Horses To Follow » King Ledley

King Ledley

King Ledley ran a fine race to go down by just a neck to the really useful-looking Love Lockdown in the Listed Rochestown Stakes at Cork on Sunday. Drawn in stall four, Declan McDonogh settled the American-bred colt last of the six runners in the early stages. He travelled really well through the race – he and the winner were the only ones still on the bridle at the two-furlong pole – and improved nicely when McDonogh asked him to. It wasn’t ideal that he had to move four horse-widths wide to deliver his challenge, but he kept going forward, and it looked for a couple of strides as if he might get to Love Lockdown, but Ger Lyons’s gelding just seemed to be always holding him inside the final 25 yards.

There is no disgrace in that, however. This looked like a really hot listed race, and the winner could be very good. On top of that, there appeared to be a real advantage to be gained from racing close to the stands rail over six furlongs at Cork on Sunday, and the anecdotal visual evidence was born out by the stats. There were four races run over six furlongs on the day, and the four winners, in fields of 16, six, 15 and five, were drawn in stalls three, two, three and two respectively. Furthermore, five of the eight top four places in the two big-field races were filled by horses drawn no higher than four. This all makes King Ledley’s effort all the more meritorious.

Kevin Prendergast’s colt looked really good in winning the first juvenile maiden of the season over five furlongs on soft ground at The Curragh back in March, and you can forget his only subsequent run before Sunday behind Steinbeck at Naas on soft ground when he was badly hampered just outside the furlong pole. Although he has won on soft ground, better ground probably suits him better. He should be well up to winning at listed or Group 3 level, and he will be interesting if he takes up his entry in the Group 2 Railway Stakes at The Curragh on Derby weekend, when Steinbeck’s presence should mean that he will be available to back at a decent price.

14th June 2009