Horses To Follow » Spacious


Spacious set about fulfilling some of the potential that she showed last year as an ultimately largely disappointing three-year-old when she won the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes at Ascot on Wednesday. She made all, and that may be the key to her. She has a raking stride that covers a lot of ground, and Johnny Murtagh apparently suggested after he rode her for the first time on her previous start at Epsom, that they should go out and make the running on her here. She didn’t handle Epsom too well in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, she never really seemed to be able to get balanced on the cambers, and she ended up finishing third behind Eva’s Request (with whom she reversed form quite comprehensively on Wednesday) and Alnadana.

It was a different story on Wednesday, she seemed to really appreciate the long straight mile at Ascot and the stiff finish without the camber. It suited, because there was no obvious front-runner in the race. Murtagh bounced her out of the gate and moved over immediately to bag the stands rail. That was the place to be all week at Ascot. Murtagh was able to dictate, and he was allowed a fairly easy time of it up front. He dictated a steady enough gallop, which didn’t really suit the free-running Lush Lashes, who is effective over 10 furlongs, but it shouldn’t have hindered the other Cheveley Park filly, the well-fancied Heaven Sent, who looked a real danger when she arrived there on the outside of Spacious at the two-furlong pole, but Spacious put her head down and battled on tenaciously to win well, going away again at the end.

Now that they have found the key to her, there is every chance that the daughter of Nayef can go on and prove to be one of the top older fillies of the season. After an unlucky second in last year’s Guineas, she actually started favourite to win the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, but again had a rough passage through the race and ended up in fourth place. She was held up in the Sun Chariot and again in a listed race at Newmarket at the end of October. She got well beaten on both occasions, and was in danger of being labelled an under-achiever, but this performance sees her right back on track.

The Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting is the obvious next port of call for her. That is a Group 1 race, again restricted to fillies, run over a straight mile, and she could bid to make all in that as well. I remember Johnny Murtagh executing similar tactics in that race on Simply Perfect two years ago, and a repeat performance could be on the cards on Spacious. She is by Nayef out of a half-sister to Ice Palace, a 10-furlong performer, so there is every chance that she could get 10 furlongs later in the season. She certainly raced here as if she should have no problem stepping up in distance. If that is the case, the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood could be on her radar, followed by the Matron Stakes back over a mile at Leopardstown in early September, a race that Cheveley Park won with Echelon in 2007 and that James Fanshawe won with Soviet Song in 2004. After that, it should be on to the Sun Chariot again. She could be worth supporting in all those races.

17th June 2009