Horses To Follow » Enderby Spirit

Enderby Spirit

Enderby Spirit ran a race that was full of merit to finish third in the six-furlong heritage handicap for three-year-olds at Newmarket on Wednesday. Well away from stall 14, he was restrained early by Gary Bartley to just behind the front rank. Just a little tapped for tactical speed and for racing room as the pace increased outside the two-furlong pole, the Invincible Spirit colt picked up again as they met the rising ground. He had to be checked again a half a furlong out, but he finished better than anything else once switched to snatch third place, just a length behind the winner Total Gallery.

Bryan Smart’s colt was up against it in this race under top weight of 9st 8lb given that none of the last five winners of the race carried more than 8st 7lb. He was also up agaisnt it trying to give 1lb (not including the jockey’s claim) to the winner, as he had been beaten a neck by that rival at Ascot in April getting weight. Nevertheless, he came into the race in good form, having battled on well to land a similar contest at Haydock four days previously. He had earned a 6lb penalty for that. The argument that that penalty was offset by using a 5lb claimer holds no weight. Claimers are claimers because they are inexperienced. Sometimes you get a claimer who is value for his claim, and Gary Bartley isn’t a bad rider at all, but if the only difference between an apprentice rider and a fully-fledged professional was the rider’s claim, then Ryan Moore and Johnny Murtagh would be out of a job. Enderby Spirit was effectively competing here off a mark of 104, so his effort was hugely commendable. He is nicely progressive now, and this run suggested that he will be better suited by a step up in trip, a notion that is backed up by his pedigree. He is in the Stewards’ Cup, but that is a bad race for three-year-olds and he may get run off his feet in that fast six furlongs anyway. Stepped up to seven furlongs, he would be of interest next time in a handicap or even in a listed race.

8th July 2009