothing at all in defeat and was possibly more inconvenienced by the soft ground than the winner on the day.

Settled nearly last on the rail, Andrew Balding’s colt ran a little freely through the early stages off a sedate enough pace. He was in behind on the rail about sixth when the pace picked up two and a half furlongs out, and he got tapped for toe a little, but he picked up once he was switched outside the winner at the two furlong pole. He just couldn’t match the winner’s burst on the ground, and, in fairness to the winner, it never really looked like Set The Trend was going to get there, but he galloped on well all the way to the line. He would almost certainly have been better-suited by a stronger early pace, as he proved when he quickened nicely to land a handicap over a mile on the Polytrack at Kempton on his previous start, beating Antinori, who has since run twice, finishing third to the really smart Aqwaal at Sandown and then running out an impressive winner of a decent handicap at Sandown last Thursday. Set The Trend had to compete off a 7lb higher mark at Haydock on Saturday, but he is obviously still hugely competitive off this kind of mark, and hopefully the handicapper won’t be too harsh on him for this. He is progressive – that was just the fourth run of his life – he should be better off a fast pace, and he should be better on better ground, so there is every chance that even his new mark will underestimate him. He could re-oppose the favourite in the Britannia, where he should get better ground and a breakneck pace. He should be appreciably better off with Desert Creek at the weights, and he should be a much bigger price. Depending on how much bigger, he could represent a good betting opportunity.

23rd May 2009