Horses To Follow » Green Beret

Green Beret

I am not a huge fan of following unlucky losers, and there were several of them in the five-furlong handicap won by Canadian Danehill that ended proceedings at Newmarket on Thursday, all caused directly or indirectly by the winner’s legitimate gradual drift towards the stands rail from the two-furlong pole. The main sufferer was Green Beret, and I’m prepared to mark him up a fair bit for this as a result.

Jimmy Fortune adopted a nice position through the early stages, towards the stands side of the group as the raced in arrowhead formation up the centre of the track, Canadian Danehill leading. John Gosden’s gelding was travelling at least as well as the winner at the two-furlong pole, about a length off him, with plenty of room between the leader and the near rail in which to deliver his challenge, but the leader’s drift caused the gap to close. Dettori on the winner did have his whip in his right hand, the correct hand, in an effort to correct the drift, and there is an argument that says that Green Beret simply wasn’t fast enough to go through the gap that was there, but I am more inclined to believe that Fortune hadn’t gone for his horse, he was biding his time, winding him up for a tilt at the leader up the final climb to the line, not wanted to get there too early, when the gap closed. Fortune stopped riding for more than 20 strides as first the gap closed and then Tabaret came up on his outside to exacerbate the situation. Indeed, he didn’t start riding again until about five strides before the line, when a half-hearted effort saw him just fail to get up for third place, a length and a half behind the winner.

Green Beret was probably the most progressive horse in the field going into this race. The only three-year-old in the line-up, he had run well to finish second to a decent front-running filly of David Barron’s, La Zamora, over this course and distance on his previous start off a mark of 92. He was 2lb higher here, and this represented another step up. He has still only raced eight times now, he is still progressive, and he is a fair bit better than he was able to show here. The handicapper shouldn’t really touch him for this, and he should be worth following. He might be worth trying again now over six furlongs.

9th July 2009