Horses To Follow » Friston Forest

Friston Forest

Game and gallant though old stick Caracciola was in making all to land the mile-and-six-furlong listed race at York on Saturday, it was the runner-up Friston Forest who was the one to take out of the race for me. Dale Gibson on Caracciola set a fairly sedate pace, one to suit himself in front and, in fairness, Ted Durcan on Friston Forest adopted the box seat in second place, just outside the leader. The up-in-grade Buddhist Monk mounted a challenge of sorts early in the home straight but, fully from three furlongs out it had developed into a match between the pair who had dominated from early. All the while it looked as if Friston Forest was going to get past Caracciola, but the Nicky Henderson horse continued to stick his 12-year-old neck out and find more. The Godolphin horse may have gone a head up about a furlong and a half out, but the old stager, with the rail to help him, battled back and surged ahead inside the final 50 yards to just get home, ears pricked.

The general feeling before the race was that Friston Forest would come on a little bit for the run. A decent middle distance horse for Andre Fabre in 2007, he contested stayers’ races last season, finishing third in a listed race at Maisons-Laffitte in June and rounding off the year by winning another listed race over two miles on soft ground at Chantilly in October. Transferred to Godolphin, he raced just once in the desert in the spring, when he put in a noteworthy performance, battling on really well to get the better of his better-fancied stable companion, Veracity, Dettori’s choice, in a mile-and-three-quarter handicap in February. His run at York on Saturday was his first run since and, if he comes on by as much as he should, based on pre-race paddock reports, he could make up into a really decent stayer this term. He is by Barathea, which wouldn’t immediately scream stamina, but his dam’s sire is Bustino, and she stayed a mile and a half well. Although he is entered in the Ascot Gold Cup, Veracity looks like the Godolphin number one for that race at present, and it is impossible to know how Friston Forest would fare over that extreme distance anyway. The Irish Field St Leger, over a mile and six, might be a more reasonable target at this stage.

30th May 2009