Horses To Follow » Highland Glen

Highland Glen

The other horse to take out of the King George V Handicap, as well as the Aga Khan’s colt Zarinski, was The Queen’s horse Highland Glen. Like Zarinski, he was well back in the field early on and had to be taken off heels in behind horses as they raced into Swinley Bottom. At that point, he was fourth last of a field of 19, which really wasn’t where you wanted to be given how the race was being run, how the pace steadied through the middle section of the race (the first three home all travelled through the race in the first six). From there, Highland Glen made some ground on the outside, but was still fourth last, although travelling well, as they started the turn for home. He really had no chance from there, not into a pace that was certain to quicken given the slow middle fractions. He still had about 10 lengths to make up on the leaders as they passed the two-furlong pole, and he did make inroads when Ryan Moore pulled him wide and asked him to go forward, but it was all too late (he was still 14th passing the furlong pole), and he finished best of all on the wide outside to finish sixth.

This was just the third time that Highland Glen raced. After winning his maiden impressively at Lingfield over 10 furlongs in early May, he disappointed in a handicap off a mark of 89 over a mile and a half at Haydock later that month, but that lapse could easily have been put down to the heavy ground. Michael Stoute had won three of the previous eight runnings of the King George V, and Highland Glen was well supported to make it five, so he was obviously impressing at home, and quite probably laid out for this. He is rated just 87 now, and that mark almost certainly under-estimates his ability. He can at least win a big 10 or 12-furlong handicap on good or fast ground next time, and he should prove to be even better than a handicapper.

18th June 2009