Horses To Follow » Silver Games

Silver Games

Silver Games ran a big race to finish fourth from 3lb out of the handicap and from stall 19 in the Sandringham Handicap at Ascot on Wednesday. She missed the kick quite badly and had to be ridden a little just to get back in among the main group. She made nice ground on the far side, travelled well behind horses to the three furlong pole, and had to be switched out to the centre of the track in order to get a run at the two furlong pole. From there, Tony Culhane went from riding fairly vigorously to just punching along, obviously mindful of the fact that he didn’t want to go for home too early. Silver Games had already done a lot of running just to get there, and she probably just about hit the front on the far side, and looked like she would be involved in the finish. However, when Culhane went for her again, she just couldn’t quicken again out in the centre, and the fillies who finished on the near side, Moneycantbuymelove and Golden Stream, proved much the stronger through the final 200 yards.

This was still a huge effort from Mick Channon’s filly. She was apparently the second string for the yard, after Please Sing, who actually finished one place ahead of her, and she was drawn desperately in stall 19 of 21. Unlike Photographic’s jockey in the same race, Michael Hills, who was drawn 15, Culhane didn’t do anything to try to counteract the disadvantage imposed on his filly by the draw. There is no right answer to the conundrum, Photographic ended up fading out of it quite badly after her jockey had taken her across the track in behind runners in the early stages, so it is difficult to know what the correct course of action is.

Back to Silver Games. This was the 10th run of her life, but she is still progressive. Her previous run, when she just got the better of a useful Mark Johnston colt, Tarzan, in a handicap at Newcastle, with the pair of them pulling clear of their rivals, was the best performance of her career until Wednesday, and Wednesday’s run was another big step forward. (Tarzan was well beaten in a hot handicap at Epsom on Derby day, but that can easily be put down to a lack of stamina over a longer trip.) She is by Verglas out of an Indian Ridge mare, and she races like she just about gets a mile, but she shows so much pace that she might benefit from a step back down to seven furlongs. She will get a little jolt from the handicapper for this, but she should still have a couple of pounds in hand. She should be worthwhile following over a mile or seven furlongs on fast ground next time.

17th June 2009